Monday, May 10, 2010

d'Arenberg McLaren Vale, The Old Vine Shiraz, 1995

According to the label, this wine was produced from old vines, some of which were more than 125 years of age--stumpy, gnarled and shy bearing with "small bunches of highly colored and flavored grapes." The grapes are gently crushed and spend about two weeks in traditional "headed down" open fermenters before being pressed off the skins, by basket press, into American oak hogsheads and barriques.

At 15 years, this wine has thrown a thick crust that totally covers one side of the bottle but it's still a deep, dark ruby. It is still remarkably fruity with aromas and flavors of blackberries, black plums, currants, cassis and spice. This wine could not be mistaken for anything but an Aussie Shiraz, and it has the full, rich mid-palate feel of a McLaren Vale red. It's very ripe and all fruit, a plummy mouth full of concentrated juice. Incredibly youthful and vigorous, this wine could go on giving pleasure for at least another 5 to 10 years.

In recent vintages, I believe, the Old Vines Shiraz is now known as The Footbolt Shiraz, and it still sells for about $15.

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