Wakefield Riesling 2008
The wine first has restrained floral aromas of orange blossom and rose petal and then later strong regional and varietal aromas of lime zest appear.
On release, the wine has a fresh lemon-lime flavoured palate with a crisp acid backbone. The finish has a subtle, pleasing minerally character.
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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 a different soil type 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; westerlies blowing in from the Spencer Gulf influece this area's climate.
The differences in soil, elevation, degree of slope and weather 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.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.