An exploration of wine

268. d’Arenberg, Shiraz Viognier The Laughing Magpie McLaren Vale, 2003

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Book 2 Wine 268

€21.50; 14.5%

A pleasant drink but an advert for taking 0.5-1% off the ABV. Was browsing a wine shop in Kilkenny when I noticed a few d’Arenberg bottles, and decided to see if they had The Dead Arm Shiraz. They didn’t, but I came across this homage to Côte Rôtie, so I thought it worthwhile seeing what Chester Osbourne could do with Viognier in the blend! Deep ruby-garnet core with narrow ruby-purple rim. An intriguing, fairly intense nose of warm, sweet spice, toasty vanilla, blackcurrant and cranberry, with a touch of smoke. However, this is enveloped and slightly subdued by simple alcoholic ‘heat’ aromas. Some acidity (Viognier?) and a gentle tannic bite. Full-bodied, thick and fairly concentrated blackberry flavour, but again alcohol dominated. Nice at room temperature but the best way to make this drinkable was to chill it. In fact, this uncovered the only noticeable Viognier ‘trait’. A long time after swallowing there was a definite apricot note in the mouth. 14.5%

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