Sunday, January 30, 2005

Winecology: D'arenberg "d'Arry's Original" - McLaren Vale, Australia - 2001

Australia's red stripe winery, D'arenberg, has an historic past and vast portfolio of high quality wines to match. Luckily for us consumers many of these quality wines are available at fantastic value prices. This particular wine is named in honor of its third-generation owner "Francis d'Arenberg Osborn, universally known as d'Arry," who built the winery's current reputation and identity. According to D'arenberg's web site, back in the 60's, 70's and 80's the wine was known as "d'Arry's Burgundy" because all "medium body red wines with soft finishes" were called Burgundies. I'm sure the folks up in the Cote d'Or loved that policy.

The 2001 d'Arry's Original is a big - 15% alcohol - blend of equal parts Shiraz and Grenache that are grown in adjacent vineyards. Colors were dark opaque garnet, nearly black, in the glass. Initially the wine gave off an alcoholic nose but this quickly blew off. It opened up and presented earth and black fruits. On the palette, it was full bodied and creamy in texture. Grenache-driven flavors of ripe strawberries and cola, with underlying black pepper were abundant. Some herbal notes and subtle vanilla added complexity. Zippiness and easy going tannins are present start to finish, tying things together nicely. A flavorful and well integrated wine that has significant aging potential.

Rating - 8.5/9.0 out of 10
Price - $15

Other value D'arenberg wines to check out are the Stump Jump (Rhone style red and white blends), Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc, Olive Grove Chardonnay, Dry Dam Reisling and the ultra-hot Footbolt Shiraz.