Historically, much of the attention for Torbreck has been focused upon Shiraz. Laird, Runrig, Factor. That sort of thing. Big wines. Old vines. Serious prices.
Yet personally, I’ve often been more impressed by the ‘other’ wines in the Torbreck range, with the less overt, old vine Grenache and Mataro-based releases much more likely to tickle my fancies.
Pict and Steading, I’m looking at you.
It’s been a while since I’ve delved into the Torbreck range, and with these two new wines I was really interested to see whether the personality had changed in the post-Dave Powell era.
I’m quite sure it has…
Torbreck Philippou Barossa Valley Grenache 2014
This comes from the Philippou vineyard, which was planted on the edge of Rowland Flat circa 1893. Handpicked, destemmed and then fermented for 9 days with twice daily pumpovers, which is the norm for Barossa Grenache. It spent 22 months in one large new foudre, which is less usual (most Barossa wineries use small mainly old oak) and is sealed with cork.
Despite the alcohol this is very pale – a light ruby red. It smells concentrated too, with red meat, raspberry and a little glace fruit. Indeed there is no hiding the slightly dried fruit edge to this, with hints of treacle and coffee to suggest super-ripeness. Yet curiously this isn’t heavy and hot – its still quite juicy and doesn’t taste at all cooked or lifeless. Just very ripe. Indeed it’s got some impact and crunch too.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t my favourite style of Barossa Valley Grenache – and it would offend purists like Marco Cirillo – but this is cleverly handled and is utterly serious (and long). Best drinking: 2016-2028. 17.7/20, 92/100. 15.5%, $60. Would I buy it? Maybe not, purely as I just couldn’t drink much of this.
Torbreck The Loon Barossa Valley Shiraz Marsanne 2015
Marananga Shiraz co-fermented with Marsanne skins. Dark ruby coloured with a purple edge this is utterly primary stuff with dark red fruit in a riotous and very juicy form. Real fun here, the purple fruit unadorned by oak, initially gummy and plump in a ripe Hubba Bubba style, but the licorice and bark underneath serve to give this some complexity. Refreshing and vibrant little number with fruit appeal in droves, it’s not exactly deep or structured to live, but provides lots of open and very attractive berry flavours without resorting to residual sweetness. Smashable. Best drinking: 2016-2022. 17.5/20, 91/100. 14%, $31. Would I buy it? Sure would. Simple fun.
Buy direct from Torbreck here.