An exploration of wine

311. d’Arenberg, Shiraz The Dead Arm McLaren Vale, 2003

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Book 2 Wine 311

£26; 15%

Well, after the relative disappointment of the 2004, I had to crack its partner in crime, the 2003. MUCH more exciting! Much more savoury and less ‘overripe’ or jammy than the 2004. I thought it must be lower ABV because it was so much more balanced, and not alcohol-dominated… But in fact the 2003 was 15% – +0.5% ABV! Remarkable! Opaque, black-garnet core with a narrow, black cherry rim. Intriguing, slightly understated (though still pretty intense) nose combining dark, bramble fruit with caramelised ‘brown’ nuts (pecan and walnuts), spicy & slightly smoky oak notes. Sweet blackberry fruit initially on the palate, but tannins grip through to deliver a savoury (spicy, smoky char-grilled steak) palate, with good, black-pepper length at the finish. Will keep for a few years. Lovely. My faith is restored!

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