Wakefield (Taylor’s) is a family owned and operated winery that has been in operation for three generations. It was founded over 40 years ago by Bill Taylor, a Clare Valley wine merchant and is still managed by Bill Sr. and sons John and Bill. Wakefield owns some 178 ha in Claire Valley and today is Australia’s 6th largest winery. Its operations are governed by a philosophy of making high quality Old World estate wines using New World winemaking innovation.
Wakefield has been in the U.S. market for about 7 years and exports four different labels: Promised Land, Wakefield Estate, St. Andrews and Jaraman. We tasted some of these wines several years ago at a wine dinner in Washington, DC and were pleased to re-acquaint ourselves with them. As before, they are well made wines, rich in fruit, nicely balanced and easy drinking; they are also well-priced. Winemaking at Wakefield is directed by veteran winemaker, Mitchell Taylor.
[Note: Wakefield is known as Taylor’s in Australia; trademark restrictions require a different brand name in the northern hemisphere.]
Wakefield 2012 Chardonnay Clare Valley ($17) 88 The 2012 Chardonnay is bright and flavorful. It offers stone fruit, citrus and a hint of toast on the nose with good acidity and freshness on the palate along with light creaminess. Pleasant and easy drinking. Enjoy now and over the next two years.
Wakefield 2012 Riesling Clare Valley ($17) 88 The 2012 Wakefield Estate Riesling exhibits aromas of fresh citrus with faint notes of petrol. It is ripe and round on the palate with good flavor intensity, crisp acidity and a dry finish.
Wakefield 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Clare Valley ($17) 88 This Cabernet offers aromas of black currants, spice and light smoke. It is soft on the attack with good intensity of black fruit flavor with a hint of herbs. It has firm dry tannins on the mid-plate and a medium-light finish.
Wakefield 2012 Promised Land Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia ($13) 87+ This is an easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon offering aromas and flavors of spicy black currant and plum. It is ripe and lush on the palate with a soft texture, moderate flavor intensity, and a pleasant finish. Drinkable now and over the next two to three years.
Wakefield 2009 Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet South Australia ($13) 89 This blend of Shiraz and Cabernet is more aromatic and flavorful than the single varietal Cabernet. It displays ripe and spicy black berry fruit with scents of earth. It is fruit forward with a lush palate and silky tannins. Very enjoyable and good value.
Jaraman 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Clare Valley and Coonawara ($30) 90 The Jarman Cabernet Sauvignon is a step above in quality and price. It displays a dark ruby purple color and reveals aromas of black currant, cassis and herbs. Aged for 12 months in 1-3 year-old French barriques, it is fruit forward and delicious with ripe dark fruit flavors, toasted oak and soft round tannins. A very drinkable, nicely crafted full-bodied wine.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler