2013 Torbreck Shiraz The Laird

Year: 2013
Appellation: Barossa Valley
Country: Australia
Wine Spectator: 94
Wine Advocate: 97
Vinous Media: 97
James Suckling: 97
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 15.0%
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"Expressive, plump and velvety, with extremely concentrated flavors of blackberry, kirsch and cassis at the core, with accents of Earl Grey Tea, dark chocolate, fresh peppermint and gingerbread. Despite all the rich flavors, this has plenty of elegance, polish and freshness, revealing notes of sage on the epic finish. Shiraz. Drink now through 2028. 120 cases made, 40 cases imported. -MW" (WS)

"There's no denying the power and concentration of Torbreck's 2013 The Laird. The fruit is impressive, the oak luxurious, the texture velvety, yet I can't help but wonder if it needs to spend that extra time in barrel. Complex notes of baking spices, licorice and pepper add nuance to the Christmas-cake flavors and somehow emerge savory on the long finish. It's a wonderful wine, but would I rather have three bottles of RunRig? Without question." (WA)

"(100 percent new French oak) Inky ruby. Powerful, deep-pitched aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, violet, incense, mocha and Indian spices are lifted by a strong suggestion of smoky minerals. Utterly stains the palate with densely packed blackberry, blueberry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors that slowly stretch out and become sweeter with aeration. Conveys a distinctly powerful character but comes off elegant, showing no rough edges. The strikingly long, gently tannic finish eventually leaves behind sappy blue fruit liqueur, vanilla and spicecake qualities." (VM)

"A hedonistic wine that has a very strong and confident style to it. Rich blackberries and dark plums with a distinct tarry edge. Slippery, silky and succulent fruit flavors on the palate. There are deep blackberries in an even-paced yet rich palate. Very concentrated and dense. Long and saturated, too. Sweet dark plums with oak buried into the mix. A long and suave finish. Try from 2030." (JS)

Winery Notes:
Notes from the Winemaker:
2013 will be remembered in the Barossa as the driest, earliest and quickest vintage in memory. Spring rainfall was well below average and a relatively volatile flowering period resulting in a low fruit set coming into the summer months. Variable weather saw a number of hot days above 35°C in both October and November 2012. This was followed by a heat wave of temperatures over 33°C from 12 to 18 February 2013, reducing yields and forcing baumés up. Vintage took place a month earlier than 2012 with most vineyards picked by the end of March – the earliest finish to vintage in living memory. Yields were generally below average but the overall quality was excellent, providing rich colour along with a near perfect balance of acidity and tannin.

The Winemaking:
The Gnadenfrei vineyard is handpicked in two separate parcels a few days apart depending on vintage conditions. It is immediately taken to the winery where the fruit is gently de-stemmed into wooden & concrete open top fermenters. It is then carefully nurtured for 6-7 days on skins with pump overs occurring twice daily, varying in duration and intensity. When primary fermentation is almost complete, the wine is drained from the skins and the must is gently basket pressed for 8 hours. The wine remains in a stainless steel tank until primary fermentation is completed. It is then run directly into new French barriques coopered by Dominique Laurent where they spend 36 months under temperature controlled conditions. Once the oak and the wine have melded perfectly the wine is blended and bottled without the use of filtration or fining. Finally it is matured in the bottle for a further 24 months before release. The Laird is a wine born from perfectionists following the highest possible standards.

Tasting Notes:
Intoxicating aromas of intense rich dark fruits fill the bouquet, with dark chocolate, spices and meat providing a savoury edge. The palate possesses a rich liqueur like concentration, with flavours of liquorice, ripe blackberries, dark plums and black cherries, evolving into a dark chocolate and mocha finish with a touch of smoked meatiness and spice. Held together with a tight tannin profile and generous oak, the 2013 shows all the opulence and elegance of previous Laird’s, but with a complexity, precision and prominence that will make sure it ages gracefully for the next 20 years or more.