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17th February 2019

Readybreck - the Barossa Valley's Torbreck Winery


Erstwhile lumberjack Dave Powell founded Torbrek in the heart of the Barossa Valley as recently as 1994, and as a property it has gone from strength to strength, famously being labelled by Robert Parker as one of the World's Top 100 Wine Estates. Dave worked for Robert 'Rocky' O'Callaghan at Rockford, so a certain affinity for old vines, Shiraz and Grenache especially, was almost bound to rub off on him, and so it did. Finding a few parcels of old vines - usually small and uneconomical for the grower to harvest, he decided to start his own label. Naming it after the Scottish forest where he had worked as a student. Almost all the wines' names have similar Celtic origins, even if some are more fanciful than others. His first release, called 'RunRig', was a huge commercial and critical success.
Unfortunately, success can often have its downside, and in a well-publicised story which hasn't got much to do with the wines themselves, Dave lost control of the property after having first lost ownership, and then his position as MD. Today, the range of wines remains as valid as the vineyards from which they come, although today's line up is broader than in the past, and includes many more whites than it did in Dave's time, these still only account for 10% of the winery's 70,000 cases however. The wines today are made by Ian Hongell, and they are very good.
Torbreck also boasts a very beautiful and purpose built visitors centre and tasting room which is worth a visit in its own right.

Woodcutte's Semillon 2017 $18.50
4 months in old foudres
Linseed, beeswax, honey aromas, some grass. Rich but dry, zesty grapefruit acidity. Some almond skin phenolic. Rich finish. Not hugely weighty or complex but well made. 15.5

Woodcutters's RVM $21.50
42 Roussanne 24 Marsanne 11 Viognier
Aromatic, but not especially so. Straw and hay, some peach fruit. Fresh and relatively simple. 15

The Steading Blanc 2017 $37.50
Single vineyard 65 Roussanne 24 Marsanne 11 Viognier
Some large old oak for the Marsanne and Viognier

Much richer and more oily to smell. Olive, grass and honey. Rich texture with full peach and apple fruit, honey and some lime. Good 17

Roussanne 2017
Single vineyard some whole bunch press no oak $48.50
Jasmine and honeysuckle aromas with ripe apricot. Some straw and linseed freshness and a little phenolic. Fresh acidity, and a rich finish. Good 16.5

Woodcutter's Rosé 2017 $18.50
Mataro, 6 months oak
Mid deep blood-orange colour. Fairly earthy and a bit savoury aromas with some rosehip and redcurrant.
Spicy red fruits. Dry, and with very light dusting of tannins. Good length. 16.5

Cuvée Juveniles 2016 $25
75 Grenache 18 Mataro 7 Shiraz, no oak originally made for Les Juveniles in Paris (by Dave Powell) as a light wine.
Mid colour.
Bright strawberry and redcurrant fruit aromas. Fresh and elegant crisp red apple and cranberry flavours, some cinnamon spice and pepper. Very light tannins. In a Côtes-du-Rhône style. Fresh finish. 15.5

The Steading 2016 $37.50
55 Grenache 28 Mataro 17 Shiraz 15 months French oak.
Rich, spicy oak scents with plum and damson fruit. Powerful extract with spices and damson fruit. Long spicy finish. Not a monster, but full. 16.5

Harris Grenache 2016 $37.50
Harris is the Grower, planted 2002 1yr+ oak
Mid ruby colour. Strawberry and raspberry aromas. Some cream and vanilla. Rich sweet fruit flavours with juicy red fruit finish. Not hugely complex, but well balanced and easy to drink. 16

Woodcutter's Shiraz 2017 $25
40% of production 15% alc 4000lt foudres
Violet and hints of savoury, bright blue fruit scents. No obvious oak to scent. Juicy spices and some savoury hints. Handles the alcohol well. Good acidity on the finish. 16

Hillside Vineyard Shiraz Roussanne 2017 $32
92 Shiraz 8 Roussanne, co-fermented. Single vineyard (Lyndoch)
Earthy and spicy with some black olive and plum aromas. Meaty and savoury flavours and depth. Big tannins and marked acidity. Slightly rustic style, more Cornas than Hermitage... 16

The Struie 2016 $48.50
100 Shiraz. Barossa/Eden blend. 40-60y.o. Vines. 18 months French (60% new)
Warm spicy oak aromas, cinnamon and bright black fruit scents. Packed black fruit, some black olive, but not particularly eucalpt or pyrazine. Some juicy sweetness on the finish. Good. 16.5

The Gask 2016 $75
100 Shiraz single Eden vineyard 70y.o. 15 months French oak (50% new) 14.5% alc
Some menthol and eucalyptus hints, fresh and mineral hints. Juicy and blackberry flavours, fresh acidity, slightly nervy tannins. Dry finish, no jamminess. 17

The Factor 2010 $150
100 Shiraz Barossa. 80-100 y.o vines. 24 months French oak (50% new)
Baked and jammy rich fruit. Fresh bottle opened (previous day's had some oxidative notes) Fruitcake and jam (for the first time). Creamy and dry spices on the finish. Big tannins still but all resolving Rich and very good. 18

Descendent 2010 $125
92 Shiraz 8 Viognier. Single Maranga vineyard. 24 months French oak (all used). RunRig vines (hence name)
Juicy and more blackberry crumble flavours, sweet earthy old oak/age flavours, some floral and delicate sweet fruit. Resolved tannins and sweet fruit on finish.

RunRig 2015 $255
98 Shiraz 2 Viognier (added subsequently). 24 mnths French (50% new) 15%alc
Sweet herbs, eucalyptus and medicinal aromas. Packed juicy fruit and powerful peppery spice. A little violet, and some cocoa flavours. Powdery tannins. Rich deep finish. Very good 18.5

Highland Fling 2013 $75
Fortified 100 Shiraz single Moppa vineyard.
Very deep ruby colour. Sweet liquorice and plum jam aromas and flavours. Some sweet herbs. Rich dry-grained tannins on finish. 16

The Bothie 2014 $18.5 (1/2)
Early picked Muscat de Frontignan, fortified to 13.5%
Pale colour. Slightly green herby scents. A little confected and powdery sugar tasting. 14.5

Les Amis 2006
100 Grenache 100y.o. vines. Tasted at Langmeil Winery
Warm juicy and slightly spicy aromas. Baked red fruits. Warm alcohol, but held by fresh acidity, good spicy mid deep tannins. Soft red fruits, still quite youthful. Warm, long finish. Delicious. 18



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