Rhône-style Wines from Torbreck in SA’s Barossa Valley
When you’re looking for Rhône-style wine, you don’t have to search across the oceans. Torbreck wines (in Australia’s Barossa Valley) are blessed with geography, climate, terroir, and most importantly, exceptional winemaking skills. Today we are opening a few bottles from Torbreck’s Woodcutters range – the 2021 Shiraz, 2021 Roussanne Marsanne Viognier, and the 2022 Rosé. Torbreck’s wines age elegantly, and display excellent structure, length, and richness.
Almost 200 years ago, the first owners of Torbreck arrived on the shores of Australia(*1). Since then, their descendants have continued honing their skills, nurturing, and learning about the soil, climate, and terroir of the unique Barossa Valley. With minimal intervention, fruit is left to develop naturally in the nutrient-rich soil of the Barossa. In fact, annually, Torbreck is usually one of the last to pick their fruit, resulting in great intensity and power in the wines(*2).
Albeit if Torbreck have seen incredible highs and received worldwide recognition, they believe that their best crops and their best wines are still ahead on their ‘road to perfection’(*1,3). Our opinion? We’ll gladly savour anything they produce!
Rhône-style Wines from SA’s Barossa Valley
What Makes for an Exceptional Rhône-style Wine?
Across the entire Rhône region in France, 27 grape varietals are planted with red being king(*4). The Alps, Rhône River (which traverses the countryside from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea) and valley floor combine with a Mediterranean climate of long ripening seasons and good rainfall – similar to the Barossa Valley!(*4).
Traditional Rhône Grape Varietals
As there are several varieties of grapes grown across southern and northern Rhone, we are focussing on the grapes that Torbreck used in our picks for today.
It is no surprise that Rosé from the Rhône features lots of ripe berry notes(*4). It is known for being incredibly refreshing. The Popes who travelled south to Tavel in the Middle Ages even decreed that the Rosés were so good from this region, that they were to only make Rosé’s!(*4)
Roussanne and Marsanne
Roussanne and Marsanne, known for being sophisticated with fine fruit and floral notes, are predominantly produced in St. Joseph(*4), and along the steep slopes of Saint-Péray. More zest comes through in Saint-Péray’s Roussanne and Marsanne making them divine on a hot summer’s day(*4).
Château Grillet and Condrieu were, for quite a long time the only region you could find the luscious, rich, and smooth mouthfeel, floral notes, and heady apricot Viognier(*4). Luckily, we have ample right here in Australia thanks to Torbreck.
Shiraz, as is commonly known in Australia is referred to as Syrah in Old World wine.
If the Rhone were synonymous with only one wine, it would be Syrah. Australia, notably the Barossa Valley offers a taste bud extravaganza of beautiful Rhone-style Shiraz. Syrah thrives in well-draining soil, along steep slopes in the hot sun – all of which the Barossa has in droves. Rhone-style Shiraz should have good body, and the deep red fruits, leather, and meadow flowers should all develop well when cellared(*4).
The quality of the Shiraz from Torbreck is a testament to the multi-generational winemaking knowledge that has been passed down there for almost 200 years(*1).
Torbreck Woodcutters Range
The Woodcutters range from Torbreck is their entry-level range. It offers excellent value for money and can be picked up from under $25 per bottle(*1).
Torbreck 2022 Woodcutters Rosé
The Rosé is crafted from old vine Mataro which creates a fresh, dry, and zingy style of Rosé(*1).
Aroma: Starting with the most subtle aromas you will find delicate expressions of nougat, watermelon, dried herbs, red and white flowers, soft spices, and crushed stone. What stands out most are red apple, peach, ruby red grapefruit and most notably, redcurrant(*3). Needless to say, the layers of aromas are truly tantalising to the senses.
Palate: Enjoy as a fresh and young dry wine that sees the spice and red fruits come through(*3). It is zingy, has cleansing acidity and a medium-bodied mouthfeel(*5).
Finish: An excellent, slightly textured, cleansing, dry finish(*3,5).
Torbreck 2021 Woodcutters Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier (RVM) Blend
This blend creates a complex texture and is a pleasant and easy-drinking style of wine(*2). Each of the three varietals offers something unique to the aroma, palate, structure, and finish. This RVM will continue developing with age but is 100% suitable to open now if you can’t wait!(*6)
Aroma: Lifted pure florals from the Viognier dance melodically with sweet lychee, syrupy passionfruit, and freshly trimmed grass(*6).
Palate: Finesse and structure from the Roussanne are complemented by the richness and texture of Marsanne(*6). The palate is sensational, evocative, and complex with an ample dose of fleshy, lemon curd fruits and citrus.
Finish: Entirely satisfying, long finish that takes little effort to enjoy(*6).
Torbreck 2021 Woodcutters Shiraz (Syrah)
A traditional Barossa Valley Shiraz. This Shiraz offers complexity, richness, body, and succulent dark berry fruits(*2,7). It is also an excellent choice for the cellar as this wine is expected to really open up and develop over the coming years – thoroughly enjoyable right now and in years to come. Finally, the 2021 Shiraz is unbelievable value. Rarely do we see such opulence of flavour and complexity in this price range.
Aroma: Fresh blackberries and raspberries waltz hand-in-hand with supple dark plum and blueberries(*3,6).
Palate: At its core, the black and red fruits shine with dark cherry also coming through. A good measure of spice is balanced by vanilla(*3,6).
Finish: Effortless silky tannins finish this outstanding wine(*3,6).
If you are looking at trying Torbreck wines for the first time or looking for a mid-week quaffer, we definitely recommend this range of wines! Look out for these in-store and on our website.
*1. Torbreck. Our Story. 2023.
*2. Summer Hill Wine Shop. Torbreck Woodcutter's Wines Barossa Valley Australia. YouTube video. 2023.
*3. Brookes, D. HALLIDAY WINE COMPANION 2024. 2023.
*4. Larson, H. The Guide to Côtes-du-Rhône Wine w/ Maps. Wine Folly. 2018
*5. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2022 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Rose Barossa Valley. 2023.
*6. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2021 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Roussanne Marsanne Viognier Barossa Valley. 2023.
*7. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2021 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz Barossa Valley. 2023.