From the 2ha dry-grown Gnadenfrei vineyard in Marananga. Vines are low yielding and tended by hand. Matured 36 months in new French oak barriques. Barossa shiraz on another scale, every detail exploded into larger-than-life proportions. Impenetrable black. Deeper presence of black plum, licorice and prune, more exotic old-vine spice, more smoky dark chocolate, more mineral tannin, more spirity alcohol, more coal dust, engine oil and unbridled horsepower. To achieve all this with profound persistence and consummate integrity is where The Laird leaves all other overpowered pretenders in its dust. The most spectacular monument to the sheer might of Barossa shiraz.
Torbreck's 2016 The Laird is just being released after its extended time in barrel. I'm still unconvinced by the élevage, as the wood seems to have the upper hand, marking the nose with scents of smoke, cedar, menthol and baking spices. Yes, there's ample underlying fruit—mulberries and Italian plums—but it all takes on a slightly dessert-like cast that's only partially balanced by lingering hints of black olives, licorice and caramelized meat on the extended finish. Give this another few years in bottle so the oak-imparted notes further meld with the fruit and form a more complete, harmonious whole.