This smoky Grenache saw 2 years in French oak, bringing a bold wood influence to the spiced-berry pastry notes and old vine complexity. Earthy, juicy, and creamy with loads of spice and plenty of structure, this would be a power-move of a pairing with some killer barbecue.
The story of Torbreck could be titled; "Lumberjack revives forgotten vineyard, discovers grapes are out of this world good." It's the kind of idea that is genius in its simplicity, and yet when someone comes up with it, you wish you'd had the idea first. David Powell was working at Rockford (another amazing Aussie winery) in the 1990s when he saw a few parcels of neglected vines that needed some TLC. His rehabilitation efforts yielded some grapes that he turned into a little bit of wine. The juice was good, real good in fact and soon he was contracting to purchase the fruit. Other nearby land owners saw what Powell was doing (turning non-impressive vines into perennial performers), and they too invited in the "vine whisperer" to check out some of their vineyards in need of attention. In no time, David was trading his efforts in return for the right to "share farm" some of Barossa's most prized ancient-vine vineyards. Torbreck grew quickly, and Craig Isbel was brought in to run the cellar in 2006. He's since taken on the roll of winemaker, while David departed in search of his next big adventure. These days the T's have been crossed and the I's have been dotted - all the pieces in the right places, and we can't argue with the results.
David Slade’s grenache in Greenock delivers smaller berries and bunches. This has been elevaged in French oak barriques for 24 months. Pomegranate and spiced berry-pastry aromas, together with earthy, leathery and spicy character. The cooler vintage has delivered quite complex style. The palate has a very juicy feel with a bolder oak thread and quite a chiseled palate for grenache. Plenty of structure here. Drink or hold.WE90
Torbreck's ultrapolished, approachable style is on display here, but those who spurn new oak influence will run a mile. Made with French barrique (50% new), there's so much of it that it's currently blanketing the wine, giving it a coat of sweet vanilla cola. Hiding beneath are lovely, ripe black and blue fruit, flowers and spice. The palate shows more fruit purity, a silky texture and a fine tannin structure. The oak still dominates, though, and a flash of heat from the alcohol is visible, too. Give this another few years in bottle; the cellaring potential is there.WA93
No Les Amis was bottled in 2016, so the successor to the 2015 is the 2017 Les Amis Grenache, a wine that spent two years in 50% new barriques. It's smoky (like a barbecue pit), boasting lots of dried spices (akin to a dry rub) and cola. (What else would you pair with barbecue?) It's full-bodied and creamy, with some cherry-berry notes (so maybe it's Dr. Pepper, not cola), but the wood is a bit too dominant to make me truly swoon, adding dry tannins on the finish.