Tag Archives: Torbreck

Wine of the week: Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon 2010


Torbreck Woodcutter'sThe Torbreck Woodcutter’s ($15, purchased, 14%) is more than just a steal at this price. It’s an example of how wine ages, and why you should sometimes buy a wine to age, even if you think aging is too wine geeky for you.

I first tasted this Australian white, made with semillon, two years ago, part of a group of samples. I liked it, but it wasn’t anything special, according to my notes: “Intriguing wine that had some richness not unlike chardonnay, but without any chardonnay fruit. Just some pepper and a little apricot or peach.”

Last month, when I needed a bottle to pair with pork shoulder braised with Mediterranean spices and chickpeas, what did my pal James McFadyen recommend? The Torbreck Woodcutter’s, and he couldn’t have been more spot on. The difference, as the wine become more complex from aging, was impressive.

The fruit had evolved into an almost honeyed apricot, close to the fig that you’ll find in the textbook definition of semillon. “Some richness” had turned into a rich and full mouth feel, and it didn’t taste like chardonnay at all. Through all of this, the Torbreck Woodcutter’s was bone dry, and with an almost chalky finish. I couldn’t believe the transformation, and the wine was delicious.

Highly recommended, and another reason why wine is about trying as many different kinds as possible. Otherwise, you’ll miss a treat like this.

Expensive wine 56: Torbreck The Steading 2009


steadingOne of the surprises when I wrote this year’s holiday wine trends post was the resurgence in Australian wine. The Aussies have been down for so long, and seemed to have so far to go to come back, that it was one of the last things that I expected.

Yet, on reflection, I’ve seen evidence of that over the past year, on both the low (Yalumba’s $10 wines) and high ends (the d’Arenberg Dead Arm). These are wines that acknowledge the excesses of the past but have found a way to make Australian wine that tastes not like someone thinks it should, but as it should, given the terroir the country’s winemakers have to work with.

The most recent example is The Steading ($38, sample, 15%), a shiraz that mostly lives up to the hype on the winery website: “The Steading is perhaps the most important wine within the Torbreck portfolio. …” It’s powerful, but not offensively so, as was the style in the past when 15 percent shirazes didn’t care what they tasted like as long as they were 15 percent shirazes.

It’s a dark, earthy and peppery wine, and thorougly intriguing. Missing was the blast of black fruit that I expected, but it was still fruity (blackberry?), as a wine of this kind should be. And, though the label says 15 percent alcohol, it didn’t taste like it. This is a a big wine that needs food, and would not be out of place at most holiday tables.

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