Wednesday, 12 March 2014

From the Tasting Room : d'Arenburg 'The Cadenzia' 2008

“(D’Arenberg) has kept its almost 100-year-old heritage while moving into the 21st century with flair and elan … The quality of the wines is unimpeachable.” - James Halliday Wine Companion 2013

If you're looking for a winery with heritage and history in Australia, this is one of the first places you turn to. Situated in McLaren Vale, the initial 25 hectare vineyard was purchased in 1912 by Joseph Osborn. By 1928 they had moved from growing and selling grapes to others by creating their own cellar for production. It wasn't until 1959 that the name we have come to know and love graced the labels when Francis Osborn decided to launch a new brand in honour of his mother, Francis Helena d'Arenburg. d'Arenburg wines have won multiple awards over the years and they are one of the most respected producers and families in Australian wine - which is no mean feat!

Our history with d'Arenburg goes back to John Avery's first visit to Australia in 1964 when he first met D'Arry and Chester. Back then the team were making very powerful red wines which were typical of Australia at the time. Later, as evidenced by the Cadenzia among others, their general style mellowed (while keeping some of the previously powerful wines too) and now make a very good range of wines with  eccentric names which reflect the nature of the family.

The inspiration for 'Cadenzia' comes from the music world when a soloist is so taken by the moment they play an impassioned, improvised, piece at the end of a performance. For d'Arenburg, the Cadenzia "is made in celebration of the winemakers’ opportunity to blend an exceptional McLaren Vale wine based on the Grenache variety." The blend in question here takes it's inspiration from the Rhône (known for GSM blends) with it's Grenache (24%), Shiraz (24%), Mourvèdre (24%) blend but also draws from Rioja's signature Tempranillo (23%) with a finishing dash of Cinsault (5%).

d'Arenburg 'The Cadenzia' 2008

Being a 2008 red we decided to try this out in two stages to see how the wine developed with decanting. Initially we tried the wine straight from the bottle (poured into glasses!) and also two hours later having had a chance to 'breathe'. 

Before decanting:
The initial impression was Australian - it instantly brought to mind a warm summer's day, a few mates and a good piece of steak on the barbie (or barbecue if you're in England). There was a rich jammyness there that hinted at a big, bruising McLaren Vale Shiraz while being tempered by the cherry, mild herby notes and violets that were also present. 

A full wine without being overly powerful that displayed wonderfully soft tannins and an acidity that was surprisingly fresh. Crunchy red fruits and violets persisted with a hint of the wine's age from the more savoury notes.

After decanting:
There was a definite change in the nose as the fruit had taken a back seat with much  more of the wine's age coming through in smokey herbs (oregano, thyme), leather and a sort of cherry-cough-sweets-type note in there too. 

The palate showed other nuances too with more of the cherry cough sweets alongside more of the mature notes: leather, tobacco and an unmistakable, if subtle, meaty character. The acidity remained in the wine while the tannins continued to be silky smooth. 

Overall a really classy style of wine that was well-balanced and defined by its character. McLaren Vale (and its neigbouring Barossa Valley) have well-deserved reputations for massive fruit-bombs of wines but this was a far-removed style. It was full and powerful while retaining a delicious delicacy.

Wine details:

d'Arenburg 'The Cadenzia' 2008
McLaren Vale, Australia
14.5% abv.

Next week we might go for some fizz seeing as it's been a while since the Louis Roederer in Week One. But who knows!

Alex, David and Luke
Averys Wine Bloggers

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