2015 d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia (Elsewhere $64) SKU #1394161

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JH 96 RP 96 JS 94
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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

The name "Dead Arm" comes from the vine being affected by Eutypa. When this happens, one arm of the vine slowly dies and falls off, hence the name "Dead Arm." The one arm of the vine that remains produces fruit of greater concentration and intensity since all the vine's energy can be channeled into the single arm. It is uncommon to see wine made from these vines as many are torn out and replanted. This is a rare and supremely delicious take on Shiraz. (Stefanie Juelsgaard, K&L Australia Buyer) 93+ pts The Wine Front: "Talking of substantial, this 2015 version of The Dead Arm Shiraz certainly is that. It has the might, it has the power, it’s never had the pleasure of nuance but then the style and indeed target market isn’t going to miss it. This is a red wine of brute, brooding power. It’s a horse-hearted wine, blackberry and saltbush, clove and gunnmetal flavours coursing through its veins. It tastes sweet, stewed and exaggerated but it feels neat, balanced and intentional. The back half of the wine is all tight sheets of tannin, studded with saltbush and related iodine. Oak? Cedary, but sunk deep into the wine. It’s as hard a wine to fault as it is to love; it lacks charm but is both immaculate and concentrated." (CM, 06/2018)

Staff Reviews

  • Anthony Russo
    By: Anthony Russo
    K&L Staff Member
    This was my first time drinking the Australian icon and I instantly took to it. To me, its got the full body of a typical domestic red, but the terroir of Old World; you can really taste the hot, dry, climate these special grapes were raised in. The Syrah did no feel over-extracted or "gamey" at all.
  • Chris DePaoli
    By: Chris DePaoli
    K&L Staff Member
    D'Arenberg is an incredibly dependable producer and this years Dead Arm is another example of a good value wine in between price points. A touch lighter than in years past, the anise notes really came through along with the plum and blackberry standbys of the McLaren Vale region. This wine has a ton of time on its hands and will age really well if you have the patience. If not be sure to at least afford it some solid time in the decanter and to match it with an equally hearty meal.
  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    K&L Staff Member
    Well this was everything you'd expect and more from the venerated McLaren Vale house. Dense nose of ultra ripe black and boysenberry, dense cracked pepper, gravel - almost Bordeaux like in its mineral components, pungent violets and fresh herbs. The perfect balance of sweet to savory character. The power of the aromatics is match on the palate, but with plenty of structure to keep it from feeling baked or overly ripe. This is truly a world class wine masquerading as something we think we know.
  • Blake Conklin
    By: Blake Conklin
    K&L Staff Member
    Rich and packed with deep flavor, here's another shiraz that shows that Australia is in a league of their own with one of my favorite varietals ever, and the Dead Arm is, to sum up in one word, outstanding. Who knew that fungus infected vines can actually make a really heavy hitting badass wine. Big, meaty, filled with tannin, and definitely something worth sitting on for more than a couple years. I would actually love to see how the 2015 Dead Arm changes over time.
  • Neal Fischer
    By: Neal Fischer
    K&L Staff Member
    As intensely flavored as the name would suggest, Dead Arm gives off scents of deep and dark red fruits supported by soft, earthy spices such as cardamom, clove, and rich vanilla. The palate puts forth rich fruit flavors of blackberry, raspberry, pomegranate, and plum. There's great structure here that balances tight tannins and big acidity. The wine rewards a generous decanting before drinking, and this wine could easily cellar for a decade to develop further complexity and unwind the tannins a little.
  • Stefanie Juelsgaard
    By: Stefanie Juelsgaard
    K&L Staff Member
    Always one of our top-selling high-end Shiraz's, the 2015 'Dead Arm' from d'Arenberg delivers again in this structured, concentrated showing. Named after the Eutypa fungus that affects some vineyards, the 'Dead Arm' refers to one half of the vine that rots and falls off, while the fruit that lives on the remaining arm grows more concentrated and complex. That effect is very evident in this wine, as it showcases unbelievable power and structure. This is not one of the Shiraz fruit-bombs you may associate with Australia. The effect of the Eutypa is certainly on display in this bottling with intense fruit and powerful tannin structure dominating. McLaren Vale sits right on the ocean and is a slightly cooler site than Barossa, making it an ideal location for leaner, lower alcohol Shiraz. This wine is tread by foot, unfined and unfiltered, which adds to the breadth and strength. D'Arenberg is a highly sought after winery in Australia and after tasting this wine, it's not hard to see why.


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