Reviewed by Dave Brookes
Ian Hongell - Winemaker of the Year 2022 Finalist
2017 The Laird
100% shiraz sourced from the Gnadenfrei vineyard in Marananga, aged for 36 months in French oak 'magic casks' from Dominique Laurent. The Spinal Tap effect is in full force here, with everything turned up to eleven. Impenetrable purple red in the glass, showing characters of head-spinning purity and heft; black plum, blackberry and prune notes mesh with shades of deep, exotic spice, Dutch blackstrap licorice, crème de cassis, roasting meats, espresso, graphite, cedar and polished mahogany. Profound fruit depth and purity with melt-in-the-mouth, mineral-edged tannins and a finish that carries long and proud with a solid rush of black plum and cherry compote, spice and chocolate. If you are after a powerful shiraz with finesse, this is your benchmark.
With 1.5% viognier. Sourced from 6 vineyards across the Barossa Valley. Aged for 30 months in French oak (50% new). Impenetrable purple red in the glass, with layers of dense dark plum and blackberry fruit of considerable purity and heft. Notes of blackforest cake, Old Jamaica chocolate, cedar, turned earth, crème de cassis and kirsch. Big, bold and balanced with a velvety flow, firm fine tannin and long dark finish of warmth and classic Barossan fruit weight.
2019 Les Amis
Dry-grown, single-vineyard grenache from Greenock, aged 25 months in French oak (40% new). I've wandered through this vineyard a number of times, it's gnarled old vines never fail to produce a stunning wine. It's quite open-knit and welcoming; awash with red plum and raspberry fruit notes, cut with exotic spice, gingerbread, sarsaparilla, star anise and earth. A wine of detail, finesse and tension. I often say I'm not a fan of new oak and grenache and more often than not the Les Amis proves me wrong. It's done it again. Wonderful.
2019 The Factor
100% shiraz sourced from the parishes of Gomersal, Krondorf, Marananga and Ebenezer, aged for 12 months in French oak. Glossy red purple in the glass with characters of ripe satsuma plum and macerated summer berry fruits, Asian five-pice, cedar, licorice and Old Jamaica chocolate. Fruit weight, purity and intensity perfectly on point here, tannins too, fine and long. There just seems to be so much packed into the wine yet everything is in proportion and true. Power with grace.
Co-fermented with 7% viognier; from a single vineyard in Marananga planted in 1994 with cuttings from the RunRig vineyard. Vibrant purple red, with a gentle layer of apricot and stone fruit sheathing the impressively pure plummy shiraz beneath. Silky, superfine pillowy tannins and a compact, powerful fruit canvas that holds true throughout, showing balance, poise and considerable latent power and cellaring potential.
2019 Hillside Vineyard Grenache
Grenache, planted in 1949, from the Hillside vineyard in the southern Barossa parish of Lyndoch, aged in a 2400L French oak foudre for 18 months. Airy and elegant red cherry and red plum characters mesh seamlessly with notes of gingerbread, souk-like spice, red licorice, purple flowers and earth. It sits comfortably at the lighter end of medium bodied, detail, confident and flagrantly expressive with initially reticent tannins providing gentle support, superb fruit clarity and a balanced, spicy finish and that lingers nicely leaving memories of red plum and spice.
2019 The Growers Cut Shiraz
Shiraz sourced from Greenock, aged for 18 months in well-seasoned French oak barriques. I think things have changed a bit at Torbreck in recent years. There was always a distinct thumbprint of house style. That seems less obvious now; place and fruit purity shine through brightly. Here's a good example. Super-ripe, concentrated plum fruits with sub-regional nuance of ironstone, Asian spice and earth; a brightness of line and fine tannic intensity that bodes very well for a long future. A stunner.
2019 The Pict
Single-vineyard mataro, planted 1927, from Greenock, aged in French barrique (50%) new for 24 months. Savoury, meaty and layered with exotic spice and black fruits, the Pict represents a Barossa mataro of some serious stature and heft. Dotted with herbal nuance, deep dark earthy tones, notes of polished leather and bitter chocolate all set against a canvas of ripe, assertive tannin and dark cocoa, spicy oak. Impressive stuff.
2020 The Gask
The Gask is sourced from shiraz vineyards in the Eden Valley, aged for 18 months in 2nd-fill French oak. Wonderfully bright purple red in the glass with aromas of blood plum, exotic spice, purple flowers, earth, licorice and dark chocolate. It's a beautifully composed, glossy, contemporary take on Eden Valley shiraz, impressive in its fruit purity and detail, fine tannin framework and its inherent drinkability and cellaring potential. Superb balance too, with not a peep from that alcohol content; it's all about fruit and place.
2020 The Struie
With an average vine age of 50 years, the Struie is Torbreck's shiraz sourced across the Barossa (80%) and Eden (20%) Valleys aged in French oak (20% new) for 20 months. I've always liked the Struie; the Eden Valley component seemingly opening the wine up a little, perhaps gifting it a subtle red-fruit underlay, some sage and certainly some quartz-like tannin heft. Some impressive fruit depth and purity of display here with some bonus cellaring potential.
2020 The Steading
65/20/15% grenache/shiraz/mataro sourced across 7 parishes of the Barossa, aged for 20 months in large 4500L French oak vats. A beautifully composed take on the humble GSM blend with the trademark Torbreck purity, gloss and contemporary swagger. No variety trying to assert its dominance here; all fitting together perfectly for an impressively balanced wine that shows detailed plum and spice notes, fine ripe tannin and a sense of being very comfortable in its own skin. Pour me another glass.
2020 Hillside Vineyard Shiraz Roussanne
91/9% shiraz/roussanne from the Hillside vineyard in the southern parish of Lyndoch, aged for 14 months in old 4500L French oak foudre. Co-fermentation dialling the colour saturation up to Spinal Tap levels here. Intense and pure black cherry, plum and blackberry fruits are cut with deep spice, licorice and earth. Weighty and concentrated with a toothsome, muscular frame, deep resonant black fruits, assertive fine tannin and simmering latent power on the finish. There's a lot of fruit heft and bang for your buck here.
2020 Woodcutter's Shiraz
Shiraz sourced from the parishes of Marananga, Greenock, Seppeltsfield, Gomersal, Moppa, Lyndoch and Ebenezer. Matured 12 months in older French oak. Bright red purple in the glass and showing a ripe, pure core of juicy satsuma plum and red cherry with a splash of mulberry lift. Hints of exotic spice, purple flowers and earth wrap the opulent fruit with fine sandy tannin in support and just a hint of heat on the savoury exit.