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Torbreck Launches Australia’s Most Expensive Wine

Posted: Monday, 20 September 2010 12:39

Torbreck Launches Australia’s Most Expensive Wine

Torbreck Vintners have created a sensation with the first release of  ‘The Laird Shiraz 2005’ pricing it at a retail price of A$700 per bottle, making it the most expensive new release wine in Australia and eclipsing the current Penfolds Grange Release by A$100, writes our Australian Food & Wine Correspondent, Louise Radman who tasted it last Friday.

Created by Torbreck managing director and chief winemaker David Powell, The Laird hails from Australia’s most celebrated wine region, the Barossa Valley. "Every now and then, in life and in wine, we are presented with unique opportunities to express ourselves and create something truly remarkable," he says.

David Powell has achieved a cult following around the world for distinctive wines that unite Rhone Valley style with traditional Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro varieties from the Barossa Valley. He is passionate about conserving and celebrating ancient vineyards that are the heart and soul of the Barossa. Torbreck takes its name from a Scottish forest where Powell once spent time as a lumberjack. His latest wine also draws inspiration from the Scottish highlands where 'The Laird' is a reference to the ‘Lord of the Manor’, who is master of all he surveys.

The Laird- the wine

The opulent Shiraz is a passionate tour de force of terroir and winemaking. It is a single vineyard wine, born of Malcolm Seppelt’s legendary Gnadenfrei vineyard in the Marananga district of western Barossa. Established in 1958, the 2hA block is planted with gnarly old vines from the original Barossa clones.

It is completely dry grown and tended meticulously by hand. The super premium wine receives the highest level of care and attention throughout every stage of production. Time honoured techniques including small batch, open fermentation are combined with fastidious modern winemaking and attention to detail. The wine was matured for three years in specialty French oak barriques from Dominique Laurent. The ‘Magic Casks’ made from much thicker than the usual staves, are regarded amongst the finest in the world for their ability to impart extraordinary oak flavour and integration. It has been in the bottle for 2 year before the Release.

Tasting Notes

On the palate, The Laird is a robust and densely packed wine, built to cellar over the long term. It shows super-ripe blackberry fruit and classic Barossa Valley chocolate, bound together by lashings of coffee and thunder. It has powerful presence and impressive oak influence with tremendous depth and concentration. This is most definitely a wine of big structure and carries 15.5% alcohol.

The big dollars commanded by this ultra luxury wine are not only an indication of quality, but also of supply and demand and emotional desire. It is a rare wine, limited to just 400 cases and bears the signature of a very special patch of earth. The wine is appreciated by connoisseurs for an idea that is valued in much the same way as a piece of fine art.  Powell expects the wine to fetch over A$1000 in the years to come. A small number of large format bottles are valued at approximately A$30,000 each.

‘The Laird’ is available from exclusive wine stores and also direct from the Nuriootpa cellar door of Torbreck. It has shown strong export sales in Hong Kong and Britain, with 75% of stock already sold out.

The wine costing US $665 may not be everybody’s cup of tea. According to a survey by Sydney Morning Herald last week, asking ‘is A$700 too much to spend on a bottle of wine?’ 71% of respondents said -Yes , there's so much fantastic wine in this country you don't need to spend anywhere near that much. The balance 29% replied ‘No - If you're into wine and can afford it, go for it.’ 

For the record, the best known Australian wine Penfolds Grange and the most expensive so far from Down Under costs around US $100 less (source:

However, Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraz is acknowledged as Australia's most prestigious fine wine. Setting the benchmark for power and consistency for well over 50 years, it is universally recognised amongst the greatest wines in the world.

Created by Max Schubert in 1951, the first Grange was a revolutionary wine driven by the principle of absolute quality. The wine is made in a unique and enduring style featuring the most outstanding fruit from multiple vineyards and aged in new oak barrels. It has shaped the landscape of the Australian wine industry and is now registered by the National Trust as an official heritage icon.

Penfolds Grange is highly sought after by collectors and a single bottle of the original 1951 vintage is now valued in excess of A$30,000 (US $28,500).

Louise Radman

Even if the percentage of those advocating buying this wine maybe a lot less in India, there would be enough demand to pick up the ‘allocation’ for India where Sanjay Menon imports Torbreck through his import firm Sonarys (Sansula)- editor

Louise Radman is an award winning Australian wine writer and consultant with a bachelor degree in wine marketing from University of Adelaide. She is the founding head of the SA chapter of Sommeliers Australia and acts on tasting and judging panels for Australian wine export compliance, Australia’s wine list of the year awards, the AWRI advanced wine assessment course and Advertiser newspaper’s top 100 wines. Louise has traveled extensively throughout the great wine regions of the world. She tasted the wine at the office of Advertiser last Friday. She may be contacted at


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