Red Diagonal Stripe
D'Arenberg is a prolific Australian winery that produces many different styles of wine, but they all seem to have that diagonal red stripe on the label and an "inside joke" of a name, often whimsical. We culled 8 of their mid-level wines for a tasting; by mid level I refer to price, which ranges from $Cdn 20-35 for this lot. The favourite wine was the one that got drained the fastest (always the best way to gauge the best wines of a tasting!) - the Bonsai Vine, GSM, 2001 is made from old vines that look like bonsai trees. It's showing it's bottle age with a bricky colour. Smooth, silky, vanillery, full bodied, it has lost a lot of it's fruit but has gained complexity. Wow wine. Would buy this again.
Next was the Galvo Garage, Cab S/ Merlot/Cab Franc/Petit Verdot, 2004. This is a tribute to the "garagiste" movement - new winemakers fermenting new style premium juice in their "garages", forging a name for themselves and then jacking up the price of the wine as it gets "wow" reviews in the press. This one doesn't quite make it...full bodied, tannic, dense fruit, the most complex in this flight but ends up being "just" good juice.
Next bottle to be drained was theTwentyeight Road, Mourvedre, 2004. Full bodied, this one leans towards the earthy, more vegetal side of the flavour spectrum. Good wine.
I thought the Laughing Magpie, Shiraz-Viognier, 2005 was just as good as the twentyeight road. I was surprised by it's dirtiness as I was expecting a perfume lift from the viognier - but it had a definite mushroomy-moss thing going on and was a little hot. Good wine also.
The Footbolt, Shiraz, 2001 is holding up well. This is better than I remember it from the last bottle I had. Medium-full bodied, smooth, peppery and bright with a little earthy undertone - this is not drinking like an 8 year old mid level shiraz. Good wine.
The D'Arrys Original, Shiraz/Grenache, 2005 is one of their workhorse wines. I would have put this one as #7 on the list, but the bottle did get finished #4, so it's a crowd pleaser. Generic, yes, but good.
The High Trellis, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 is young and bright with juicey blackberries and a dusty finish. Nothing special, but good nonetheless.
Bringing up the rear was the Custodian, Grenache, 2005. Light to medium bodied, flowery with violets and cherries. Not my cup of tea, this is "OK" wine.
So, we were impressed overall with the good quality of the wine across many blends/varietals and vintages. Lets start putting away some of their top labels (such as the "Dead Arm" or "Ironstone Pressings") for a future tasting...