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Battle of Barossa: Torbreck vs. Powell
Fifty-seven of these dinners over the past four years. And I’ve never done an Australian theme. So let’s fix that. This will be a Battle of Barossa of sorts, showcasing two rival wineries there, Torbreck and Powell & Son. Dave Powell founded Torbreck in 1994, sourcing grapes from the best vineyards in Barossa, and soon it became one of the most prestigious wineries in the region. Their flagship wine, The Laird, commanded higher prices than Penfold’s Grange. Then in 2013, Powell’s partners forced him out of his own business, citing erratic behavior, including charging a $92,000 bill from a Danish strip club to the winery. (Powell admitted, "That is actually true, that's quite funny . . . that's because I was pissed and got given a bill, I buggered up the exchange rate and didn't have my glasses on . . .”) In 2014 Dave Powell started anew with Powell & Son, with lofty ambitions: “We wanted to create, maybe ambitiously, people might say arrogantly, a version of Domaine de Romanée Conti in the Barossa.” And to judge from the reviews his wines are getting, he might be close to succeeding. So we’ll be tasting eight wines, in four pairs. Blind. Each pair will consist of one Torbreck wine and one Powell & Son, each pair representing a category (white wine; GSM blend; entry-level Shiraz; higher-end Shiraz). I’ll poll the group and ask which wine in each pair is better. Then when we reveal the wines, we’ll declare a winner (or perhaps a tie?) in the Barossa feud. More on the Torbreck/Powell saga: We’ll meet at old standby Harper’s in Dobbs. Second try this season at dinner in their beautiful back garden . . . let’s hope we succeed this time! 2015 Powell & Son Riesling $29 Wine Advocate 92+ – The 2015 Riesling is a step-up from the previous vintage, offering gorgeous floral, jasmine and lemon drops notes with hints of crushed stones, beeswax and yuzu. The palate is intense, zesty and very tightly knit with tons of freshness and an appealing steeliness carrying the taut flavors to a long finish. 600 cases produced. 2016 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon $17 Wine Advocate 88 – The 2016 Woodcutter's Semillon offers up notions of waxed lemons, lime leaves and straw with hints of dried herbs and apple blossoms. Medium-bodied with a lovely silken texture and some pleasant yeasty notes coming through in the mouth, it has a racy backbone and bone-dry finish. 2015 Powell & Son Riverside Barossa Grenache Mataro Shiraz $19 Wine Spectator 93 – A supple, seamless mix of cherry and raspberry flavors, with dried violet, savory and smoky details, accented by hints of sarsaparilla. Polished and refined, especially on the effortless finish. Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz. Drink now through 2030. 2,000 cases made. 2015 Torbreck Cuvee Juveniles Grenache Mataro Shiraz $23 Vinous 91 – Vivid ruby. Pungent, spice-accented red and blue fruit scents show very good clarity and pick up a sexy floral note as the wine opens up. Juicy, focused and lively on the palate, offering vibrant black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that deepen and become sweeter on the back half. At once concentrated and nervy, showing excellent focus and drive on a long, subtly tannic, spice-laced finish. 2015 Powell & Son Shiraz $30 Wine Advocate 92 – Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Barossa Valley Shiraz reveals pronounced blackberry, dark chocolate and black currant notes over hints of black earth, charcoal, licorice and a hint of violets. Profoundly rich and concentrated on the full-bodied palate, it has some delicious savory/olive tapenade notes emerging, supported by firm, ripe tannins and finishing with great length. 2017 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz $18 Not rated.From blog: “A very good vintage of this fresh, early-drinking, fruit-driven Shiraz—spicy and brightly fruited.” 2015 Powell & Son Loechel Eden Valley Shiraz $72 Wine Advocate 97 – Coming from the western section of a single vineyard in Eden Valley, the 2015 Loechel Shiraz from Eden Valley has a deep garnet-purple color and a gorgeous floral nose of roses and violets, with a whole array of baking spice-laced red and black fruit preserves emerging, plus some hints of cedar and chocolate box. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is youthfully taut, firm and muscular, possessing a solid structure of grainy tannins and lively acidity, finishing with those glorious baking spice layers coming through. 300 cases were made.Dave Powell: “It’s got its tits out – it’s saying come and get me.” 2015 Torbreck The Struie Shiraz $58 Vinous 93 – (17 percent new French oak; 15.5 percent alcohol) Lurid violet. A powerfully scented, complex bouquet evokes boysenberry, cherry preserves, licorice, five-spice powder and smoky minerals. Stains the palate with sweet black and blue fruit, spicecake and violet flavors that show a surprisingly light touch for their heft. Supple, slow-building tannins gently frame the broad, smoky finish, which hangs on with strong, floral-dominated persistence.

Harper's Bar & Restaurant

92 Main St · Dobbs Ferry


    Past Meetups (57)

    What we're about

    Hello fellow wine lovers. The purpose of this group is to explore various categories of wine in a relaxed setting while dining out in Westchester BYOB restaurants. For each dinner meetup, a theme will be chosen and the wines will be provided by the host, who will disclose the identities of the wines (along with ratings, reviews, and prices) when the meetup is announced. The wines will be carefully chosen as good examples of their type and offer a good price-quality ratio. To facilitate dinner-table discussions and to ensure that everyone is able to taste and retaste all the wines, attendance will be capped at 10 people per dinner. To cover the cost of the wines, attendees will pay a fee when RSVPing. Then at the restaurant, each attendee will pay for whatever food he/she orders.

    The organizer has earned the Diploma of Wines and Spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and looks forward to sharing some interesting bottles over good food and conversation.

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