Torbreck Library Wines


Dave Powell is a legendary Barossa winemaker. I have not seen the former lumberjack for a long time but remember him as a force of nature with enough energy to supply the entire Barossa. Powell founded Torbreck Vintners back in 1994, but then lost financial control of the winery and ended up acrimoniously parting ways with its new owner in 2013, with Craig Isbel taking over winemaking duties. I used to regularly taste Torbreck’s new releases and was given the opportunity to taste mature bottles at a recent portfolio tasting by their UK importer, J.E. Fells & Co. I was intrigued to see how these fêted wines are maturing.

The 2010 The Laird comes from vines first planted back in 1958 on a southwest-facing slope in the Barossa. This magnum has a marvellous bouquet with ripe dark cherries, menthol, blood oranges and mint and is well-defined and quite youthful. Subtle pine notes emerge with time. The palate is ripe on the entry, medium-bodied with white pepper and sage and finely balanced with an attractive melted quality on the finish. Given the larger format, I wondered whether 75cl bottles would show more evolution. As such, based on this, I would be opening the cork now. 93/Drink 2022-2032. 

Maybe this will upset a few fans, but I found the 2014 Runrig disappointing. It has quite a high-toned bouquet with wild strawberry, kirsch, blood orange and wild mint. Perfumed, it becomes floral with time but is missing the energy conveyed by the 2010 The Laird. The palate is medium-bodied with fine acidity. More linear and tighter than expected, it opens in the glass with white pepper-infused red fruit on the finish. Not as decadent or as vigorous as expected, despite allowing 15 minutes for it to open, this Runrig left me feeling short-changed. 88/Drink 2022-2026.

The 2006 Descendant, a blend of 92% Shiraz and 8% Viognier, has a melted chocolate-tinged bouquet, mulberry, mint, stewed fig and traces of Medjool dates. The palate is incredibly medicinal with strong eucalyptus notes suffusing the soft red fruit with a touch of white pepper on the finish. Drinking perfectly now, this has more pleasure than the 2014 Runrig by direct comparison. 90/Drink 2022-2030.

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