Yesterday the Wine Advocate released its newest issue and Torbreck performed brilliantly. Their two most high profile wines, The Laird and RunRig stole the show. The Laird 2012 was awarded a perfect 100 point score, a stunning prospect for investment or future drinking priced at £1,285 per case of three bottles. This makes it the finest wine from South Australia in 2012, besting Penfolds Grange. Lisa Perrotti-Brown of the Wine Advocate backs up the perfect score by saying ‘The Laird is one of those wines you could just go on smelling all day…The finish seems to go on forever—and this is exactly what you want it to do. Stunning.’ Torbreck RunRig 2014 has been awarded a superb 97+ points. Perrotti-Brown describes it as ‘oh, so satisfying, the beauty ticks all the great Barossa Shiraz boxes and then some.’ Torbreck RunRig has a global reputation for stunning power and complexity and for ageing brilliantly. It also reflects excellent value for a 97+ Wine Advocate scoring wine at £790 per case of six.
Torbreck was established in 1994 by David Powell, who is a legendary winemaker and ‘bad boy’ of Barossa. He founded it after leaving Rockford Estate, with the vision of utilising Barossa’s extremely old vines and working tirelessly to produce a world beating wine. This was achieved, his wine received several perfect scores and is now considered on par with Penfolds Grange. He sold the company in polemical fashion to Quivira Vineyards, owned by Billionaire Pete Kights and left the Estate completely in 2013, the 2012 Laird therefore is the last vestige of his legacy, which makes it special. Pete Kights, who founded and sold Checkfree is not focused on driving investment and Trobreck forward after the acrimonious split. Powell originally named the Estate after a forest situated south of Inverness in the highlands of Scotland.
Powell used French winemaking techniques and applied them to Barossa, without trying to make a French style wine, just maximising the potential of the land. The wines are dry-grown, coming from vines that are between 100 and 165 years old. They have always been tended and harvested by hand. They emulate the great wines of the Rhone Valley and RunRig, which saw its first vintage in 1995, released in 1997, is a blend of Shiraz and Viognier, very much in the style of Cote Rotie. It was received with incredible applause by critics, combining power, intensity and finesse, masterfully overseen by Senior Winemaker Craig Isbel. RunRig has seen an unprecedented string of exceptional scores from the Wine Advocate, never scoring less than 95 points since 1995, with seven 99 point scores and one 100, the 2010.
Powell lacked sufficient funds to buy grapes outright, when he was first inspired to create his own label; his solution ended up defining Torbreck. He began to share-farm a vineyard, which involves working without pay until grapes are sold, when the owner is paid a percentage of the market rate for grapes, while the share-famer keeps a percentage of grapes for their own use. The share-farming principle led Powell to source the best fruits form the finest vineyards in the Barossa Valley, while giving him the experience necessary to maximise the potential of very old vines. In 1995, Powell crushed three tonnes of grapes and fermented them in a shed on his 12 hectare Marananga property, where the winery persists today.
The Laird is a single vineyard, sourced from Malcolm Seppelt’s Gnadenfrei vineyard between Marananga and Seppeltsfield. It was planted in 1958 and the small five acre Estate is considered to be one of the greatest vineyards in the Barossa. The wine is hand-harvested and gently de-stemmed into wooden and concrete open top fermenters. After being basket pressed into stainless steel until primary fermentation is completed, the wine is moved into French oak barriques from Burgundian winemaker Dominique Laurent. These are special indeed, crafted from wood harvested from Forêt de Tronçais in Allier, the oak trunks are twice split by hand, which produces staves twice as thick as traditional machine pressed staves. These staves are aged for 48 to 54 months before being crafted as barrels. The Laird spends 36 months in barrel in a temperature controlled stone shed then bottled unfined and unfiltered. The first vintage debuted in 2005 and was awarded 100 points and was the most expensive bottle of wine ever released in Australia. In Scotland, the lord of the manor is called ‘The Laird’.
Torbreck is popular throughout the world and especially so in Asia. However, they only produce 400 cases of each and in 2014 RunRig’s production was significantly reduced. Needless to say, the perfect 100 point The Laird 2012 and the stunning Runrig 2014 will sell out quickly.
In addition to the 2014 release of RunRig, we can also offer cases of the 2009, which was awarded 99 points. We have secured a small parcel of this which we can offer at £750 per case of six, which represents incredible value at a 10% discount to market today. We have released the 2009 from bond and it is available for immediate delivery.
Torbreck RunRig 2014 , 6×75 – £790 IB, 1×300 – £625 IB
97+ Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Run Rig opens with a bang, delivering intense fruits of the forest and blackberry preserve notes with hints of sandalwood, cardamom, dried Provence herbs, Indian spices and garrigue. Full-bodied, rich, concentrated and oh, so satisfying, the beauty ticks all the great Barossa Shiraz boxes and then some. It is still relatively primary, so I’d recommend giving it another 2-3 years at least in bottle and drink it over the next 20+.
Torbreck The Laird 2012, 3×75 – £1,285 IB
100 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
Deep garnet colored with a touch of remaining purple at the rim, the 2012 The Laird is one of those wines you could just go on smelling all day. It opens with a complex perfume of kirsch, dried mulberries, blackberry tart and spice cake over cloves, mocha, dusty earth, incense, star anise, yeast extract and aged beef. The full-bodied palate is drop-dead seductive, unfurling in the mouth to reveal exotic spice, meat, earth and berry preserves layers, supported by firm, velvety tannins and seamless acid. The finish seems to go on forever—and this is exactly what you want it to do. Stunning.
Torbreck RunRig 2009, 6×75 – £750 DP
99 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2009 RunRig opens with wonderful perfume, and though this label usually contains a splash of Viognier, which could account for the fragrant nose, it has none this vintage. Redolent of violets and blueberries it is very spicy with an undercurrent of anise and Indian spices muddled with mulberries. Taut and elegant on the palate, it gives plenty of concentrated fruit flavor with crisp acid and firm, fine tannins. It finishes long. Drink it from 2016 to 2030+.