What We're Drinking Now: 2002 D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz
I first had the 2002 D'Arenberg 'Dead Arm' Shiraz when I was a bar manager at an upstart wine bar and bistro. At that time, the Dead Arm had been getting great buzz in the wine community and had won several awards, two of which you can see on the label above. Amongst the sea of Australian Shiraz we carried at the time, this one definitely stood out for its finesse and focus of flavors.
The wine is called 'Dead Arm' because of a disease that attacks half of the vine making one side hang down like a limp appendage. This causes all of the energy in the vine to be channeled towards the fruit on the healthy side, making for very flavorful, concentrated grapes. Thankfully, the concentration was not lost as I revisited this vintage yesterday..some eight years after my first sip.
The deep red of the juice had become brick around the edges and the supple tannins had softened nicely, but the unctuous body I remembered remained intact and held up to the richness of a leg of lamb. The dark berry fruit flavors had become more rustic with time, and paired perfectly with the herbs and anchovies seasoning the meat.
Relishing every sip, I squeezed the bottled dry until only a fine layer of sediment remained at the bottom of my glass. My advice is this: The 2002 is drinking beautifully right now, so get a bottle if you can find one, call me, and pop it open!