2017 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm

Syrah - 750ML
Reg: $59.94
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TRR 95 DC 94 JS 94 VN 94 W&S 94 WA 92 WE 91 WS 91
TRR 95

The Real Review, February 2020

Deep, dense purple/red colour, with concentrated chocolate and plum aromas and flavours, a fair degree of oak but not overdone, and a trace of reduction on the early nose. Dense, powerful, concentrated but all things in...
DC 94

Decanter, October 2019

A very dry but mild growing season with many cool nights has produced a lifted Shiraz of good intensity and detail. Bright blackberry fruit is riven with red liquorice and fennel seed spice plus dried rose top notes...
JS 94

jamessuckling.com, May 2020

This is a very composed and nicely layered rendition of this top-end shiraz with aromas of cocoa, dark plums, blackberries, cinnamon, licorice and dark cherries. The palate has a very impressive build of ripe dark-fruit...
VN 94

Vinous, September 2022

Dark ruby. Black and blue fruits, candied licorice, pungent flowers and a hint of vanilla on the highly perfumed nose. Lush and broad on the palate, offering bitter cherry, cassis and blueberry flavors that turn spicier...
W&S 94

Wine & Spirits, February 2021

Only Chester Osborn would name his icon wine after a disease, in this case, eutypa dieback, caused by a wood fungus that eventually kills off a cane on an old vine, leaving a dead arm that needs to be cut away. His...
WA 92

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, May 2020

(92+ points) Locked up tight and ungiving on the nose, d'Arenberg's 2017 The Dead Arm Shiraz is nonetheless formidably dense and concentrated on the palate. Notes of charred wood join plums, raspberries and black olives...
WE 91

Wine Enthusiast, December 2020

The relatively cool hand of the 2017 vintage has added touches of freshness and elegance to many classically rich, powerful wines like this one. Postcard McLaren Vale notes of plums, blackberries, peppery, earthy spices...
WS 91

Wine Spectator, November 2020

Powerful, with concentrated juicy cherry, raspberry and wild strawberry flavors at the core amid tobacco notes and dusty tannins, plus a thread of crushed rock, fresh herb, and fresh, earthy loaminess. Plenty of harmony...


Color & Type Red
Varietal Syrah
Country Australia
Region South Australia
Sub-region McLaren Vale
Vintage 2017
Size 750ML
Percent alcohol 15%
Closure Screw Cap

One of the most significant wineries in McLaren Vale, d’Arenberg was established in 1912 when Joseph Osborn, a teetotaler and director of Thomas Hardy and Sons, sold his stable of prize winning horses to purchase the property that now houses the winery, cellar door, and d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant.

Chester Osborn, fourth generation family member and Chief Winemaker since 1984, has forged a reputation for producing strikingly individual wines and melding tradition and innovation. He has rejuvenated the 70 year old cellars and 19th Century vineyards and oversees all aspects of winemaking, viticulture and marketing.

Discovering new varieties suited to the diverse terroir of McLaren Vale has been an ongoing passion for Chester. Early in his tenure, he took leave from the winery and spent most of a year on a viticultural and oenological tour of France, Italy, Germany and Spain. He has since introduced many varieties to the region including Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Tempranillo and Souzao. d’Arenberg now makes wine from over 33 different varieties.

Minimal input viticulture is employed across d’Arenberg owned, leased and contracted vineyards to ensure grape quality and environmental responsibility. This includes minimal or no irrigation, no soil cultivation, minimal spraying and most importantly, no fertilization. This natural and environmentally friendly philosophy encourages strong root systems that penetrate multiple levels of soil which is reflected in lively tannin structures, soil characters and fine minerality.

d'Arenberg is the only winery in Australia to basket press white wines as well as reds, making for a labor intensive process, but the quality of the results makes this worthwhile. This pressing is controlled and extremely gentle. White wines are basket pressed before fermentation to ensure no color or tannins are extracted from the skins, and the reds are pressed afterwards. After pressing, barrel fermented components are aged on lees to slow aging and keep the wine fresh, while also reducing oak influence. There is no racking until the final blending, and the wines do not undertake fining or filtration prior to bottling.

For d’Arenberg’s Dead Arm Shiraz, small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five ton open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending and 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 and old American oak barrels to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.

The name Dead Arm pays a sort of tribute to a vine disease. Caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world, the result leaves one half of the vine, or an 'arm', reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.

Introducing the 2017 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm, a remarkable Syrah hailing from the prestigious McLaren Vale region in South Australia. With its deep, dense purple-red color and concentrated aromas, this wine immediately captivates the senses.

As you bring the glass to your nose, you are greeted with an array of enticing scents. Bright blackberry fruit takes center stage, complemented by notes of red liquorice and fennel seed spice. Delicate hints of dried rose add a touch of elegance to the bouquet. The cool nights and dry growing season have contributed to the wine's lifted intensity and detail.

Upon the first sip, the palate is enveloped by a symphony of flavors. Ripe dark plums, blackberries, and dark cherries dominate the forefront, accompanied by nuances of cocoa, cinnamon, and licorice. The layers of fruit and chocolate build impressively, creating a rich and expansive experience. The wine's structure and length are enhanced by plentiful but fine minerally tannins, providing a solid foundation for the wine to age gracefully.

Despite its 15.0% alcohol content, the 2017 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm wears its alcohol with finesse, showcasing the winemaker's expertise in achieving balance. This wine is a testament to the exceptional quality of McLaren Vale's old-vine shiraz parcels, many of which have experienced the eutypa dieback disease, giving rise to the wine's unique name.

Renowned wine critics have lavished praise upon this exceptional offering. Decanter awarded it an impressive 94 points, noting its highly promising potential. James Suckling also bestowed a 94-point score, describing it as composed, layered, and expansively smooth. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate recognized the wine's density and concentration, recommending decanting or further cellaring to fully appreciate its potential evolution. Vinous awarded it 94 points as well, praising its depth, energy, and long, chewy finish. Wine & Spirits commended its stately, plump nature, predicting its ability to age gracefully. Wine Enthusiast admired its distinct palate, while Wine Spectator praised its powerful flavors and harmonious finish. The Real Review granted it a remarkable 95 points, acknowledging its density, power, and overall harmony.

For those seeking an exceptional and age-worthy Australian Syrah, the 2017 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm is an absolute must-try. With its impressive accolades and undeniable quality, this wine is sure to captivate even the most discerning wine enthusiasts.