Categorized | Barossa Valley

Torbreck The Laird 2006

The elephant in the room for The Laird is the price. $600. Yep, right up there for Australian wine with Grange, Hill of Grace, Three Rivers and whatever else. It’s a pitch to the faithful. It’s a snatch and grab. It’s a kowtow to investors and a hypodermic hit for cult collectors who discern only by hype and price points. It’s a technicolour harlequin riding a unicycle with a mega phone shouting ‘look at me’. But it’s also more…

Undeniably it causes consternation – consumers have howled about the $600 cork lottery, they question the progeny of the wine to be retailed at this price and they decry the lack of access to a wine that comes from a less famous vineyard (Gnandenfrei planted 1958 in Marananga, though it has supplied Grange, Rolf Binder’s and other top wines at various stages), but one Torbreck’s Dave Powell reckons is exceptional and unique. For me, I think it’s a brave, worthy step to price wines higher in Australia. Access and value for money are one of Australian wines’ calling cards, but benchmarking via price points is also valuable.

$600 is (relatively) a lot of money for a bottle of wine, however it’s also a case of message over medium. Australia’s premium wines are priced ‘well’ in most instances with ‘well’ meaning generally below equivalent value of international ‘benchmarks’. If Bindi Quartz is your Australian grand cru Chardonnay it sits at around half price of Burgundian grand cru comparatives. Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier at half to a fifth of benchmark Rhone. Etcetera etcetera. We have older vines, exceptional winemakers, diverse vineyard sites, gloriously drinkable wines. Why not go for gold if you can? Why not reaffirm messages about how excellent Australian wine, sites, vines, winemaking, authenticity and wine culture really is through price statements? Why not stand up and be counted amongst international vinous ‘peers’? This isn’t a one size fits all shoe I am suggesting, of course most wine producers need to price wines with a different imperative. Torbreck has the chutzpah and track record of sales to pull high pricing off. And though $600 for a bottle amongst 650 odd dozen produced equals good return for Torbreck, it also manages to convey a message about the seriousness of Australian wine through a base statement of price.

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Tasted : JUNE11
Alcohol : 14.8%
Price : $600-700
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2012 - 2035
Visit winery website

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The WINEFRONT has flourished as a wine review and information site since 2002. We believe in hard work, realistic scoring, reliability and rigorous independence. We cover Australian wine principally but we extend coverage across the wider world of wine. The hunt for the next beautiful wine knows no boundaries. The WINEFRONT is run by Campbell Mattinson, Gary Walsh and Mike Bennie. A full history of reviews and articles is available to subscribers via the WINE SEARCH tab.



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