Specialty Club – November 2008

2006 d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz
Here’s a wine that needs little introduction, particularly since winemaker Chester Osbern writes an extended essay on the back of each d’Arenberg bottling. On this bottle, he tells the story of how the fungus Eutypa lata causes half of the vine to wither, and he details the process through which the tiny yields of these 19th century plants are turned into incredibly tasty wine. What we can add is, this vintage rocks! Always an iconic Australian wine, the 2006 Dead Arm has received unparalleled praise from all quarters. Dense, spicy, strong red fruits, fine-grained tannins: it is a wine truly built for the long haul. While Chester is coy about how long to cellar the wine, the consensus is to give it at least 3-5 years, but that it could definitely continue to age gracefully for 15-20. Given all the acclaim, it’s not a surprise that we got just enough wine to put in the club at $65.75.

2005 Domaine d’Ardhuy Ladoix
The 2005 vintage of white Burgundies continues to impress us with wines worthy of inclusion in this club. The Domaine d’Ardhuy was founded in 1927 in the tiny village of Corgoloin, right on the boundary between the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune, the two most important Burgundy regions. As with most Burgundy producers, they own small amounts of vineyards (45 hectares) spread out over many vineyard sites (over 30 different parcels). We discovered this producer last year in the excitement over the 2005 vintage, and have brought quite a few of their whites into the shop. This Chardonnay comes from a hilly vineyard in the village of Ladoix, just south of Corgoloin. The wine has a very bright nose, is round and smooth in the mouth, and has a long, satisfying finish. It got a unanimous thumbs-up from Bear’s tasting group as delicious, versatile (it would pair well with everything from ham and fish to onion soup), and well worth the price at $33.75. It’s ready to drink and there is still a bit more available.