The history of this estate begins in 1912 when Joseph Osborn sold his prize winning stable of horses to purchase the d’Arenberg property in McLaren Vale, his son Frank left university to work on the land. The first vintage was released in 1913 with the grapes sold in bulk.
In the late 20’s Frank was encouraged to build a winery and start producing his own wines, finally releasing a dry red table wine and a port, both made for export.
In 1959 d’Arry Osborn launched his own label with the distinct red stripe that is still used to this day.
Chester Osborn, born in 1962, is the family member credited with really putting d’Arenberg on the map. His first vintage was in 1984 and since then the estate has gone from strength to strength. Now the wines from entry level to the self acclaimed Icons are well known and widely available.
My personal favourite is without question The Dead Arm which was introduced in 1993 and soon attained critical acclaim and is thought of as one of the best examples of McLaren Vale Shiraz. I have been lucky enough to drink most of the vintages, including one vertical tasting organised for friends and family.
The Story Behind The Name:
Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often affected vines are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an 'arm' of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.
Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of new and used French oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.
Upon release, ‘The Dead Arm’ Shiraz has a vivid, young, dense, purple-red colour. Very intense aromas with a complex combination of fragrant spices and violets, dark cherry, blackberry and blueberry, are made more complex with great liquorice, pepper and integrated svelte of boot-polish like characters. The taste is rich, gutsy and virile, with attacking spice, dark liquorice, cherry, blackberry, plum and dried black olive. The level of fruit weight masks the framework of oak tannins; however, the mineral fruit grittiness is balanced with a very long fruit-fragrant, persistent spice will yield a wine of great ageing power.
The current vintage on sale at most merchants is the 2017. We have some limited stocks of older wines which can be found here.
Source d’Arenberg Website.