Wine of the week: Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon 2010

Torbreck Woodcutter'sThe Torbreck Woodcutter’s ($15, purchased, 14%) is more than just a steal at this price. It’s an example of how wine ages, and why you should sometimes buy a wine to age, even if you think aging is too wine geeky for you.

I first tasted this Australian white, made with semillon, two years ago, part of a group of samples. I liked it, but it wasn’t anything special, according to my notes: “Intriguing wine that had some richness not unlike chardonnay, but without any chardonnay fruit. Just some pepper and a little apricot or peach.”

Last month, when I needed a bottle to pair with pork shoulder braised with Mediterranean spices and chickpeas, what did my pal James McFadyen recommend? The Torbreck Woodcutter’s, and he couldn’t have been more spot on. The difference, as the wine become more complex from aging, was impressive.

The fruit had evolved into an almost honeyed apricot, close to the fig that you’ll find in the textbook definition of semillon. “Some richness” had turned into a rich and full mouth feel, and it didn’t taste like chardonnay at all. Through all of this, the Torbreck Woodcutter’s was bone dry, and with an almost chalky finish. I couldn’t believe the transformation, and the wine was delicious.

Highly recommended, and another reason why wine is about trying as many different kinds as possible. Otherwise, you’ll miss a treat like this.

6 thoughts on “Wine of the week: Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon 2010

  • By Adam - Reply

    Cool! I’ll look for this.

    I think the problem with aging isn’t that it’s too geeky… it’s that only rich people can do it. Or at least settled people with houses. I obviously don’t have a cellar, but you don’t need that. I don’t have year-round climate control, though–no central AC in New York. I feel like I can only age a wine for nine months or so, and then drink everything before the summer starts.

    Do you think wine fridges are a worthwhile investment? Do you have one? Any recs? Not that I have space for one of those in NY either…

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      You can buy a 24-bottle wine fridge for a couple of hundred dollars, which is what I have for my white Burgundy and the pricey samples that I get. It has done me well over the years.

  • By Brian B - Reply

    Not to mention, the Woodcutter’s Shriaz is fabulous. One of my guilty pleasures when blowing out the ten dollar budget. I’ll certainly give the Semillon a try, aged or not.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      Yes, the shiraz is. Torbeck is one of those Australian wineries persevering despite all the troubles in Australia.

  • By JDub - Reply

    A big problem with wine is its “life-cycle”. Did I open the bottle too soon? Is the wine at its prime or past?
    I always aerate reds, but not whites. Would aeration have improved this wine during your first tasting? If not for your friend’s recommendation, would you have purchased this wine after your experience two years prior?

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      All good questions. I probably wouldn’t have bought it again, which is one reason why I believe in independent retailers who want to help you and not sell you what they are told to sell you. And I don’t think I opened it too soon the first time, and aeration wasn’t the problem. This was a wine made to age, and identifying that may be the most difficult thing to do in wine.

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