2017 Torbreck The Laird Shiraz
In Scottish terminology, ‘The Laird’ refers to the Lord of the Manor. This single vineyard Shiraz comes from an old vineyard in Marananga planted in 1958, a plot which remains the focus of envy amongst many of the region's winemakers. Previously owned and operated by the legendary Malcolm Seppelt, the vineyard was purchased by Torbreck in 2014 and is perfectly sited with the dry grown, original Barossa clone vines facing south east. 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 split in the French tradition and twice as thick as machine split 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.
Deeply saturated inky black heart with an impenetrable black dark red hue. Hypnotising aromas of ripe blackberry, dark plum, liquorice and mocha astound the olfactory senses with their sheer intensity out of the glass. Notions of toasty vanillin oak, subtle earth, fennel and pepper then ensue. On the palate there’s incredibly density and an out of this world level of richness and concentration with decadent blackberry, dark plum, liquorice and black cherry fruits drenching every corner of the mouth. Toasty vanillin oak, dark chocolate, earth, shades of boot polish, spicy fennel and blackpepper characters shine through on the back half. Surreal power with a dynamic tannin structure that’s both sturdy and velvet like at the same time. Concludes with an epically long finish.
Drink over the next 10-15 years.
100% shiraz sourced from the Gnadenfrei vineyard in Marananga, aged for 36 months in French oak 'magic casks' from Dominique Laurent. The Spinal Tap effect is in full force here, with everything turned up to eleven. Impenetrable purple red in the glass, showing characters of head-spinning purity and heft; black plum, blackberry and prune notes mesh with shades of deep, exotic spice, Dutch blackstrap licorice, creme de cassis, roasting meats, espresso, graphite, cedar and polished mahogany. Profound fruit depth and purity with melt-in-the-mouth, mineral-edged tannins and a finish that carries long and proud with a solid rush of black plum and cherry compote, spice and chocolate. If you are after a powerful shiraz with finesse, this is your benchmark. Drink by 2046.
Dave Brookes – James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion
I poured the 2017 The Laird, set it aside and got about doing other jobs for 45 minutes or so, to give it some room to breathe. And it does breathe. It has its own pulse and beat and life, and it flexes and moves in the mouth. This is incredibly enveloping, with aromas reminiscent of campfire coals, charred eucalyptus, lamb fat, roasted beetroot, black tea and a prowling sort of countenance. In the mouth, the wine is bonded and cohesive and seamless, there are no gaps between anything, no space between fruit, oak and tannin; it all comes as one. While this is a singular wine, it is so big and concentrated that it needs no accompaniment other than some fresh air and a good mate. It's denser than osmium and is impenetrable at this stage. Drink 2022-2042.
Erin Larkin - Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate