Region: Barossa Valley, SA
First Glance: Iconic, collectable Barossa Valley Shiraz
Acclaim: 99 points
The Laird has been the rare top bottling for Torbreck since its inaugural vintage in 2005, after former Torbreck proprietor Dave Powell initially vinified the fruit from the old dry-farmed Gnadenfrei vineyard in Marananga first in 2003, for the iconic Seppelt family owners. In fact, Torbreck bought the vineyard for themselves in 2013, and now have total control over this hallowed site.
The wine is only made in exceptional vintages, and so is of rare ilk, and the 2018 release combines the power of the vintage with a freshness and definition of fruit, as well as poised structure for longevity. The quality of fruit and the small and intensely flavoured grapes from the site, is caused in part by the pristine old-vine material planted in 1958, and part thanks to the heavy red clay and loam soils of the south-facing slope.
The wine is classic top-shelf Barossa with enormous concentration, richness and oak framing, but is built around a solid core of structure and poise that provides great balance and ageability, and it carries its muscle with impressive grace. This should easily keep improving and unfolding over a decade or two, in a good cellar
99 points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
Single-vineyard wines that are at the behest and mercy of the seasons are very exciting to view over time. You understand the essence of the style of the wine and the vineyard DNA, so you sit, patiently waiting for the vintages and seasons that meet your personal proclivities to roll around. The 2018 vintage is one of those for me, as will be the cool 2021 and 2022 seasons. The fruit is sourced from the Gnadenfrei vineyard, which was planted in 1958, in Marananga. The fruit was picked over a variety of picks at optimal ripeness and matured for 36 months in new French oak barriques by Dominique Laurent. Eminently red-fruited in the mouth, this 2018 The Laird is reflective of the 2018 season, in that it is pure, fresh, laden with blood plum, saturated in red berries and framed by savory, exotically spiced black tannins. The oak, while a prominent feature of the wine, supports the fruit at all times and assists in extending the flavor through the finish. Thick in the mouth, yet still fresh, there is a moreish quality to this wine. I love it. (It is likely unnecessary to tell you that the wine is incredibly full-bodied. It is enveloping and huge but wonderful.)