2017 Torbreck Shiraz RunRig

Year: 2017
Appellation: Barossa Valley
Country: Australia
Wine Spectator: 95
Wine Advocate: 98
James Suckling: 95
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 15.0%
Price :

" Focuses on a beam of pure fruit flavors, with crushed raspberry, maraschino cherry, framboise and blueberry, highlighted by cream soda, nutmeg and cigar box details. Impressive for its boldness, but also shows plenty of restraint, with a stunning finish that goes on and on. Shiraz and Viognier. Drink now through 2035. From Australia. -M.W." (WS)

"As usual, the 2017 RunRig is approximately 2% Viognier. It spent almost 30 months in oak, 40% of which was new. Hints of peach or apricot appear on the nose, alongside notes of hickory smoke, cherries and baking spices. It's full-bodied and concentrated but supple and silky enough to seem lighter in the mouth, showing tremendous length and elegance on the finish, where it adds nuances of cinnamon and cocoa.

I managed to squeeze in a couple of vineyard visits during my afternoon visit with the Torbreck team of Ian Hongell (winemaker) and Nigel Blieschke (viticulturist). At the Hillside Vineyard in Lyndoch, the core is an 1850 planting of Shiraz, but there are additional blocks amounting to 100 acres of the 300-acre property. The Hillside Grenache comes from a parcel planted in 1948. The dry-grown Laird Vineyard is the other Torbreck jewel. Originally planted in 1958 and purchased by Torbreck in 2013, this five-acre site in Marananga provides fruit for Torbreck's top bottling. Contrary to some claims, Hongell offered this simple retort as we looked over the year's young shoots, "It's not dead." Looking at the current lineup, there are a couple of gaps: in 2016, neither the Les Amis nor the Pict were bottled because they were smoke-tainted, according to Hongell. The 2017 was a cooler year, offering more perfume and spice, said Hongell. "We're very pleased with the power we've been able to build into these wines. We're absolutely in love with what we're doing, especially in the vineyards," he concluded." (WA)

"A blend of shiraz and 2% viognier. This is a blend of six very old vineyards (1850-1901 plantings), aged for 29 months in French oak barriques, 40% new. There’s a very strong expression of red and darker berries and plums, dark spices and dark stones here. The oak adds fresh-spice complexity. The palate has a super deep, dense and rich feel with such long but gentle tannins. Fluid and flowing style, super fine texture and a flavor-soaked finish. Drink or hold." (JS)

Winery Notes:
"RunRig often draws comparison with the beautifully fragrant and tautly structured wines from the steep slopes of the Northern Rhône Valley’s Appellation of Côte Rôtie."

Shiraz from old dry grown Barossa vineyards is blended with Viognier, complementing the strengths and complexities of these individual parcels of fruit, whilst giving the resulting wine a further dimension.

Although wonderfully aromatic, RunRig also exhibits a power and latent richness making it more akin to the hugely concentrated wines sourced from the sun drenched hill of Hermitage – the historic home of Syrah and some of the world’s most powerful and longest living wines.

Torbreck is the name of a forest near Inverness, Scotland. You’ll find more than a passing nod to the Celts in our wine naming conventions including this reference to the “RunRig” system of land distribution among Highland clansmen. Their widely dispersed holdings were managed communally rather than as any one farm…not unlike this complementary blend of Shiraz and Viognier making the sum of the parts greater than the whole.