2003 Laughing Magpie at Peak

I bought about 5 cases of D’Arenberg Laughing Magpie and Dead Arm Shiraz in vintages 2001-3 when they were available at the LCBO at about half the going rate here in Michigan. As I remember, the D’Arenberg wines were all getting really high ratings from Parker, and I guess the US distribution channel took advantage. Interesting to see that the shelf prices of current vintages almost 10 years later are LESS than what they were when I bought my stash.

Anyways, I popped open a 2003 Magpie last night, my 2nd to last bottle of about 18, and while I have always enjoyed this wine, the bottle last night seemed very differnet. It may have been a couple of years since my last experience, but last night’s version was far more advanced in age. The saturated color had finally moved off purple to a more brickish hue. The nose had transitioned from black fruit and violets, to more earthy and meaty aromas. The palate was less fruity and more tertiary. The finish was broad, complex, and long. This reminded me of a 20 year old well-aged Cote Rotie, but with the increased density of a Hermitage. No, it was not a La La, or a Chave. But maybe an older Chapoutier?

I don’t know whether this wine was a bit prem-oxed to be so much different than any other I have had, but whatever the chemical transformation, it was darn near perfect in terms of what I appreciate in an aged wine.

Great to hear. I haven’t had one in several years, but I remember the Laughing Magpie is a tasty and fun wine in its youth, with generous fruit but also good spice and acids, and not one of the gloppy, heavy types of QPR shiraz.

I have two bottles of 2003 Ironstone Pressings. That wine reminded me in its youth of the Laughing Magpie but up a notch or two overall. I should probably open one soon and then decide how soon to open the other.