Fresh from Torbreck

Shortly after posting my last blog, I packed my bag, grabbed my notepad and boarded a plane bound for the beautiful Barossa Valley. I was fortunate to have received an invitation to visit Torbreck Vintners where I was to be immersed in a whirlwind of masterclasses, barrel tastings and vineyard tours.

La Vigna has followed Torbreck wines for the past ten years, since their first vintages hit the market. From that time, Torbreck has kept true to its identity; unmoved by fads and confident in the consistent quality of their wines. These wines are certainly not to be taken lightly. They are generally big, rich, red and chewy; the type of wine that can be considered a meal in itself. Consistently recognised at wine shows, Torbreck wines are one of the most well awarded brands in the country.

I have always admired Torbreck for directing resources and attention towards the development of their product, rather than trying to reinvent it. Torbreck Vintners now handle every step of wine production from grape to bottle, on premises and have developed rock-solid relationships with their growers. They know what works in certain locations and their products are testament to their focused attention to detail.

The Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro of Torbreck have consequently maintained popularity, but there were also those that resisted the image of `big, red wines’. I for one, tend to prefer light, aromatic reds rather than strong, bold, brooding varieties and while I was delighted to reacquaint with Torbreck Vintners, I did not anticipate any surprises…

On Sunday April 10, after a morning of barrel tasting with winemakers and exploring picture perfect vineyards I settled down to lunch in the charming gardens outside the cellar door. It was during this scrumptious meal that I lifted my glass and tasted a new delight!

Grenache Phillipou; fragrant and spicy, light and aromatic.  Like ‘Oh’ from Home, or ‘Timone’ from The Lion King, Phillipou is a unique and creative personality amongst staid and sensible company. Lifted on the nose and delightful to the palate, Phillipou is a credit to its grower and a genuine surprise to those familiar with Torbreck wines. After returning to Perth, I asked a few people to taste the Phillipou and found even the most seasoned of tasters surprised at its origins.

Reflecting on my trip, I would say that although I was pleasantly surprised to come across something new, I was also able to look past my perception of Torbreck as ‘big, red wines’ and appreciate producer and quality. I will definitely be making Grenache Phillipou one of my regular indulgences and have even found myself reconsidering the more traditional Torbrecks.

If it has been a while since you tried Torbreck, perhaps it’s time to reacquaint. As always, you will find an array of lovely examples on the shelves at La Vigna and if you would like to try the Phillipou, I would be delighted to introduce you.

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