Monday, March 9, 2020

Torbreck New Releases

It is good to have a first look at the 2018 vintage at Torbreck. I therefore focus on the red wines. The first is the 2018 The Steading. There has been a change in style. Shiraz is now the largest component in this GSM. The winemaker tells me that Shiraz is still the consumers’ favourite; so there. The wine has been matured in French foudres. There is now more fruit weight in this wine, and the alcohol is high at 15%. I am not convinced the style change makes this a better wine (91 points).

The new foudres at Torbreck

I then taste a relatively new wine, the 2018 Harris Grenache. It comes from an east facing block (no late afternoon sun) in Marananga. I drove past this vineyard. The vines are low sitting bush vines, maybe 30-70 years old. The wine is also matured in the foudres shown above. The fruit concentration is good. There is power and vibrancy in this wine, showing the strength of the 2018 vintage. The ironstone soil contributes for the savoury flavours to remain strong along the palate. This wine is both fresh and serious at the same time: an absolute winner (93 points).

We went on to the 2017 Les Amis, to complete the Grenache set. 2017 was a cooler vintage. This has served this normally super concentrated wine from very low yielding 110 year old bush vines well. There is some lightness in this very smooth wine, where the silky tannins shine on the finish (96 points).

The two Mataro wines are first the 2018 Kyloe Mataro. This wine comes from Moppa and Ebenezer. It is a savoury and meaty wine, brooding, with chunky firm tannins. It would not be everybody’s cup of tea, but is a good expression of Mataro (92 points). The premium Mataro, the 2017 Pict, comes from the Materne vineyard in Greenock. There is a bit more fruit weight here with very firm tannins (93 points).

The main Torbreck focus, though, is Shiraz. The 2018 Struie is an excellent wine. The Eden Valley component at 25% is a bit less than normal, due to frost. With blackberry fruit at its core, this wine has good complexity with mulberry flavours and mocca in its mix. This is a smooth wine with depth and a firm, balanced structure (95 points).

I compared this with two much more expensive wines from 2017. The 2017 Factor is red and black fruited, a bit saline, and not as big as the Struie. It finishes tight (93 points). The 2017 Descendant, which includes 8% Viognier by weight, but only 2% by volume is quite smooth, but lacks a bit of fruit weight, with the fruit quite dry (93 points).

The final wine is the 2015 RunRig. 2016 is sold out and 2017 not yet released. As usual, it comes from six vineyards across the Barossa, with the southern vineyards on sandy soil contributing lushness, and the northern vineyards power and tannins. This is quite a good wine, with dark fruit intensity. The wine is very ripe, as usual, but also elegant, with a long finish (95 points).

This was an interesting tasting. The 2018 vintage shows very strongly in the mid priced wines. In Shiraz, it clearly beats 2017. It will be interesting to see, if the 2018 ultra premiums will be too over the top for this reviewer.

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