|While studying Economics at the University of Adelaide, David Powell was introduced to wine by an uncle and soon spent an increasing amount of his free time in the Barossa Valley. His desire to travel allowed him to use the quiet winter period to visit the renowned and more obscure regions of Europe, including a spell in Scotland working as a lumberjack. It was after these travels that he founded Torbreck in 1994. It is his time spent in Scotland near Inverness (Google Streetview Location of Torbreck, Scotland) that has influenced the names of his wines, with the majority of his labels having Scottish names: for example The Laird, The Pict, The Steading, and The Gask.
The focus at Torbreck is on Rhone varieties and they have built a reputation for making some of Australia’s best reds. However, they also make some delicious whites from Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Torbreck only use grapes from the Barossa Valley and in fact, all of the grapes come from 26 individual vineyard plots.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dave on his most recent UK visit and found him to be someone who isn’t afraid of expressing his opinions and who has some great anecdotes – including a visit to Denmark a few years ago which ended in him being branded by a hot iron with the logo of a Danish restaurant. But I digress, back to the wines, we tasted a selection of his range including the Laird, which up until Penfolds released their latest vintage of Bin 620 was Australia’s most expensive wine. As delicious as the Laird was, my wine of the week is the much more affordable Juveniles.
Juveniles was named in honour of one of Dave’s friends, Tim Johnston, who owns the Parisian wine bar of the same name. The 2009 is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Shiraz (Syrah) and 20% Mataro (Mourvèdre). The grapes are sourced from six sub regions of the Barossa Valley (Gomersal, Seppeltsfield, Marananga, Moppa, Koonunga Hill & Ebenezer) and the average vine age is around ninety years old. It is his ability to secure grapes from old vines that has led to stellar reputation. The label was designed by Tim’s daughter Carolyn, whose paintings hang in the wine bar.