The Wine Advocate, March 30 2018 by Joe Czerwinski
2013 THE LAIRD
There’s no denying the power and concentration of Torbreck’s 2013 The Laird. The fruit is impressive, the oak luxurious, the texture velvety, yet I can’t help but wonder if it needs to spend that extra time in barrel. Complex notes of baking spices, licorice and pepper add nuance to the Christmas-cake flavors and somehow emerge savory on the long finish. It’s a wonderful wine.
VARIETY: Shiraz, Viognier
Who would’ve thought that in the context of Barossa Shiraz, the 2015 RunRig would seem like a relative bargain? It’s certainly much less expensive than Grange or Hill of Grace will be when they’re released. It’s also more approachable in its youth, with enormously appealing aromas of grilled fruit, savory complexities and rich, velvety tannins. Of course, it’s full-bodied and concentrated, with the stuffing to age for up to a couple of decades, and it has a long, licorice-tinged finish. Winemaker Ian Hongell, who joined Torbreck from Peter Lehmann, may not have made this wine, but he deserves a lot of credit for the blending and finishing of this tour de force
2015 THE FACTOR
I’m a sucker for the complex floral and savory aromas on the nose of Torbreck’s 2015 The Factor. It’s 100% Shiraz aged in predominantly older oak and features notes of violets, hickory smoke, mint, blueberries and mocha. It’s full-bodied but structured, with firm tannins and acids that give the palate shape and length. While nearly approachable now, it should age well for over a decade.
2016 THE STRUIE
A blend of Shiraz from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, Torbreck’s 2016 The Struie brings hints of cracked pepper and mint together with big blueberry fruit, and somehow those turn savory by the long, tannic finish. It’s full-bodied and firmly structured, wonderfully aromatic and intoxicatingly complex, and it represents a terrific value in the Torbreck lineup.
VARIETY: Shiraz, Viognier
The full-bodied 2015 Descendant features layers of dark berry and plum fruit, scorched earth, black olives and roasted meat, among other things. It’s dense, rich and concentrated, slowly developing in the glass to reveal hints of licorice and pepper on the firm finish.
2016 HILLSIDE VINEYARD GRENACHE
Bright cherry and raspberry fruit marks the nose of Torbreck’s 2016 Hillside Vineyard Grenache. The oak signature is modest, with fruit and dried spices (cinnamon, allspice and clove) taking the lead in this full-bodied but delicate, nimble wine. The tannins have a silky feel, lingering on the finish, where they add savory nuance.
2016 THE STEADING
VARIETY: Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro
Torbreck’s full-bodied 2016 The Steading is a sturdy Barossa blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro. Hints of smoke and grilled meat bring savory complexity to the cherry and raspberry fruit. Firm tannins suggest cellaring a year or two, but they also serve to define the fruit, imparting shape and length to the palate.
2016 WOODCUTTER’S SHIRAZ
The vibrant purple 2016 Woodcutter’s Shiraz delivers an affordable introduction to the Torbreck style, offering up fragrant notes of cracked pepper, hickory smoke, ripe blueberries and black olives. It’s not overly concentrated but is flavorful and approachable, with a silky, savory finish.