GIVE them a batch of grapes and they know enough to make wine from it.”
That is what David Powell, founder of Torbreck Vintners, said about his two sons who have been making wines since they were seven and five, respectively.
“We have a little patch on the vineyard that the three of us prune and pick every year to make the wine we bottle as The Celts. It is only sold in the tasting room and we only produce about two barrels of it per year,” he said.
Powell said the name came from the fact that the names of his sons, Callum who is now 17 and Owen who is now 15, have Celtic roots.
However, Powell had never wanted his children to become involved in the wine business out of obligation.
“I did not want to train them for years just to find out they did not want to do it. It stems from my own experience of following in my father’s footsteps as an accountant until I realised I was not very happy and doing it merely to please him,” Powell said.
Raised on the vineyards where the Torbreck wines are created, his sons, however, have already indicated interest in entering the business.
“If Callum had his way, he would already be out of school by now though he has another year of high school to complete,” Powell said, adding that Owen on the other hand has an interest in commerce and wants to do his MBA in Harvard.
“My youngest asked if there was any more room for him in this business and I told him it would be perfect as he has the brains for money and administration. Callum could do more marketing and he could run the business,” Powell said.
However, Powell is not a big fan of inherited wealth and wants his children to do the right thing.
“Nepotism tends to make children lazy and selfish. They think the world owes them something. I will push my children to get a tertiary education as it would be crazy not to when they have the chance,” he said, adding they were smart enough for it as well.
It would be a long time still before his children can start coming into the business as Powell wants them to travel a bit to grow up and learn more about the world first.
“Who knows, going about the world for 10 years could eventually see them being involved in something else and not coming back at all,” Powell said.
His eldest son will be working the harvest season at Torbreck before going on to France to live and work with family friend J.L Chave, a famous wine producer there and later studying oenology, the science of all aspects of wine and winemaking.
Powell said Torbreck wines that are produced in the Barossa Valley are more full-bodied, matching the climate where it is made.
“I have an European philosophy in making wines as I spent about 10 years leaning about winemaking in that region. About 90% of Torbreck’s production are red wines and we do not make delicate, aromatic ones as the climate is not suitable for growing such grapes,” he said.
Powell was in town recently and attended a Torbreck wine dinner where one of his favourite wines, The Steading, was served along with the Homemade sweet corn polenta with porcini mushrooms, smoked duck and prepared raclette cheese.
This signature wine that blends the shiraz, grenache and matarro from the Barossa’s oldest vineyards that can be up to 150 years old has delicate aromas supported by a rich core of licorice, framboise and Provencal herbs as well as subtle notes of crushed cherries, earth and cedar with supple tannins.
Before that, guests at the dinner dined on Preserved white asparagus with hickory smoked salmon mousse, chives and blood orange vinaigrette paired with The Bothie 2010.
A sweet wine, The Bothie was something that started in 2001 and has aromas of fresh pink or lime, melon and lychee accompanied by floral notes with clean flavours of lemon sorbet, lemon tart and orange rind.
The result of Powell’s 1994 plantings from a single vineyard also produced The Descendant that was served with the Red wine marinated cod gillet with quinoa, flying fish roe and spiced wine glaze.
Tasting notes for this wine include a powerful nose of blackberry and tar to be complimented by gentle floral scents of lavender and violets while the silky tannins and full body makes this a very vigorous young wine.
Lastly, The Factor 2006 was served with a Roast Wagyu rump and buffalo stew with nuts, apples, crumbs and fennel salad.
Created from old Shiraz vines at the valley, The Factor carries delicate smells of wild blackberries, pipe smoke and pepper along with a dark core of espresso roast, blackcurrants and coal to offer the palate an immense texture, combining notes of olive tapenade, saddle leather and minerals.
Torbreck wines are distributed by Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits Sdn Bhd.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.