Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tuesday Night Offering - dArenberg Footbolt Shiraz (2004)
I toddled off to see the Downbeat Bigband with friends last night and was fortunate to partake of a little beauty...a bit on the young side but I reckon give it a little lie down and it will become even more tasty! Interesting story about the naming of this wine..from the d'Arenberg website...

d’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz (previously known as the Old Vines Shiraz)

For the story behind this wine we have to go back to d’Arry’s grandfather, Joseph Rowe Osborn. Born in 1852 he was a colourful character with a multitude of talents. Joe was a lay preacher, mining speculator, public servant, teetotaler and local politician. Although not a drinker, Joe joined the Thomas Hardy & Sons wine company in 1881, eventually becoming a partner and
director. Joe was an enthusiastic patron of the turf and became a well- respected racing identity under the nom-de-plume of Mr. J. Rowen. ‘Footbolt’ was a chestnut colt foaled in 1898 and bought for 400 guineas, a sum quickly recouped after only 6 races. These and other wins enabled Joe to purchase the already established Milton Vineyards for his son, Frank, d’Arry’s father, in 1912. This wine is still made from some of the grapes from the vines purchased by Joe almost a century ago.

As with all of our red wines, the Footbolt Shiraz undergoes crushing by the Demoisy crusher and gentle basket pressing by the 19th century ‘Coq’ and ‘Bromley & Tregoning’ presses into new but mainly older American and French oak barriques for up to 18 months maturation. The Footbolt Shiraz undergoes minimal processing and as such may throw a deposit in the bottle. This is a wine which will benefit from further bottle age, as will most of d’Arenberg’s reds.

Chester's Tasting Notes: The young Footbolt Shiraz has a deep red-purple, then the immediate hallmarks of spicy, lifted ripe peppery mulberry and blackberry fruit aromas. Richer chocolate, stewed plum mint and spicy, cedary pepper smells and often cinnamon follow the initial attack of primary fruit characters. d’Arenberg’s The Footbolt Shiraz palate is consistently well structured with terrific fruit and totally integrated oak tannin providing great texture to support plum, blackcurrant and rolling blackberry flavours especially on the mid-palate. Often dark chocolate characters are quite evident too. This is followed by a traditional, long, velvety, fine grained tannin finish.

The Footbolt Shiraz will gain complexity with age, as with all d’Arenberg red wines. The aromas slowly incorporate developed cedar, coffee and developed dark chocolate smells with leather, tobacco and earthy aromas while always maintaining great fruit characters from spicy through to very ripe, depending on the vintage... More often than not distinctive peppery-spicy characters come to the fore after a little time in bottle.On the tongue, the Footbolt Shiraz maintains a wonderfully textured palate with significant bottle age. Gentle, grainy black olive flavours balance the sweeter coffee, chocolate and occasional mint characters.

The hallmarks of McLaren Vale, d'Arenberg, and The Footbolt Shiraz; a soft, rich middle palate, terrific texture and a long rolling finish, can reside with this wine for a number of years, even decades, as more than four decades of previous vintages have shown.

Serving and Cellaring Suggestions: Serve at room temperature 16 – 24 ºC. now or cellar for the next 2- 20 years with many types of food, especially hearty stews, rich pasta dishes, roasted and grilled meats including poultry and other white meats. Also goes well with slightly hot or spicy dishes and with hard- pressed cheeses. Serve after decanting as an older wine.

2004 around $15-17 at good wine sellers. Good value drinking if you ask me!
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