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2008 Torbreck The Laird Shiraz
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- Cellar 10 - 15 years (2023-2028)
- ABV 15%
- Closure: Cork
The fruit for this extraordinary wine is sourced from the small five acre Gnadenfrei vineyard planted in 1958, a plot which remains the focus of envy amongst many of the region's winemakers. Owned and operated by the legendary Malcolm Seppelt, it is perfectly sited with the dry grown, original Barossa clones south east facing. The berries are typically small and concentrated and usually harvested in two separate passes.
The French oak selected for the maturation of this wine is considered to be some of the finest in the world. Referred to as Dominique Laurent's 'Magic Casks', the wood is selected from the incredibly tiny and highly prized Troncais forest. The staves are hand spilt in the French tradition and twice as thick as machine spilt staves. As a result of the extra thickness the barrels are able to sustain an extended maturation process due to the tighter porosity that comes with the extra wood.
Maturation took place in the new hand crafted French oak barriques for a period of 36 months. The barrels were stored in their own temperature controlled, ancient stone shed. In short, no expense has been spared.
For anyone wondering if the Laird's record setting price tag is just an exercise in one-upmanship, then let us add - we attended a comparative tasting several years ago where Torbreck's Laird (2006) was benchmarked against the world's greats, including Montrose, Vega Sicilia Unico, J.L. Chave, La Landonne, Grange and Henschke.
The Laird stood tall.
The 2008 release is of the same greatness and represents a vinous benchmark, stretching the definitions of iconic Shiraz to levels rarely attained in our winemaking history.
Tasting note: The wine pours a spectacular, super saturated inky black colour with dark purple black hue showing paint like cling to the sides of the glass. Explosive aromatics deliver one of the most intense sniffing experiences one could imagine in a wine. A dazzling array of ripe blackberry, liquorice, black plum and dark chocolate aromas intermix with a vanillin oak and mocha overlay, sending the olfactory senses into overdrive. Large scaled and opulent, it offers an outrageous level of richness, with decadent, concentrated flavours of ripe blackberry, dark chocolate and liquorice fully encompassing every corner of the palate along with nuances of mocha, vanillin oak and spice around the edges. Liqueur like texture with a silky, polished tannin structure, it finishes super long, with an exceptionally persistent aftertaste of ripe blackberry, dark chocolate, liquorice, mocha and vanillin oak. An out of this world vinous experience, this confirms Torbreck as a plausible nemesis of Penfolds Grange. Cellaring for 10-15 years is conceivable, however, this is immensely pleasurable now.
Other reviews... Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2008 The Laird is a little restrained to begin, opening out after a few moments and much coaxing to an extraordinary array of creme de cassis and black plum-based aromas with underlying chocolate box, licorice, exotic spice, oolong tea and clove hints with a touch of earthy loam. Richly textured, dense and with a provocative meaty/earthy/savory, the palate is complex and layered revealing menthol and ripe black fruit notes interplaying with firm, velvety tannins through to a very long, opulent and harmonious finish. Drink it from 2015 to 2030+.
100 points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown - Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate size>