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This single vineyard wine, located next to our winery block on Roennfeldt Road, was planted in 1994 with cuttings off old RunRig vineyards - some of the oldest genetic material in Australia. The Barossa's first co-fermented Shiraz/Viognier, Descendant has been joined by many more in the last couple of years - a testament to its success.
Shiraz is crushed straight on top of Viognier, which has been lightly pressed for RunRig. The blend of fruit is then co-fermented and later the wine is matured for 18 months in barrels that had been previously used for RunRig.
The deep red clay soils in this vineyard produce fruit which is very savory, textured and rich, a satin-like texture and a glorious perfume. Of all the Torbreck releases this is one that really needs patience. Its immediate charm can be enjoyed upon release with a few hours breathing, but after the first 6 months, the rest should be locked away for at least 5 years.
Formed in 1994 in the historical hamlet of Marananga, Torbreck has quickly become one of the Barossa Valley’s leading wine producers. Since those first wines were released, they have attracted universal acclaim and are now highly prized by wine connoisseurs from around the world. Yet, Torbreck is still a privately owned and operated company, following the philosophy, direction and the passionate beliefs of the Founder Winemaker David Powell. Accordingly, this is more than just a story about producing fine wine. For this also illustrates how a unique relationship between a region’s heritage and its old vineyards can be reinvigorated by one person’s vision and enthusiasm.
It was in the early 1990’s that the idea of ‘Torbreck’ started to take shape. Initially, David was saddened by the government sponsored ‘Vine Pull’, but he was also convinced a market existed for old vine Rhone styles and he set about approaching local landowners concerning their neglected properties. Nearly lifeless and overgrown, he nurtured these old vines back to health and was rewarded with a few small parcels of dry grown fruit, which he turned into wine. Contracts were then negotiated for the use of these vineyards, and so the old practice of share farming returned to the Valley. This secured for Torbreck a regular supply of the best Barossa Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvedre) vineyards containing some of the oldest vines in the world.
As the fruits of the first vintages lay in barrel, David realized that the Valley could have overlooked the suitability of the French white Rhone varieties. Consequently in 1994, 30 acres of land in Marananga was purchased for the sole purpose of planting, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier and Shiraz, whilst other acquisitions included a one hundred year old vineyard that had been previously share farmed.
In 1995, three tons of grapes were crushed in an old milling shed on Dave’s 12-hectare Marananga property and fermented into the first vintage of “Torbreck”. David named the winery after a forest in Scotland where he had once worked as a woodcutter.
By the end of 1999, Torbreck had access to more than 250 acres of prime vineyard in the Barossa Valley.
The full range of Torbreck wines are both expressions of the Barossa finest and oldest vines and the Rhone orientated philosophy that has so captivated David Powell. The gentle handling and crafting of the wines in the cellar and the intensely rich flavors that emanate from these dry grown Barossa old vines are the hallmarks for which Torbreck has become known.
David’s philosophy is the culmination of his experiences and the belief that “by sourcing great quality fruit, you encapsulate the character of the vine”. This philosophy forms the backbone of Torbreck’s non-interventionist winemaking style, where the goal is to keep the wine clean and balanced between rich, ripe fruit and a subtle, harmonious use of oak.
Torbreck wines respect the soil, the old vines, the climate and the heritage of the Barossa Valley in South Australia. The majority of our vines are between 50 – 125 years old, with our oldest vineyards between 140-153 years old.