The Laird (formerly Gnadenfrei) Vineyard was first planted in 1958 on a southwest facing slope in the tiny hamlet of Marananga in the Barossa Valley. Torbreck’s first harvest of Shiraz from this highly coveted plot came in 2005.
With a combination of red and black clays over an ironstone base intermingled with gravel and quartz, the red and black soils produce two distinctly different wines that complement each other when blended.
The Eastern block of red clay offers up power and intensity with robust black fruit and tannins due to higher sunlight hours and later harvesting. The setting sun shades the Western side of this single vineyard and the black cracking clays offer a more fragrant, elegant wine complemented by spice and earthy notes.
Handpicked in two separate parcels up to a few weeks apart depending on vintage conditions, the fruit is immediately transported to the winery to be gently de-stemmed into open top fermenters. It is then carefully nurtured for 6-7 days on skins with pump overs occurring twice daily, varying in duration and intensity. When primary fermentation is almost complete, the wine is drawn off from the skins and the must is gently basket pressed for 8 hours.
The wine remains in a stainless steel tank until primary fermentation is completed. It is then run directly into new French barriques coopered by Dominique Laurent, where it spends 36 months in temperature-controlled conditions. Once the oak and the wine have melded perfectly, the wine is blended and bottled without the use of filtration or fining. Finally, it is matured in the bottle for a further 24 months before release.
Only eight vintages of The Laird have been produced since the inaugural 2005 vintage.
Over this time, the wine has become a favourite for wine collectors the world over, and has been fortunate to received the highest accolades accolades from the international trade and media. This includes receiving a perfect 100 points three times from Robert Parker's 'The Wine Advocate' for the 2005, 2008 and 2012 vintages.
Despite a dry winter during 2015, and a dry start to the summer growing season, rains in January freshened the older vines and provided long, slow ripening periods in between, which led to a stand-out vintage with high quality fruit. It was the earliest ever harvest of The Laird on record (19th February West, 2nd March East), with both parcels picked before another rain event in the second week of March.
This resulted in higher than average bunch numbers laden with tiny berries, leading to extremely concentrated ferments. Even at that early stage, it was clear we potentially had the best young Laird we had ever seen in our cellars
The Laird 2016
Powerful yet refined aromas of rich dark fruits such as satsuma plum, blackberry and mulberry fill the bouquet complimented by cacao bean and roast espresso. Alluring spices such as cinnamon and liquorice balanced by savoury notes of wet earth and native eucalypt combine with added complexities. The palate possesses a rich concentration, balanced by round and soft tannins and enveloping mouthfeel.
The minute long flavours linger long after the wine has been swallowed. Held together with a tight tannin profile and generous yet proportionate oak and balanced acidity, the 2016 shows all the opulence and elegance of previous Laird’s, but with a complexity, precision and prominence that will make sure it ages gracefully for the next 30 - 50 years.
The palate is packed with rich, dark-plum and black-fruit flavors and the long, strong hold on the finish lasts for minutes. So intense, this is their finest Laird to date. 99 points.
Nick Stock - JamesSuckling.com
Tyson Stelzer - Halliday Wine Companion
....To achieve all this with profound persistence and consummate integrity is where The Laird leaves all other overpowered pretenders in its dust. The most spectacular monument to the sheer might of Barossa shiraz. 98 points
Give this another few years in bottle so the oak-imparted notes further meld with the fruit and form a more complete, harmonious whole. 98 points
Joe Czerwinski - The Wine Advocate
Mocha, dark-chocolate-coated black cherries, the palate full-bodied and quietly massive, invading the entire mouth and leaving multi-layered flavours that last and last.... An impressive wine indeed. 97 points
Huon Hooke - The Real Review
This extraordinary wine is complex and distinctive, with aromatic sandalwood and mahogany details, black walnut and coffee liqueur accents, and thick, plush notes of blackberry and cassis at the core. The details keep coming on the velvety finish, where fresh spearmint, gingerbread and toasted cumin notes linger. Shiraz. Drink now through 2047. 96 points
MaryAnn Worobiec - Wine Spectator
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Ph: +61 8 8568 8123