Torbreck release new wines

By J'aime Cardillo

27 Mar, 2024

Torbreck Vintners in the Barossa Valley has released new wines from the 2021, 2022 and 2023 vintages. Tasting Team member Dave Brookes reviewed the shiraz and GSM wines.

"We've had a cracking vintage," says Ian Hongell, Torbreck Vintners' chief winemaker and general manager. And while in the thick of '24 vintage, the Barossa Valley giant has just released its latest wines. The release includes the 2021 The Factor Shiraz, 2021 Descendant Shiraz, 2022 The Struie Shiraz, and 2022 The Steading, which is a blend of grenache, shiraz and mataro.

Ian says Torbreck has been bookended with a good run of La Niña vintages. "The wines we've made from those seasons have really lovely fragrance and lots of charming density and suppleness to them, which is reflected by the nature of the season. So it's been very pleasing, particularly for shiraz, and the kind of wines and style we can make. We're obviously still looking for something that's got density and power and volume across the palate, but also when you can add that sort of fragrance and thread that into the wines, it makes them quite special."

Ian is currently undertaking his 36th vintage and his eighth year at Torbreck. He was previously the chief winemaker at Peter Lehmann, where he spent almost two decades. Raised in the Barossa, being chief winemaker at Torbreck is somewhat of a full-circle moment.

Ian HongellTorbreck chief winemaker and general manager Ian Hongell.

"Our family has vineyards and so I sort of pursued a career in wine and started out doing that, worked around the world, worked in France, Germany, California, and then returned home to the Barossa in '98 after doing some travel and working interstate. And did 18 years at Peter Lehmann and came across to Torbreck for first vintage in 2017. Our family grew grapes for Tobreck, so I always weirdly felt connected."

He also happens to live 900 metres from the winery, but says that wasn't a factor when moving across. "I basically stood on my front lawn and watched Torbreck get built."

"I came [to Torbreck] because I like the style of wine that we make and to me it's a real expression of what Barossa is about. And I love doing that. We make a wine that really speaks of the place it's from, and it's unmistakably Barossan. There's an identifiability of Torbreck wines and to me they express a strong Torbreck fingerprint, which I think is a really lovely thing."

Alongside Ian, Torbreck's winemaking team is led by Scott McDonald and viticulturist Nigel Blieschke. Ian describes Scott as his "right-hand-man winemaker" and Nigel as "a bit of a nutty professor." He says the trio have been able to bounce off each other for a very long time now. 

TorbreckEstablished in 1994, this year marks Torbreck's 30th anniversary.

Tasting Team member, and resident Barossa expert, Dave Brookes says with Ian at the helm, and the viticultural expertise of Nigel, the wines have never looked better and the future has never looked brighter.

"The Torbreck ethos, forged initially by Dave Powell (Neldner Road) and a retinue of über-talented winery stars – Kym Teusner (Teusner), Dan Standish (The Standish Wine Company), Craig Isbel (Tarrawatta and Izway Wines), Fraser McKinley (Sami-Odi) – has always had a pure focus on grower relationships, old vine heritage and deeply fruited wines that speak of place." 

For Ian, working as the chief winemaker and the general manager of Torbreck means he's connected to all parts of the business. "I know what's right for the wine. And so the decisions we make are all about making better wine. And to me, Torbreck has shown that if you get the wine right, everything else takes care of itself."

Dave Brookes' Torbreck tasting notes

2021 Torbreck Vintners The Factor Barossa Valley

2021 Torbreck Vintners The Factor Barossa Valley

Old-vine shiraz sourced across the famous parishes of the Barossa Valley. Deep magenta/crimson with aromas of satsuma plum, blackberry and black cherry fruits cut with hints of clove, kirsch, dark fruit and nut chocolate, cherry ripe, distant tobacco, ironstone, baking spices and turned earth. Weighty, darkly concentrated and intense; cedar and wood spice join the fray on the palate with a display of superfine, compact tannins and a real sense of latent power and broody spice on the extended finish. – Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion, 95 points

Drink to 2040 | RRP $150

2021 Torbreck Vintners Descendant Barossa Valley

2021 Torbreck Vintners Descendant Barossa Valley

A Marananga-born blend of 94/6 per cent shiraz/viognier from the strong 2021 vintage. I guess the Descendant could be considered the 'Baby Run Rig', though, in reality, this probably does the wine a disservice. It's lovely. High-toned and perfumed with some juicy stone fruit tones suffusing through the unctuous spiced plum fruits. Hints of blueberry pie, citrus blossom, veal jus, Chinese barbecue shop, soul-like spice. dried citrus rind, biltong and clove. Velvety in its flow with creamy oak, fine, kinetic tannins and a real textural swell as it slowly fades away. A cracking release. – Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion, 96 points

Drink to 2038 | RRP $150

2022 Torbreck Vintners The Struie Barossa Valley Eden Valley

2022 Torbreck Vintners The Struie Barossa Valley Eden Valley

The Struie is Torbreck's blend of shiraz from vineyards in the Barossa and Eden valleys. Deep cassis and doris plum fruit tones with perhaps a little more blue fruits compared to the 2021 release. Hints of baking spices, sage, mace, bay leaf, roasting meats, panforte, pastis and dark chocolate. The trademark Torbreck fruit depth and concentration is certainly in play with tight, fine sandy tannins and a sense of freshness to its travel, finishing lush and long. – Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion, 94 points

Drink to 2038 | RRP $55

2022 Torbreck Vintners The Steading Barossa Valley

2022 Torbreck Vintners The Steading Barossa Valley

In 2022, the Steading blend is 50/31/19 per cent grenache/shiraz/mataro and is the picture of the contemporary Barossan GSM. Red and blue fruits predominately, with a flash of blueberry and cranberry providing the high tones. Plenty of detail and delineation, the gingery spiced grenache and meaty-edged mataro clearly visible and simpatico with the shiraz fruit tones. There's some pith to the fine, sandy tannins and a mineral sapidity to its savoury endpoint. Great drinking. Consistently. – Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion, 94 points

Drink to 2035 | RRP $45

While the Torbreck team are masters of shiraz, grenache and mataro (and, of course, blends), also included in the new release wines is The Bothie NV – a fortified blend that includes grapes like madeira semillon, frontignac, palomino, doradillo, grenache and shiraz (RRP $130). And there's also two Rhône whites, the 2023 Viognier and the 2023 Marsanne. Each white wine is $55.

For more information and to shop these wines visit

View all Torbreck Vintners tasting notes.

Image credit: Wine Australia and Torbreck.