WINE TALK: Marco to Down Under and back
This week, let's take a trip to Australia, and to one of my favorite wineries in Barossa Valley, Torbreck.
The 2012 Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz is amazing and consistent vintage after vintage. It was founded by David Powell in 1994. The roots go back to 1992 when David, who was then working at Rockford, began to discover and clean up a few sections of dry-grown old vines. With their condition near lifeless, he nurtured them back to health and was rewarded with small parcels of fruit that he made into wine.
He was able to secure a contract for the supply of grapes from a run-down, but ancient Shiraz vineyard. He managed to raise enough money to share-farm the vineyard, a practice which involves paying the owner a percentage of the market rate for his grapes in return for totally managing the vineyard. The share-farming principle has enabled Torbreck to use fruit from the very best vineyards in the Barossa Valley, which is home to some of the most precious old vines in the world.
In 1995, David crushed three tons of grapes and fermented them into wine in a shed on his 12-hectare Marananga property. He named his wine "Torbreck" after a forest in Scotland where he'd worked as a lumberjack. The Torbreck endeavor is based around the classic Barossa Valley varietals of Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro, and a love for the wines of France's Rhone Valley. Torbreck doesn't only make red wines though, they have Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane planted on the winery block which they have blended to make white wine.
In July 2002, the historic Hillside property was acquired by Torbreck. Situated in Lyndoch, it is one of the original Barossa properties. Vast and picturesque, it contains some magnificent old and ancient vineyard that will further their source of premium quality fruit. The Hillside property contains a wonderful native ecosystem that supports a myriad of flora and fauna.
Plans are underway to restore Hillside to its former glory and create wines to reflect the history and significance of this grand old property.
In June 2003 at the finish of vintage, they opened their cellar-door for sales. An original settlers hut, it has been lovingly restored and provides a personal touch and some Barossa warmth while you taste their wines.
A new winery and administration facility was completed in 2008 on land acquired from a next door neighbor. This enables their grapes to be made into wine using the best available equipment and then bottled 'on the estate' using their own bottling line. They now have complete control aspects of production that sees a new benchmark of wine quality established by them in the Barossa Valley.
In 2008, Torbreck Vintners was acquired by Pete Kight. Pete has wine interests in both U.S. and Australia, and is committed to ensuring the ongoing excellence of Torbreck wines. He truly believes that their best wines are yet to come.
Torbreck 2012 Shiraz has earthy, decadent flavors with distinctive notes to the dark berry flavors in this savory style of Shiraz. The wine is on the chop239 wine list for $16 a glass and $64 a bottle, and would pair up nicely with chop239 baby lamb chops. Enjoy and Salute.
Marco Porto is owner of chop239 at the Esplanade, and is a wine connoisseur. Along with Adamo Serravalle of DaVinci's and Marco Prime, and Laura Owen of CJ's on the Bay, he is a regular contributor to this column.