The Nostalgia Rare NV is a decadent wine, offering a delicious concentration of toffee, cherry, caramel and marmalade and is the oldest wine that d’Arenberg release each year. It is only available in tiny quantities due to the amount that evaporates to the atmosphere over time, known as “the angel’s share”. The centrepiece of the label is a coat of arms with the original d’Arenberg crest, created by d’Arry Osborn in 1959 when he first released wine with the red stripe. Alongside the crest as supporters are a Clydesdale horse and a Dorper lamb, both important to the history of the winery and also today.
In the glass it’s a burnished bronze with an alluring rim of olive – illustrating the great age of some of the parcels that have gone into this wine. The nose is at first a cascade of walnuts toasted almonds and rancio (drying, mature complex oak character). It then opens up to dried fruits, pears and apples with a sprinkling of cinnamon spice, further inspection gives up toffee, dried figs and burnt butter. The palate is very lively, tingling with spice and lift – a fantastic balance of freshness and age, the sweetness kept in check by the rancio.
In 2013 Chester Osborn, current Chief Winemaker and Viticulturalist, reintroduced the use of horses to the oldest bush vine Grenache vineyard in McLaren Vale, and sheep continue to graze between the vines as part of the biodynamic practices employed in the vineyards. Other elements of the coat of arms represent the export history of their fortified wines, illustrated by a ship crossing an ocean of vine leaves. Also present are acknowledgements of the traditional viticulture and winemaking techniques that are still in use at d’Arenberg, hand pruning and basket pressing. A second look at the labels show a human foot drawn on each supporting animal, representative of foot treading of each red ferment. Other features are vineyard tools and oak barrels, a copper pot still and a gentle cherub.