Torbreck masterclass

SF Wine Center

Tasted September 22, 2015 by RajivAyyangar with 336 views

Introduction

A wine class with Scott, one of three Torbreck winemakers. Afterwards several of us stayed, chatting and killing an extra bottle of each wine. Best. Class. Ever.

Overall notes: GSM Blends:
Medium-minus to medium ruby/ruby-red.
Medium plus body, high alcohol (15%), elevated acid, soft tannins.
No oak.
Red fruit and some black fruit.

Overall notes: Shiraz and Shiraz/Viognier:
Medium to medium plus ruby to ruby/purple.
Medium plus to full-bodied, high alcohol (15%), elevated acid, diminished to moderate tannins.
Some new French oak.
Black fruits - jammy and syrupy blackberry.
White pepper and black pepper.
Slight reduction.
Smoked meats.
Age displays as sort of mushroomy - not the sweet tamari savoriness I get in Bdx and CA Cab.

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I tasted without really knowing the price, and greatly enjoyed the wines. Afterwards I was surprised at how high the prices were. While I liked the wines, I didn't have a strong emotional reaction to them - for me they weren't complex enough to justify such a high price tag. They succeeded on intensity, clarity, and quality of fruit.

Wines I was indifferent to (around 8.5):
2013 Cuvee Juveniles ($21)

Wines I liked (between 8.5 and 9):
2011 The Steading GSM ($32)
2012 The Pict Mataro ($82)
2012 Descendant Shiraz Viognier ($95)
2006 Les Amis Grenache (no price - $130 in Australia)
2006 Struie Shiraz ($50)

Wines I liked and thought were objectively of very good quality (scored around 9):
2012 The Factor Shiraz ($98)
2012 RunRig Shiraz ($185)
1999 RunRig Shiraz ($200) (kindly opened by a fellow SF Storage member and attendee)

Flight 1 (10 notes)

Red
2014 Turley Cinsault Bechthold Vineyard USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
@work
Med minus ruby. Slightly confected bright red cherry nose. Very nice. Slight carbonic. Medium acid. Phenolic bitterness. M minus tannins. Elegant and bright fruit. Like a really good cry Beaujolais with slightly less acid and more bitterness.
Red
2013 Torbreck (Cuvée) Juveniles Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
85 points
59% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 19% Mataro (Mourvedre)
Medium minus ruby-red.
Slight reduction - stinky mushroomy/earthy sulfur tones (reduction? young Mourvedre?). Slight black pepper. Not very fruit-deriven. Slight overripe raspberry.
Medium bodied, with elevated alcohol - guessed 14%, actually 15%. Soft tannins. Well made with some cherry on the palate but a very basic wine - not much complexity or fruit presence.

Score: Around 8.5
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2011 Torbreck The Steading Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
87 points
GSM: 56%g 23s 21m
Medium minus ruby-red to a slight garnet rim (slight signs of age).
Pronounced white pepper on the nose, supported by ripe blackberry with some overripe peach/stone-fruit.
Full-bodied, high alcohol (15%), elevated acid, low tannins. No oak influence, but there is a fresh earthiness to this. Not bad for $30.

Score: Between 8.5 and 9.
Red
2012 Torbreck Mataro The Pict Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
88 points
Old Vine Mourvedre. 2 years in 100% new French oak, then a few months in bottle.
Dark fruit - ripe and jammy blackberry, with black cherry and a pronounced oak spice, presenting as gingerbread spice / pfeffernusse. Slight eucalyptus or mint character. I'm taken with this nose - it's so... Christmas excess.
Dark fruit - blackberry, black cherry.
This seemed lighter than the Steading, with medium plus body and elevated alcohol, but actually the alcohol was 15.5%.
Elevated acid - possibly acidified, based on how it stuck out, and seemed slightly bitter/artificial. Very minimal tannins. Balanced, ripe, and delicious, with a polarizing gingerbread character.

Score: Between 8.5 and 9.
Red
2012 Torbreck Descendant Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
88 points
Medium ruby to a ruby rim.
Earthy, mushroomy reductiveness. Slight white pepper. Bright fruit. There's a lightness to it. Almost a peachiness (it would make sense given the Viognier). There's a transparency to the fruit.
Medium plus body, high alcohol (15%), elevated acid (possibly acidified), soft tannins with no phenolic bitterness (basket pressed to avoid bitterness from Viognier).

No cold soak. Viognier stabilizes color - Glycerol? Cofermented.
Score: Between 8.5 and 9.
Red
2012 Torbreck Shiraz The Factor Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
90 points
40% new French oak.

Medium ruby to a ruby rim.
Slight white pepper. Beautiful dark fruit tone here - syrupy blackberry preserves. Slight influence of new oak - a sweetness, slight spice. Super cleanstyle, with intense fruit and only a suggestion of smoked meat.
Full-bodied, elevated alcohol - 14.5% (actually 15%). Elevated acid. Medium tannins. Balanced - full and yet still light. Perfect ripeness for me.

This is damn good juice. Not the most complex, but such good fruit character, and well-balanced.

Score: Around 9.
Red
2006 Torbreck Grenache Les Amis Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
87 points
From a magnum.
Medium minus ruby-red (Grenache is thin-skinned, oxidative, and this has 9 years of age)
There's earth here, a bit of maybe barnyard even. Mushroomy development, slight bruised apple acetaldehyde - very slight.
High alcohol, very clean. Just medium acid. Faint tannins.
Warm jammy red fruit.
Score: between 8.5 and 9.
Red
2006 Torbreck Shiraz The Struie Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
88 points
Blend of barossa and eden valley shiraz. 25% new French oak.
Medium ruby to a red rim - slight signs of development.
Super refined and clean mushroomy development. Slightly in the huitlacoche direction. Bold ripe blackberry jam. And ripe fresh blackberry. Slight meatiness. Very fresh moist turned-earth.
Slight new oak - dark chocolate.
Full-bodied, high alcohol (~15%). Elevated acid. Soft tannins. A bit of an unpleasant Robitussin thing on the finish - menthol/eucalyptus and ripe blackberry and alcohol. Otherwise I dug this.

Score: Between 8.5 and 9.
Red
2012 Torbreck RunRig Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
91 points
100+ year old vines. Blended before bottling with 2% Viognier. They do bench trials at half percents and then decide.
50% new French oak.
Medium plus ruby-purple to a ruby rim.
Tightly wound, tight and dense nose. Blackberry - perfectly ripe and muscular. Slight smoked meat savoriness. White pepper. Unlike rhone there's a tone of super-intense jammy, almost syrupy fruit. But there's so much complexity here as well. Sweet vanillin toast - well-integrated French oak. A hint of menthol/eucalyptus.
Medium plus body, high alcohol - 15%. Elevated acid, and medium tannins. Persistent, concentrated, and refined.

This is really good - not the most complex, but the fruit character is so friggen good. I liked this the most out of the flight, and just as a confirmation, I picked it out of the 8 wines blind at the end (Based on concentration of fruit, color, clarity of pepper, oak integration, smoked meat, fruit, and slight reduction, structure).

Score: Around 9.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1999 Torbreck RunRig Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
90 points
(kindly opened by a fellow SF Storage member and attendee).
Medium ruby, garnet rim.
Sweet bruised apple (very slight) and clean huitlacoche development.
Jammy blackberry fruit, slight black pepper, slight reduction.
Savory and sweet flavors with medium plus body, well-contained (probably high) alcohol, elevated acid, and soft tannins.
This definitely has some complexity and secondaries, but also has some very primary fruit. I don't know if I prefer this with age. I definitely liked the 2012 RR better.

Score: Around 9.
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