Friday, November 30, 2018 in News
Fifteen-odd years ago, d’Arenberg’s Chester Osborn was told that his vision for a psychedelic glass cellar door would “explode in the McLaren Vale sun”. He now sits happily in the d’Arenberg Cube, thinking about what he might do next. Langton’s talks d’Arenberg.
Chief winemaker Chester Osborn and d'Arry Osborn
No two wines are the same. But it could be said that a lot of wineries are very similar. You take the best fruit you can find; you sort, you crush, you ferment, you blend, you bottle.
Stand on Chester Osborn’s newly built viewing platform at d’Arenberg, however, and you’ll see a few unusual goings-on. They tread fruit underfoot. They basket press. They use the old concrete fermenters. It’s incredibly labour-intensive. But Osborn insists on it. The vinous outputs that this colourful son of McLaren Vale seeks are entirely of his own design. They’re not always fashionable. His reds (led by flagship Shiraz The Dead Arm) are powerful, unapologetic things, apparently unaware of a mainstream shift away from their “brooding monster” ilk.
Tasting at d'Arenberg
But Osborne’s technical skills - as a vigneron and as a blender - manifest in wines that can somehow be that coveted triumvirate of red wines: bullish, beautiful, and built for the long haul.
Osborn himself presents as a caricature of “different” - the technicolour outfits, the wild hair - and it’s easy to assume that this “out there, man” man is just another piece of slick wine biz theatre: The figurehead of a brand that wants to be seen as ‘different’. Not the case.
Fifteen years ago, Osborn built a small model out of plastic bricks and presented it to the board - his dream of the d’Arenberg cellar door that could be. Architects, builders, financiers, all and sundry, told him that such a thing (a stark, raving Rubik’s cube of glass, in the middle of McLaren Vale) couldn’t exist. Indeed that if that much glass could somehow be put together in such a fashion, it would literally “explode” in the heat. Eventually, architectural sciences caught up with the visions of chief winemaker, and The Cube was realised. Like his wines, this second-generation d’Arenberg winemaker is in it for the long term.
The Cube now serves as cellar door, museum, restaurant, and more to d’Arenberg - and a testament to its eccentric proprietor who’s certainly not in it just for show. The bottom floor houses a modern art gallery (of Osborn’s curation, of course) that he describes as a “journey into Chester’s mind”. Bold and psychedelic, past and future. He’s different. His wines are different.
Dining at d'Arenberg
His imagination, eccentricity, hard work and highly focussed winemaking deliver something interesting and authentic at almost every price point. And the wines are certified organic and biodynamic – the largest in Australia that can make that claim – more proof were it needed that the d’Arenberg combination of madness and ambition is carefully planned and executed over years.
You could be one of the few people we’re sending to visit d’Arenberg, where you’ll be treated to money-can’t-buy, behind-the-scenes tours, a premium tasting and a degustation lunch. It’s a place that has to be seen to be believed. d’Arenberg is very much the quintessential Australian wine experience – food for the mind, soul and stomach.