Top 100 Accessible Wines: D’Arenberg Stump Jump GSM

d arenbergTop 100 lists can be a pain in the anatomy. They’re published annually by the major wine review magazines, and every year they generate huge demand for the all the wines on the list. Unfortunately, most of those wines were sold out before the list was published, and thirsty consumers everywhere are doomed to be frustrated when they can’t buy any of the wines. (You can read my frustrated rantings in a previous article, What’s Wrong With Top 100 Lists.)

There are a few exceptions, and one of them is Australia’s d’Arenberg winery, which appears on the lists with amazing regularity. These folks (do they call them “blokes” down there?) have been making wine since the late 1800′s. They are clearly not Johnny-Come-Lately’s, or a Flash In the Pan. These guys have been doing it right for well over 100 years. I’ve sold and enjoyed many of their Shiraz, Shiraz blends and Cabernets, but their most humble wines keep showing up in, of all places, the Top 100 lists. Last year’s Wine Spectator Top 100 list included d’Arenberg’s Stump Jump Shiraz 2008. This was a cheap, cheerful Shiraz that was fruity and well-balanced. I’ve been able to sell lots of it, because the winery apparently “declassified” some juice from a  more expensive Shiraz in order to bottle more of the Stump Jump. That’s a a win-win situation for wine drinkers and the winery too.

And lo and behold, this year’s Wine Spectator Top 100 list included d’Arenberg’s Stump Jump Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2008. Wow. Top 100, two years in a row.

So tonight I popped open a bottle of the Top 100 blend. I love Aussie Shiraz and blends, so I was looking forward to tasting it.

I was surprised, but I wasn’t disappointed.

I was surprised because this Aussie blend is a unique combination of lightness and intensity. Right from the get-go (that would be “the pour”), the appearance was lighter and less opaque than expected — more like the color intensity of a Pinot Noir. Then I put the glass to my nose — and I got delicate, fruity, pretty aromas of candied fruit. This didn’t smell like the typical Aussie fruit bomb.

So I tasted it, and was hit by the same — restraint! Aussie wine isn’t usually restrained in any way. But this one packs tons of fruit into a restrained package. The flavors suggest black raspberry jam, but they’re not “jammy.” The palate is rich but light, and that’s not easy to achieve.

d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2008 is a fun, yummy (is that a technical term?), enjoyable wine. You can buy it for $10 – $12 and you’ll enjoy it with almost any food. I say, “Go for it!” Grab as much of this as you can, and curse the Top 100 list because it’ll make this wine fly off retailers’ shelves.

But who cares — drink it if you can find it and enjoy!

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