I really liked this when popped as showed pretty vanilla and dark red fruit that showed nice soft mouth costing quality a real pleasure plush quality. But despite being argon gassed in a few days became unusually oxidized, do best to drink up.
Wow, is this really 17 years old??! Pulls no punches and all the better for it. Still almost purple and a huge nose. Black pepper and cassis. Throwing lots of sediment but all primary flavours. This will remain at its peak for quite a while yet.
Tasting nice. Still relatively young although I'd say it'll peak in 3-7 years from now. Very tasty. Still some good dark fruit, but not the fruit bomb it was years ago. Much better complexity. Definitely let it air a bit before drinking (little pre-sips are certainly allowed).
From a bottle generously provided by J.P., this wine was tasted in double-blind fashion. It is very youthful in appearance, with an opaque ruby/red color. Dark bramble fruits, anise, vanilla, fig and chocolate adorn the nose and palate. The wine shows impressive acidity, especially for the appellation (and vintage). Full-bodied and with no evidence of alcoholic heat (14.5%), it wraps its flavors with medium-weight, fine-grained tannins. Solid in the middle and finishing long, this is nothing short of outstanding. Because of the wine's fresh acidity, I guessed it to be an Aussie Shiraz from McLaren Vale. While delicious now, there is no hurry to drink it, as it has the structure to last for another decade or more. Drink now-2024.
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(D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz (McLaren Vale)) A very dark hue when poured, and it seems to have plenty of youthful pigment too; it is well into the red-garnet part of the spectrum, and I immediately have more optimism for this wine than the disjointed 1997 which was in last year's tasting. The nose has a porty style, with dried blueberries and cranberries (strangely, on reviewing my note I see that this was exactly how I began with the 1997 last year). You can also sense the spirit here, but it seems powerful rather than awkward, and alongside it there are notes of mint, chocolate, vanilla and more. This impression continues on the palate, which has rich, dried red fruits, with all these other rich aromas. It has a creamy substance, backed up by plenty of ripe and soft tannins, and a little grip struggling to gain some attention at the very finish. It has piles more appeal than the 1997, and technically this is very good wine. But I find it very difficult to score, as over the years my palate has certainly moved away from favouring huge and saucy fruit bombs such as this. It remains painfully youthful, and I wonder if it wouldn't be a greater wine in another five or ten years time? I will score it with that in mind, rather than its rather tarty showing at present.
(D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz (McLaren Vale)) Very deep, dark and purple-black. This is the least expressive wine of this trio, being very closed at the moment. There are some hard fruit aromas on the nose, but little else apparent. The palate has superb structure, with strong tannins and fine acidity in balance. There's plenty of texture, with hard, youthful fruit which should go the distance. Although not showing its best tonight, this wine has promise. I suspect five to ten years in the cellar would do it justice.
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