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Archive for December, 2010

The other day I stood next to another customer in my local bottle shop as we both perused the selection of red wines – he in a bit more of a hurry than I. His eyes frantically scanned row upon row of bottles – across and back, up and down. Suddenly, he gave an audible sigh of relief and reached for what he had been searching for… a bottle of Taylors Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Gee, I felt proud!
As our winemakers complete the finishing touches to the next vintage release of the Taylors Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, I can’t help but reflect on what an amazing journey this particular wine has taken since our first vintage release – the ’73. My grandfather, Dad and uncle were convinced the terroir of our Clare Valley estate could produce wines of a pedigree previously unheard of from an Australian producer. When we were first planting all those Cabernet vines back in ’69 the industry responded with comments like “What are you Taylor boys doing? Don’t you know you can’t make good fortified wine from Cabernet?”

We put the equivalent of 500 cases of the ’73 to bed in fine French oak hogsheads, waited until the time (and the wine) was right and then released it into the market place. Our winemaker at the time, Nick Holmes was pretty excited about the wine and wanted to enter it into some capital city wine shows. It picked up a few golds and then at the Adelaide show it was awarded the Montgomery trophy. We knew we were definitely on to something good!

Over the years the wine has developed a ‘cult following’. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has reminisced fondly to me ”You know, Taylors Cab Sauv was the first red wine I ever drank!” The philosophy behind the style has subtly evolved over the years but Dad was always clear, in his direction “only change it to make it better and make any changes subtly so that people won’t notice”. We’ve stuck to his advice and I believe it’s that consistent approach to quality that has attracted more and more people to this wine and why today, we are Australia’s number 1 selling Cabernet Sauvignon and have held that mantle for more than a decade. Our family cherishes this reputation and have celebrated every award and accolade this wine has achieved since it’s first vintage release – over 500 medals in all, including 7 trophies and 51 golds! In more recent years, it has twice been voted as ‘Best Premium Red Wine’ by the Australian Hotel Association – something we are also extremely proud of.

You might ask, ‘what is it about this noble grape that has captured our family’s heart and is the soul of our wine business?’ For me, it’s wrapped up in the nature and structure of the grape. The characteristics of our Clare Valley vineyard – the combination of terra rossa soils and perfect climatic conditions that allow a long ripening period – results in wines of incredibly intense flavour, well-balanced structure and long, fine tannins. My Dad had always been a big fan of Bordeaux wine but realised the potential to get the grape to a stage of natural ripeness in the Clare Valley, which is very important with Cabernet. And when it comes to wines of longevity, well-crafted Cabernet is definitely the King, delivering more intensity and flavour than any other. We are so proud of the range of Cabernet Sauvignons produced at our Clare Valley winery – from the luxury of The Visionary, the iconic single vineyard St Andrews, the Jaraman fusion of Clare and Coonawarra, our ‘heart and soul’ Taylors Estate to the everyday drinking pleasure of Promised Land.

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