INSIDER'S PICK: 2016 TORBRECK VINTNERS WOODCUTTER'S SHIRAZ BAROSSA VALLEY $24.99
Lost in the over-saturation of the Australian wine market with cutsie names and 'critter labels' were a lot of wineries with great identity and a respect for the older vineyards that are Australia's heritage. Torbreck is very much one of those wineries, build over time by a vineyard manager cobbling together great properties until his own label was possible nearly 25 years ago. Since then the winery has grown from leasing many of these properties to owning them outright, becoming custodians for some of the Barossa's most important vineyards. Their mission is very similar to some of our favorite Californian wineries, like Bedrock Wine Co., who preserve the ancient Zinfandel and 'field blend' vineyards across the state. The history of the site is an important part of the wine made, knowing who owned the vines and tended to them over multiple generations.
The Woodcutter's series is their value line of red and white wine, built from a selection younger sites and replanted parcels, but is no less serious than the rest of their lineup. Deep and dark in color, the aromatics are intensive but not sappy and sugary as lesser Aussie wines often can get, full of currants and black fruits as well as dark savory spices and hints of cured meats. The palate is equally intensive, but contains elements often lost in Shiraz: acidity, subtlety, even a brightness to the texture. The dark meaty flavors fill the mouth but don't stick to it like a syrup. While definitely richer than a Crozes-Hermitage, this is a wine that definitely takes great inspiration from those wines and doesn't loose the character of the grape in the desire to 'super-size' the fruit or alcohol. This wine also has a history of aging/evolving several years or more with ease, something we would almost never recommend for an Aussie at this range.
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