Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mini Vertical #6: 2003 vs. 2005 D'Arenberg "The Laughing Magpie"

Been away for a few days so I have a few posts to catch up on. Here's the last in my Mini Vertical series (for now), and it was another Australian night.

The 2003 D'Arenberg "The Laughing Magpie" was a dark cherry red with a slight brick colour at the edges. Opened slowly over the eveing - liquorice and cloves, then violet, blackberry cedar, tobacco, flint and prunes. Quite angular and harsh when first poured, but it softened very nicely over the evening, retaining a nice fresh acidity and elegance. Drink now, or over the next few years.
cork. 14.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: ~$27 (LCBO) (swapped some Montus for this one)

The 2005 D'Arenberg "The Laughing Magpie" was a purpley cherry red, with a very hot and spicy nose. Blackberry fruit, smokey, with some leafiness, later revealing violet, undergrowth, pepper, liquorice, butterscotch and cocoa, and a late showing of a strong, tar/fuel aroma. On the palate it was complex, with dry dusty tannins and not overly fruity, but not as well integrated. It should improve with some bottle age, but I really have no experience with wines aged under a screw cap. Give it a good decant.
screw cap. 15% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: $27.95 (LCBO)

So while tonight was meant to be a comparison of two different vintages, I couldn't help thinking about "closure". The 2003 has sat in my cellar for a few years under a cork closure, while the 2005 was purchased more recently and sealed under a screw cap. Can I really compare vintages in this scenario? Also interesting to note the difference that 0.5% alcohol made on my perception of the wines.

Sorry Edward - I promised a match up of the 2002 vs. the 2005 after your 2002 review, but I only had the 2003. Cheers!


Edward said...


Great notes again. Regarding screw caps, they have been around in increasing numbers since about 2000 in Australia. Many premium reds are sealed with screwcap, and I think the feeling is they do age but more slowly than cork sealed wines.

I have a wine cabinet filling up with screwcap sealed reds. So I can let you know in a decade or so :)

Joe said...

Hi Ed - as a science guy "slower aging" makes sense, but I just don't have the experience with that. I would love to do some more detailed comparisons - maybe the guys at Elderton can show me when they give me that VIP treatment! Heck, in 10 years I should be able to get to Perth...