d'Arenberg's Ric Anderson was in Manila and hosted a tasting of some of d'Arenberg's latest vintage as well as some back vintages of the Dead Arm and Ironstone Pressings GSM. The tasting and dinner was at Mi Piace at the Peninsula Hotel.
d'Arenberg The Money Spider Rousanne 2005 - Crisp, medium-bodied wine with a detectable fruity sweetness. Melon seems to be the dominant flavor. Doesn't have much of a nose while it finishes dry and a little abrupt. I'm not really a fan of white Rhone grapes but I thought this was pretty good.
d'Arenberg The Olive Grove Chardonnay 2005 - Only lightly oaked. Quite fruity. Soft. Fresh A short, watery finish. A simple, uncomplicated, light quaffer. Enjoyable enough.
d'Arenberg The Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2004 - Slightly minty nose. Berry fruit. Light-reminds me of Beaujolais.Starts soft but finishes with some acidic bite in the finish. Shows some Chinese preserved plum character. Strawberry as well. It somehow tastes older than it is. Much better than the first bottle of this I tried a few months back which I found thin, harsh, woody and acidic. I'll happily drink this.
d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2004 - Very dark. Oaky Coca-cola nose. Lots of fruit but not much else. A little spicy. A simple red quaffer with a long finish. Nothing offensive here. Good enough.
d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2004 - One of the better examples of the Cote-Rotie blend from Oz. Dark, Sweet nose. Fruity at first but generally a dryish wine. Quite tannic in the finish. Still youthful. Perhaps more complexity forthcoming with a bit more age. Very good.
d'Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings GSM 2003 - Very dark. Tannic. Concentrated fruit. Baking spices-cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves etc. Again, young and not quite developed yet. A little bit closed but showing good potential. Very good.
d'Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings GSM 2002 - Similar to the 03 but sweeter and richer. Clearly superior to the 03.
d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2004 - Mint. Very sweet palate but not cloying. Some balsamic notes. Not yet integrated. Needs a long time to come together but shows obvious class.
d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2002 - Oaky nose. Beautifully balanced. Has the acidity to make it easy to drink. Tobacco, coffee, chocolate. Tannic finish but lush mouthfeel. More showy than the 04 but again time should improve it further. Excellent.
I thought all the wines were quite good. I couldn't really fault any of them. They all have good fruit sweetness but none of them have the cloying, jammy, overripe, ultra-concentrated flavors found in some other Oz wines. These are very well balanced wines making them a pleasure to drink. I didn't find any of the wines spectacular or truly outstanding but the quality across the range tasted was consistently high.