Category Archives: Australia

d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2007, McLaren Vale

The Dead Arm.  Makes me think of the old west, of wild areas, outlaws, doing what they want with no regard for the law. Dust bowls and tumbleweeds. Abandoned ghost towns.



Couldn’t be further from the reality.  Here’s what the winery has to say: “Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often vines affected are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an ‘arm’ of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.”

Huh.  Not at all what we were expecting.


She said:   Lots of blackcurrant and cedar – and enough tannin to give it some backbone without making your mouth get all puckery.

He said: The wine didn’t really communicate to me – it was smooth and tasty, but nothing was really standing out. I really enjoyed it though.

She said: That often happens when wines age a bit, they soften and mellow.

He said: Yup, your tastes have to be more refined to analyze the subtleties that you find with aging wines.

She said:  It could also be that the wine has 14.5% alcohol…

The details:

  • d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2007, McLaren Vale, Australia
  • 14.5% alcohol
  • Drink 2015 to 2027, according to
  • $49.95.  LCBO #981183

PS:  did you know that the LCBO uses the same number for a wine?  So while ours was a 2007 wine, this number currently describes the 2009 version of the wine.





Mr. Black’s Little Book, 2008 Shiraz, Barossa Valley

Bottle back:  “They say ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ so open a bottle of Mr. Black’s Little Book and pour over his formulae, mixtures and little secrets.” Yes, the label is intriguing. But it’s really what’s inside that counts!

He said:  Quite enjoyable, great value.  Got cedar, chocolate and coffee flavours, with low acidity. Lengthy finish, complex flavour, harmonious balance. High alcohol level gets in the way of the flavour a bit.  Total of 37/50 points.

She said:  I could smell ripe grapes from a couple of feet away, once Dave opened the bottle.  Had a pretty intense flavour, a bit reminiscent of prunes, blackberry, cassis with a touch of chocolate. Low acidity, full bodied with nice balance. Bit more alcohol than I like – usually makes my face too red.  But nice yummy wine!  Total 37/50 points. Seem to be a few good reviews for 2010 and 2011 vintages so definitely worth looking for those.

We both thought this was pretty good – lots of dark fruit in the mouth, and medium on the boldness scale.  Would be great with a nice burger – maybe even ribs, and cheese dishes (Welsh Rarebit, for instance).

The Wine Guy has some nice things to say too.

The details:

  • Small Gully Mr. Blacks Little Book, 2008 Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
  • 100% Shiraz, 15.2% alcohol
  • Drink 2013-2015.  Seems to be in its peak right now.
  • Cost $17.95 at Ontario LCBO