Monday, November 8, 2010


- Barossa Valley, SA
- $24-$33
- Screwcap
- 14.5%alc

One of the Barossa's highest profile producers, Torbreck, is an internationally recognised name well known for rather expensive, ultra-ripe, generously oaked reds packaged with distinctive white labels and visible corks. A unique wine within Torbreck's range is the Cuvée Juveniles; a relatively affordable, unoaked red with a coloured label and a screwcap closure.

I'm beginning to really appreciate unwooded Barossa GSMs for their ability to be cracked and enjoyed immediately, and Torbreck's 2009 Cuvée Juveniles instantly fits the bill, with a lightly spiced fragrance of liqueur cherries, blueberries, dates, currants, cinnamon and spirit that strikes an aromatic lift and warmth from first pour. However, the palate doesn't follow suit, as its initially pleasing burst of smooth, deep, dark, rich and pure GSM flavour is betrayed by a jarring acidity and an unpleasant rawness. Indeed the whole presentation seems to be left wanting once its plush entry is overcome by an edgy, thinning, ill-defining intensity; while a final, ungainly and lingering impression of ultra-ripe fruit, spirit and clove-like flavour does little to enhance the experience. With air it becomes marginally softer, but it never achieves true balance.

X This is a wine of two tales; a pleasing entry and a rough finish. Hopefully the latter might sort itself out with some more time in the bottle, but you'd probably be better off buying Teusner's 2009 Joshua instead. Drink 2011-2012.
84 points

Case In Point Update 9-November-2010

Casey: All the pleasing qualities of a GSM on the nose, with robust berries and a slight fortified grenache aroma. Lovely rounded flavour with a ripe, juicy burst and almost completely devoid of tannins. Finishes a little sweet on the palate.

Chris: Okay, so here's the first 'Case In Point' wine which I've re-reviewed because I believe my original note might have been based on a 'dud' bottle. Put simply, it was the off-putting, hard intensity of its finish which lead me to feel something wasn't quite right, and being the fair man that I am, I felt it possibly deserved better than this note. So how's the second bottle? Well, the hard finish is nowhere to be seen, in fact, it actually finishes quite soft with some pleasing spice elements, but other than that most of the original note remains true. So yes, I remain under the impression that my original note was taken on a 'dud' bottle. As a result I've re-written my original note, which can be found here, or under Red Blends in Wine Reviews in the sidebar. Anyway, my updated score is....89


  1. Interesting, and as you expected. THe finish of the second bottle is more in line with the CJ's that I have had in the past. I did the same thing with 4 bottles of a Barossa Valley Shiraz I over-ordered back in the day, opening one bottle every 3 weeks or so. They were all under cork. One was corked and I didnt drink it, the other was partially corked, and puzzled me no-end, much like your experience here. I had tried bottles of the wine before and liked it, yet this one had a bit of the wet bandage and nowhere near the same amount of fruit. Anyways, the 3rd and 4th bottles revealed the 2nd bottle to indeed be partially corked, the 3rd bottle was probably a 90pt wine the 4th one a 94! the joys and pain of corks and also (as may have been the case here), compromised screwcap closures.
    Sorry for the waffle!



  2. Thanks Brown - and no - love the waffle! ;)

    Sounds like a 'right' family of Barossa shiraz; some common threads present but no two the same, quite amazing really! Out of interest, do you still buy the label based on this experience?

    Casey and I pulled the cork on an 08 Tapanappa Pinot Noir last night (brilliant wine methinks) and as much as we both agreed that cork taint sucks, both of us were under complete agreement that it would be sad to see corks disappear from wine altogether.

    Chris P

  3. Hey Chris,
    I have gone back to the label based on the experience - they now have all but their top wine under screwcap. In regards corks vs screwcaps - I agree with the view that the best wine closure is the perfect cork - only problem being there are not many of them!! :-( Will be interesting to see how diam and screwcaps go with the premium red wines in 10-15 years time. Australia has made the call for screwcaps, I assume it will not come back to bite us!

    As for the Tapanappa PN, I agree - first tried it at a birthday dinner at Tetsuyas and it was very nice. Quite approachable now, though I would say it could still develop. THe 07 and 09 I tried on other occaisions were more closed and built to age. A very promising wine (cork permitting!) :-)


  4. Tetsuya's and Tapanappa hey? You Sydney folk sure know how to celebrate a birthday....