Since 1994 Torbreck has been committed to producing exceptional Rhone-style red and white wines reflecting the best vineyards in the famous Barossa Valley.
There is a European sense of tradition at Torbreck that means vines planted in the 1840s – many of them Rhone varieties such as shiraz, grenache, mourvèdre – still thrive and bear fruit of unique concentration and flavour.
Minimal intervention creates wines of richness, structure and length, made to age gracefully.
Flagship of the Torbreck stable – the RunRig Shiraz – has been elevated to ‘Exceptional’ status in Langton’s Fine Wine Classification.
Famous for rich concentration and opulent power, the RunRig is as popular overseas as it is at home. It’s not cheap at $309.99 a bottle, but perhaps one to place in the cellar and forget about for 10 or so years.
A more affordable Torbreck offering is the 2020 Woodcutter’s Shiraz ($29.99). This wine reflects the up-and-coming Shiraz vineyards of the Barossa, rather than the battle-hardened old vines that make up the core of Torbreck’s other cuvées.
Although this wine is often praised for its succulence and richness, there is also a complexity and richness not often found at this price.
We all know New Zealand’s Marlborough region is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, but how much do we know about the lesser-known wine-growing area of Martinborough?
Martinborough is about 55km northeast of the capital Wellington and is one of the three main sub-regions of the greater Wairarapa wine region.
It is home to around 30 wineries, most of which are family-owned. Martinborough is considered by many as the home of Pinot Noir.
One Martinborough winery producing some exceptional pinot noirs is Escarpment, which incidentally, was bought in 2019 by Torbreck Vintners.
The Escarpment Pinot Noir ($57.99) is overflowing with perfumed black, red and green fruit flavours that are all in harmony with the mid-weighted palate.
The Kiwa by Escarpment ($79.99) has intense aromas showing dark cherries, dried herbs and lifted florals. The palate shows fleshy dark cherry fruitiness balanced by tight acidity, fine, dry tannins and a long finish.
The single vintage Kupe Pinot Noir ($104.99) is made entirely from Escarpment’s home block first planted in 1999. The season was warm and drier than normal for this block. It has created fruit harvested in brilliant condition, giving ripe flavours and soft tannins. Fermented in wooden French cuvees, hand plunged and aged in 50% new French oak barriques for 18 months.
Forest-Marié Champagne, hailing from the French village of Trigny, has hit the shelves at our Portside store and online.
Thierry Forest is an unassuming but serious wine-grower who has a reputation for making authentic and forceful champagnes. He prefers to age his wines much longer than is the norm before release. Average age of the Forest-Marié vines is 40 years and all grapes are harvested by hand.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Her drink of choice was gin, and what better way to salute Her Majesty than by filling our glasses with her favourite tipple.
Native to Tibet, China and Japan, yuzu is a citrus fruit with amazing aromatics that are a mix of lemon, mandarin, cumquat and grapefruit.
Learning from their Japanese friends, Four Pillars has used ginger, turmeric and sencha genmaicha – a Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice – for depth of flavour.
The Kyoto dry gin Ki No Tea ($112.99) is a Japanese green tea expression. It has been created in collaboration with ancient tea grower and blender Hori-Shichimeien. Some premium teas form the heart of Ki No Tea, providing intense aromas and depth of flavour.
On the palate there is a gentle sweetness, then distinct juniper comes to the fore alongside green tea.
If you really want to pay homage to the United Kingdom, why not try the Hendrick’s Neptunia Gin ($90.99)
This limited edition released in March is inspired by a partnership with Project Seagrass, an environmental charity devoted to the conservation of seagrass ecosystems.
Hendrick’s Neptunia is based on the classic Hendrick’s house style with “an enticing chorus of deeply refreshing Scottish coastal botanicals and combines a smooth, bright citrus finish with a deliciously distant sea breeze’’.