2006 d’Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz $19
I know, the bottle says Shiraz-Viognier as if it’s a blend, and not a Shiraz. However, the wine is 94% Shiraz and 6% Viognier making it a Shiraz by definition. I think that’s important to know.
Leave it to the Australian’s to blend two unlikely grape varietals. I love their risk-taking mentality and willingness to put something out there that is a bit different.
When I read the story about why the wine was named, Laughing Magpie, I had to give it a shot.
Plus d’Arenberg is a highly respected winery and receives many great reviews for this particular brand.
But ultimately it was the name that lured me to this bottle.
The winery’s vineyards are home to the famous bird, the Kookaburra, known for it’s unique laughing call.
The winemaker’s daughters apparently kept two, wild, Kookaburras as pets and named them the Laughing Magpies. A Magpie which is black with a stripe of white feathers, has no resemblance to the Kookaburra in an sense but somehow the name stuck.
The winemaker creatively wove this tale into the name of his wine as the Shiraz is black in color and the Viognier is white…like the Magpie. I have to say I give him an “A” for creativity.
This particular vintage has had many good ratings, most prominently by The Wine Advocate of 92 points, which is a decent rating for a Shiraz.
The label indicated that this young wine would benefit from decanting and even aging for another 3-4 years. I think they are right.
This wine was extremely abundant in tea-like tannins and cinched my tongue up like purse strings upon the first sip. It shocked me, but not that I wasn’t warned.
Bold characters dominated mostly by phat, black fruit of blackberry, cherry and blueberry come pouring through. This is a young, full-bodied wine with a strong purple color in the glass and a bit of hotness on the mouth.
I drank this wine over three days to see if it would calm down. It did.
This is a very ageable wine as indicated by the apparent tannic-structure. The label says drink through 2020. I’m not sure about that. Maybe 5-7 years would be my guess.
However, if you are looking for a wine to go with some very big luscious, hearty food in the near future, I would recommend opening this bottle right after breakfast and decanting it ALL DAY. Yes, it will take all day to get it to an enjoyable softness. It’s a big one.
The wine definitely has personality and is interesting enough to give it a try. It just needs a little coaxing (aerating) to allow its better characteristics to reveal themselves.
So did anyone have a laughable drink last night? I would love to hear about the comedy.