Friday, July 21, 2017

Torbreck The Struie

Continuing on with Shiraz reviews. The Struie is usually a blend of Barossa and Eden Valley grapes, with the Barossa grapes providing the richness, and the Eden Valley grapes the freshness for the wine. In the excellent 2010 vintage, Torbreck decided to use only Barossa Valley grapes, as they felt there was enough freshness in them. I remember tasting the 2010 Torbreck The Struie on release, and it seemed like an excellent wine then.

What is this wine like today, seven years after picking? The news is not so good. The wine has maintained its dark purple colour, but the freshness - not unexpectedly - has gone. The fruit is dense, with blackberry and fruitcake flavours. The main issue is that the wine is now dominated by alcohol, with a sharp, hot finish. The fruit could take it in 2012, it can't take it now.

Score: 86/-- 


Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas,

I tried this 2-3 months ago and was taken aback by the over the top alcohol that totally dominated, tipped out the remainder.
I had a similar experience with a 2012 Laughing Jack Shiraz from the Barossa again, with a burnt fruitcake quality that I did not detect at Cellar Door but now totally dominates the wine.
As you can imagine this has generated a significant amount of scepticism in my mind when buying Barossa Shiraz in general.
And here I was believing all the up beat talk of the wonderful 2010/12 vintages.
Experiences such as this do nothing to maintain the reputation of the Barossa and only build distrust in a consumers mind.
I just wonder if this may be the new norm for Barossa?

Best wishes

Alontin said...

Hi Colin,

You make good points, as usual.

I find this hard to understand as well. After chasing Parker points, which he generously bestowed on ripe and alcoholic Barossa Shiraz in the 1990s and 2000s, this direction came to a fairly abrupt halt with the 2008 GFC, slashed US imports, and the reduced influence of Robert Parker (the business is now owned by Singaporean interests) at the same time.

However, many Australian consumers enjoy drinking high alcohol wines despite different leanings of our leading wine writers. Also, the Chinese market, which is now very important, enjoys these wines. So, the incentive to change is not that great.

This is quite a balancing act, as, in my opinion, full-bodied South Australian Shiraz, in particular from the Barossa, is a unique wine style in the world, and quite precious.

I will drink some wines from 2010 and 2012 in the next few months (I have mostly single bottles, thankfully), and hopefully the experience will be different from the Struie.

There are certainly a number of winemakers in the Barossa who aim to make less ripe and alcoholic wines. Yalumba has never jumped on the alcohol bandwagon, others are Head, many Spinifex, Langmeil to name a few.

Do not give up hope just yet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Thomas,

Yes I am familiar with Yalumba Signature and I am quite comfortable buying each vintage untasted, yet they do take some years to truly loosen up. A curious bunch at Langmeil, on the several occasions I have visited Barossa they never seem keen in answering any pre trip emails, so I avoid. Perhaps I should persevere?
Thanks for the other recommendations.

Sounds like there could be an addendum to that most informative book "Barossa Shiraz" in the making ?


Colin R