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Torbreck, the story

Torbreck Vintners was founded by David Powell in 1994.  The roots go back to 1992 when Dave, who was then working at Rockford, began to discover and clean up a few sections of dry-grown old vines.  Near lifeless, he nurtured them back to health and was rewarded with small parcels of fruit that he made into wine.  Dave was able to secure a contract for the supply of grapes from a run-down but ancient Shiraz vineyard.  He managed to raise enough money to share farm the vineyard, a practice which involves paying the owner a percentage of the market rate for his grapes in return for totally managing the vineyard. 

 

This share farming principle has enabled Torbreck to use fruit from the very best vineyards in the Barossa Valley, which is home to some of the most precious old vines in the world.  He named his wine “Torbreck” after a forest in Scotland where he worked as a lumberjack.  Hillside property situated in Lyndoch was aquired in 2002.  Vast and picturesque it contains some magnificent old and ancient vineyards that will further the source of premium Torbreck grapes. 

 

Torbreck Woodcutters

The name Woodcutter’s stems from when David Powell spent several years working in the Scottish Highlands as a lumberjack or woodcutter in the Torbreck forest.  This is just a reflection of the up and coming younger Shiraz vineyards of the Barossa, rather than the battle hardened old warriors which make up the heart and soul of the of the established Torbreck range.  Bottled under screwcap for the first time in 2003.  The Woodcutters Red, like all Torbreck wines, sources fruit from hand harvested and hand tended, low yielding vines.  It is fermented and gently pressed, then aged for 12 months in large format seasoned barrels and foudres.

Reviews:

"The 2003 Woodcutters Shiraz is a 9,000-case cuvee of sexy juice. Powell fashions this striking cuvee from some of Barossa’s younger Shiraz vineyards. It is aged 12 months in old wood foudres prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. While meant to be consumed early in life, it does not sacrifice any flavor intensity or power. With a deep ruby/purple color, gorgeous plum, black cherry, raspberry, and cassis-scented aromas as well as flavors, low acidity, medium to full body, good opulence, and no hard edges, it is about as sexy a Shiraz as one can buy for $20. Drink it over the next 2-3 years."  The Wine Advocate.

 

Torbreck Juveniles

Cuvee Juveniles is a bold and seductive un-oaked blend that represents a youthful wine made from old vines. Fruit from dry grown, low yielding vines is fermented, bottled and released early.  It is fragrant, intense and concentrated in flavor with blackberry, earth and Asian spices. Sensuous palate feel and tremendous length make this wine drinkable now, yet with a constitution to mature in the cellar for many years.  A blend of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz.   Fermented in single vineyard batches, blended in tank and bottled unfiltered and unfined before the end of the year.

Reviews:

"The 2003 Juveniles is a virgin, unoaked blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and 20% Shiraz. There are 6,000 cases of this peppery cuvee that offers up notes of roasted meats, saddle leather, and kirsch liqueur in a medium-bodied, well-defined, exuberant, flavorful format. It tastes like a high class Cotes du Rhone from the ocean of vineyards known as the Plan de Dieu in the Vaucluse. Drink this knock-out red over the next 2-3 years."  The Wine Advocate.

 

Torbreck Struie

Named after a hill that rises above the Glenmorangie distillery, The Struie is the home of a pub called the Altman Arms. This is where David Powell first heard a band called Run Rig play.  This wine is a blend of Shiraz from the Eden and Barossa Valleys, combining the best of both regions.  Fruit from the high altitudes of Eden Valley impart delicate spice, white pepper and fruit characters, while the Barossa component displays a richer, deeper, more brooding flavor and intensity. The combined structure will reward extended cellaring.  The view from the Struie down across the Dornoch Firth is as inspiring as that of the Valley floor from the Barossa Ranges. Single vineyard parcels are fermented separately and matured for 18 months in a combination of seasoned French (80 percent) and new  French (20 percent) oak barriques.

Reviews:

"One of Torbreck’s newest offerings is Struie, a 100% Shiraz cuvee from the cooler climate, high altitude vineyards of Eden Valley blended with fruit from Barossa, which provides more power and intensity. This structured effort reveals a French-tasting profile, but with the noteworthy ripeness found in a great Barossa vintage. A blend of 40-year-old Eden Valley Shiraz vines and 80-year-old Barossa Shiraz.  Its dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by a big, rich perfume of white chocolate intermixed with loamy soil, black cherry, blackberry, pepper, and currant aromas. Intense and medium to full-bodied yet elegant, it should drink well for 10-15 years."  The Wine Advocate.

