New Customers Save $20 off $100+* with code FEBNEW20
New Customers Save $20* with code FEBNEW20
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Wakefield Estate Chardonnay Clare Valley 2008
Cellaring Notes: This wine can be enjoyed upon release but will reward careful cellaring up to and possibly beyond 2012.
Originally wine merchants in Sydney, a passion for wine was all part of being a Taylor, and in particular, for the famous French Clarets such as Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux's Medoc region. It was this long held fascination for these wines which inspired the family’s foray into winemaking, and provides the inspiration and winemaking philosophy behind all Wakefield's winemaking today – to produce premium wines of exceptional and comparable quality in Australia.
It was a single wine - a first growth Bordeaux - which inspired Bill Taylor to take the plunge and to purchase a block of land in the Clare Valley and set about crafting a quality wine, which reflected the terroir and could rival its 'old world' Cabernet Sauvignons.
Almost four decades later, the company remains family owned and the philosophy unchanged. Admittedly, the winery now plants a little more than just cabernet sauvignon – with nearly 750ha of vineyards in the Clare Valley, the family excels in a number of different varieties to make up its extensive, award winning portfolio – from terrific value, everyday drinking wines to the finest Australian wines at the pinnacle of the Wakefield portfolio.
And the same philosophy runs religiously through the family tree today. Following his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, third generation winemaker Mitchell Taylor is well aware of his heritage, and passionate in its continuance. A blend of 'old world' estate philosophy and 'new world' winemaking innovation, combined with an almost fanatical attention to detail and obsession with quality, has kept this dream alive, and resulted in wines of tremendous style and quality.
The Clare Valley is actually a series of narrow north to south valleys, each with different soil types and slightly different weather patterns along their stretch. In the southern heartland between Watervale and Auburn, there is mainly a crumbled, red, clay loam soil called terra-rossa and cool breezes come in from Gulf St. Vincent. A few miles north in Polish Hill is soft, red loam over clay and is influenced by westerlies blowing in from the Spencer Gulf.
The differences in soil, elevation, degree of slope and weather influences enable the region to produce some of Australia’s finest aromatic, spicy and lime-pithy Rieslings, as well as excellent Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec with ripe plummy fruit, good acid and big structure.
Clare Valley is an isolated farming country with a continental climate known for its warm and sunny days, followed by cool nights—perfect for wine grapes’ development of sugar and phenolic ripeness in conjunction with notable acidity levels.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.