This wine, from a warm, Grenache friendly McLaren Vale vintage, has had some wonderfully hands-on treatment in the winery. The fruit is gently caressed by a gentle open roller crusher that allows plenty of whole berries to go through into what are big open fermenters. This is followed by foot treading and gentle pressing with some components sent into barrel where they are left on lees and other parts finished in tank. Finally, this sees no racking until final blending and there is no filtering or fining.
Wonderfully, this smells alive too – there is a distinctive, tilled earth note that you see in the d’Arenberg reds these days that is definitely not brett, yet seems to be a winery stamp. A winery terroir even. Here it is abundant, making what is already a slightly wild Grenachey sort of a wine into something more akin to an old school CdP – meaty and funky and even a little fetid. It tastes rich, sweet and concentrated too, all black and red fruit with no shortage of concentrated ripeness, again dragging a meaty and slightly bitter finish.
Admittedly this just a little divisive to be great, yet it feels living and breathing and real regardless.
Tasted: January 2014
Score: 17/20, 90/100
Would I buy it? I’d buy a glass.
Buy online: d’Arenberg website