 

Torbreck Factor Shiraz

The Factor is composed of 100% Shiraz and was first produced from the 1998 vintage. In the early 1980s, valuable (and many old) Australian Shiraz vineyards were pulled out because of lack of market interest. The movement to cool climate viticulture and wine made the Barossa, of all places, look rather irrelevant. However this trend reversed dramatically with the internationalization of the Australian wine market and renewed enthusiasm of local buyers. This is Torbrecks tribute to those surviving vines and is made in the traditional Barossa manner , rich and rewarding upon release and beautifully ethereal with age.  Small parcels of fruit from dry grown old vines are selected for their individual qualities and matured separately in 70 percent old and 30 percent new French Oak barriques for 24 months.

Reviews:

"This 100% Shiraz cuvee of 240 cases is made from 50-130-year old vines. No new oak is used, although some of the press wine does see new American oak. Supple, with a telltale, ostentatious bouquet of black fruits intermixed with smoke, licorice, and melted asphalt, this super-extracted, velvety-textured, sumptuous, pure, rich, impeccably well-balanced Shiraz is best consumed during its first decade of life.  This wine not only makes for compelling drinking, but it is also a huge amount of fun, and isn't that what it's all about?"  The Wine Advocate.

 

Torbreck Descendant

The Descendant is a single vineyard Shiraz-Viognier which, as the name implies, is a direct descendant of RunRig.  The Descendant vineyard Shiraz expresses tar and black olive, offset wonderfully by the jasmine and apricot aromatics of Viognier.   From the cuttings taken from old vines used to plant the vineyard, and the Viognier skins the shiraz was crushed onto, to the barrels it was matured in, this wine is directly descended from RunRig.   The vineyard was planted with cuttings from one of the old RunRig vineyards. The Shiraz is crushed on top of the Viognier from the same vineyard, which has been lightly pressed for blending with the RunRig. The blend of fruit is then co-fermented and later the wine matured for 18 months in 30 month old French barrels that had been previously used for RunRig.

Reviews:

"...a blend of 92% Shiraz and 8% Viognier that spent 18 months in 2-year-old French oak. The fruit is sourced from the section of the Barossa Valley known as Marananga. The Viognier and Shiraz are co-fermented together, and the name, Descendant, comes the fact that it is essentially the same blend as the famed Run Rig, but sees no new oak. A magnificent effort... Descendant offers gorgeous aromas of crushed blackberries, raspberries, licorice, acacia flowers, and the added notes of honeysuckle and apricots from the Viognier. Full-bodied and opulently textured, with good tannin, structure, purity, and a broad, expansive finish that lasts nearly a minute, it needs 1-2 years of cellaring, and should keep for 12-15+."  The Wine Advocate.

 

Torbreck RunRig Shiraz

Torbrecks flagship wine, RunRig is a structured, muscular wine with phenomenal density, dry vintage port-like concentration, and magnificent notes of smoke, blackberries, cassis, leather and coffee.  Shiraz from old dry grown vineyards is blended with viognier, complementing the strengths and complexities of these individual parcels of fruit, while giving the resulting wine a further dimension.  The hint of viognier's sweet marmalade character comes through as the wine sits in the glass. A true 'Vin de Garde' to reward those with the patience to cellar it.  RunRig cuvee spends 30 months in 60 percent new French Oak (with the remainder being seasoned). The 3 percent estate grown Viognier is fermented and aged for 6 months in barrel and then added to the blend just prior to bottling.

Reviews:

Constantly flirting with perfection... A blend of 97% Shiraz and 3% Viognier, this is Torbreck’s flagship offering. Sadly, there are only 1,500 cases produced. Sourced from old vines, some close to 140 years of age, it is fashioned from four sectors of Barossa – Marananga, Koonunga Hill, Moppa, and Greenock. It spends 30 months in 60% new French oak before being bottled without fining or filtration. The powerful, full-bodied 2001 exhibits aromas of creme de cassis, blackberry liqueur, ink, espresso, graphite, and apricot marmalade. The impression on the palate is one of marvelous richness, expansive texture, a multi-layered skyscraper soaring across the palate with no heaviness. It is a tour de force in winemaking, but give it 2-3 years of bottle age, and drink it over the following 15-20+ years."  The Wine Advocate.

   

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