The Laughing Magpie

Review By Eric Tansey, CSW, Sommelier                                                                                                       The Laughing Magpie has very nice aromas of plum, black cherry, chocolate, and minerals. Plum in color, plum on the nose and you guessed it, plum on the palate. The plum taste is a bit underripe, with subtle (tart) black cherry skin and rather strong tobacco undertones. Cigar box, Connecticut shade tobacco wrapper, and chalky, clumpy, tobacco-y clay earth.

Very manly style of wine that could really cellar for another five+ years and  benefit from being paired with a great steak dinner. The Laughing Magpie is bone dry with big tannins and bright acidity. The underripe fruit characteristics and earthy characteristics are the kings of the bottle. The finish has a very mineral-esque, almost metallic finish, that again would compliment a good steak. Cheers!

Tansey’s Blind Review – 86 points

Natalie Maclean Wine Reviews – 91 points

The Break Down


Dryness Level





Wine Selection –  The Laughing Magpie 

Producer – d’Arenberg 

Style –  Dry Red Wine 

Varietals – 93% Shiraz 7%Viognier

Region – McLaren Vale, Australia 

Vintage – 2010

Alcohol – 13.9%

Oak – 10 months, old French and American oak barrels 

Food Pairing – Steak, steak, more steak.

d’Arenberg Wines   

I love this producer and I really enjoy their wines and their story. They are currently fourth generation winemakers and they are still producing wines in the traditional method, picking the vines individually as they ripen, using a basket press, foot trading, and incorporating old oak. The family has been producing great wines since 1912. If you come across any d’Arenberg wines at your local shop I encourage you to pick up a bottle and prepare a great meal around it. Enjoy the food, talk about the wine, and rejoice in the moment where great food and great wine meet. Cheers! Eric Tansey, CSW,Sommelier

Where is McLaren Vale 

McLaren Vale is a wine growing region located in the Southern central side of Australia. The climate here is Mediterranean with four clear seasons, long, warm, sunny days and cool, short nights. The region rarely gets a freeze or a drought and is prime real estate for red grapes. The stars of this region are the Rhone varietals: Shiraz (Syrah in France), Mourvedre, and Grenache, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and a few other red and white varietals are also grown in the region. Great value wines that are often “bigger than life”. Cheers. Eric Tansey, CSW, Sommelier 

From the Winery 

The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2011 McLaren Vale, Shiraz (90%) Viognier (10%)

The Story Behind The Name

The Kookaburra is a native Australian bird famous for its distinctive laughing call, Chester’s young daughters named them “Laughing Magpies”. The Magpie plumage is black with a stripe of white feathers, representing McLaren Vale’s first ever blend combining the (black) Shiraz and its white partner, Viognier.

The Characteristics

A dark, complex nose, highlighted with a twist of peppery spice and a subtle undertone of apricot and florals from the Viognier. The palate is similarly dominated by the dark and brooding Shiraz. Fennel, cured meat and beetroot like flavours combine initially but over time some of the more savoury and closed notes lift, revealing the fruit sweetness that lies beneath; plums, blackberry and dark cherry. The palate is rich and generous and the tannins have a certain silkiness to them.

An exotic, mysterious wine that, in youth, will benefit enormously from a liberal dose of air through decanting.