2016 Torbreck Descendant
This is my favourite Torbreck wine from the 2016 vintage right now. I have listed three in this note and I would not be surprised if they all become favourites, politely giving way to each other, over the next twenty years. Descendant is a spectacular creation and it is made from cuttings taken from the RunRig vineyard and planted in 1994 in the winery block on Roennfeldt Road. Six per cent Viognier is co-fermented in this wine and it is matured in ex-RunRig barrels, too.
My tasting note simply read, ‘like the greatest ever Cote- Rotie’, this is a spectacular wine and one which starts with a thrilling nose and doesn’t let up until about a week after you have put down the glass. It will come as no surprise that every one of these wines scored 19.5+/20 in my notes with an extra ‘+’ for RunRig on account of its longevity. These are very special wines indeed.
2016 The Factor which uses 40% new oak and builds on the fleshy 2015 which was such a hit on the Roadshow. In 2016 there is a little more weight and power and also a longer, more savoury finish, but this is another impeccable wine from this imperial estate.
2016 RunRig is massive, closed and hugely backward and it is happy to allow its colleagues to attract all of the attention, right now, while it gathers its thoughts. I will revisit this wine regularly because while igave it a near perfect score I reserve the right to chuck half a point at it, if it does what I fully expect it to do when it wakes up.
I have finished with a white wine because lam a little hot under the collar after writing about such emotionally-charged wines. 2018 Woodcutter’s Semillon is one of the stylish, new, lithe white wines from Torbreck and | know that it will amaze you. After six months in older French oak there is a slight sheen of honeysuckle and blanched almonds over the lime juice core. This is a delicious and invigorating wine.
2017 Torbreck Hillside Vineyard Grenache
After an eternity singing the praises of Aussie Grenache I think that the message is getting through. Fans of Torbreck have always spoken in hushed tones about Steading and Juves because they are the finest value wines in the firmament. I am thrilled that there are no plans to change this pricing structure because as you will read below, they just keep getting better and better as the years pass by. But this yearI am ravening at the prospect of introducing you to my headline wine, Hillside Vineyard Grenache — a wine that had me reaching for my health insurance provider's number on speed dial because of what it did to my heartbeat when I first tasted it!
This is a single vineyard southerly facing plot which gets no bells or whistles whatsoever in the winery. It sees second fill barrels for 15 months and that is it. This is a monumental creation. I gave it 19.5+/20 in my notes. It is an insanely classy wine with thrilling exoticism in every sip but at the same time it is rigidly controlled and ordered, not wanting to make a fuss or to attract too much unwanted attention.
This is only the second vintage release for this wine, but maven winemaker lan Hongell has already identified just how supreme the fruit is here and he has nailed this wine with characteristic accuracy. This is a legendary creation in the making and you ought to act fast if you would like the honour of owning this wine in your cellar.
2017 Cuvée Juveniles always comes up trumps and in 2017 it is dead centre perfect for immediate glugging and all-purpose rabble-rousing. While on the one hand this is a light-hearted, juicy, medium-weight red, if you look closely it has a Torbreck spine running the length of its palate so you can always be assured of its breeding.
Finally, 2017 The Steading which always rewards, is taken to another level in this vintage. There is more dark chocolate, more briar and leaf, more clove and pepper, more explosive fruit and a longer finish. It is sublime. In any other year this wine would be a headliner but Hillside has politely taken centre stage and The Steading is, as always, steadfast.