Last week the winemaking team gathered in the tasting room to assess and blend the 2012 white wines. Torbreck is certainly more famous for making reds, but over the last four or five vintages we have really started to concentrate on improving the quality of our white wines. The focus, as with our reds, is on Rhone Valley varietals; in particular Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier. We also make a Beaumes de Venise style fortified white wine from Brown Frontignac grown on Roennfeldt Road. The one exception to the ‘Rhone rule’ is the Woodcutter’s Semillon which we make due to our access to two beautiful old Semillon Vineyards and Dave Powell’s passion for the variety.
The 2012 white’s, in a word, are stunning. We picked the fruit with great balance and high levels of natural acidity and they are certainly amongst the most profound whites we have ever produced. The Rhone Varietals display wonderfully lifted aromatics, great texture, depth and complexity. Many of our white wine batches ferment naturally without inoculation and the resulting wines have great energy, freshness and purity.
These are seriously good wines and completely different from the clean and bland white styles that are circulated in large volumes and gulped through summer. Dave has just been to visit the famous Chave family in Hermitage and he was excited with what he tasted yesterday and was delighted that our whites were as good as those that he tasted in France. It is worth noting that in the past Hermitage Blanc has been considered one of the world’s great white wines.
The anticipation of summer always energises me and I can’t wait for the feeling of the sun on my skin again, to dive into the cool water at Henley and of course for the cricket to start. This year I also can’t wait to drink a glass or two of The Steading Blanc in the summer sun.