Torbreck Latest Releases

I admit to having something of a love-hate relationship with Torbreck wines. They are expensive, and often taste overripe, over-oaked, over-developed, clumsy and lacking charm.

But they’re like the little girl in the children’s rhyme who “When she was good she was very very good, and when she was bad she was horrid”. The 2012s that I’ve seen to date are a cut above, and my picks of the latest crop of releases are The Struie (tasting) and The Gask (tasting).

They have freshness, fruit and vibrancy as well as the trademark Torbreck power and concentration. Perhaps Eden Valley is a clue: The Struie is an Eden/Barossa blend; The Gask 100% Eden Valley. And both are now under screwcaps, which are gradually infiltrating the Torbreck range, having started at the cheapest end and gradually working their way up the hierarchy. I expect The Laird (tastings), RunRig (2010 tasting) and Descendant (2010 tasting) will stay under cork, and in the distinctive flange-lipped bottle, for a while yet.

While on the subject of Torbreck, I’ve long admired the dry whites they make from Rhone Valley varieties, which in recent times have been positioned at two price-levels under The Steading (about $40) (tasting) and Woodcutters ($23) (tastings) labels. The 2012 Woodcutters Roussane, Viognier, Marsanne (tasting) is a fine example.

A few others in the Barossa are making lovely wines by blending some or all of these varieties, but it’s been very slow coming. The Barossa is arguably much better suited to the Rhone grapes than some of the other whites it’s been growing since Adam was a boy. Spinifex’s Lola (tastings) – with five varieties – is a prime example. There should be more, and they should be making more noise about them. 

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