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 in this full-bodied effort. With its current surly disposition, it appears to require decanting or several years' sleep in a cool cellar. Giving it air helped bring out purple raspberries and softened the considerable tannins, so I'm optimistic about its future evolution.
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 on the finish, where the tannins firm up. Drink now through 2030.
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 and a little well-placed oak lead the way. The distinction is in the palate, where muscular, highly textural, rustic tannins are balanced by bright, juicy fruit. Not for fans of cushy, soft-around-the-middle Shiraz, but tannin-craving red lovers will find much enjoyment.