d´Arenberg, The Dead Arm, Shiraz, 2005, McLaren Vale, red-wine from Australia

6 points

“The Dead Arm” Shiraz is one flagship of Southern Australian winemaker d’Arenberg. Following the description of the vinery then “Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often vines affected are severely pruned or replanted. d’Arenberg believes that this is a natural part of vineyard life. One half, or arm of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side display amazing intensity”.

This Shiraz is a very intensive and voluminous wine, perfectly balanced between fruitiness and acidity. The fruits are typically as black and blue berries enriched with some rather oriental appearing notes as fig and cinnamon. At the back there are some herbal aromas as well as eucalyptus and rosemary. Considering that this wine matures for even 18 (!) months in French and American barrique I like it a lot that the wine has very reduced and modest tones of wood, which makes it different to many so called New World wines. Even it is really rich, the wine remains to be elegant and in certain regards pretty extravagant. Last but not least it has a great echo, which means a very long, burly finish.

I would recommend to let the wine breath some hours and not to drink it too warm keeping the amazing elegance. As always it is rather challenging to find the appropriate food together with a Shiraz as I would rather drink it by its own. Cheese should be fine, but even maybe certain stews, dishes with a lot of boiled vegetables, onions and even strong ingredient as olives could be an exciting counterpoint tastewise with this wine.


d´Arenberg is located in area called McLaren Vale, which is just some kilometers in the south of Adelaide. I don’t have an experience about Australian wines although you can find one other review about some great but different Shiraz from Australia at this blog (please see:https://avdwineandfood.net/2015/06/13/bin-no-0-bests-great-western-shiraz-1990/). D’Arenberg is not as famous and well know as for instance Penfolds grange. Due to the smart and very visible label it is pretty easy to remember. Interesting wise I haven’t found this wine in Europe too often but for instance in some restaurants in Canada.

In any case and as already said, I don’t know too much about the winemakers and would just copy knowledge from internet recourses writing about it. Therefore, please have a look at their webpage with a massive amount of interesting information: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

The vintage 2005 was a good one, this at least I can confirm based on my own experience since I also tried some others. The wine is very well now but I would say that you could keep it still for some more years. I read that “Mr. Parker” has given 95 (!) points for this Shiraz and vintage. Since I not giving too much about this awards, I simply like to confirm that this is a delicious, straight forward, high quality and rich Shiraz with its own, maybe Australian character.

I don’t know if you can buy this wine still at Nix Wie Wein, a small wine store at Kopenhagener Strasse in Berlin. As long Heide Pellmann, the former owner actually introduced this wine to me many years ago.