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Archive for November, 2014

At Taylors, we take a lot of simple joy from the art of winemaking. To see family, employees and the community flourishing alongside our business here in the Clare Valley is incredibly rewarding for us. Yet we have to say, it’s also a thrill to receive recognition for the hard work that we put into each bottle and every vintage. So in today’s post, we’re excited to share a little about some of the highly competitive wine shows that we’ve taken part in this year, and take you through some of the awards that we’ve received. From both domestic and international wine competitions, these medals, commendations and trophies represent hours upon hours of hard work, innovation and persistence. They also tell us that our primary mission of presenting premium quality wines to the public is being recognised.

Crossing continents

With our increasingly connected global village, it is clear that in order to effectively share our winemaking dream, we have to get our wines out onto the world stage. In 2014, we have proudly taken our Australian red and white wines to shows in the USA, France, China, South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, Canada and Japan – to name just a few! And on the domestic front, we take seriously the feedback from local Australian competitions, where our Clare Valley wines have been judged against those from a suite of other Australian winemaking talent.

Ring in the New Year

January 2014 saw a great start to the year for us over in the States. The Winemakers’ Challenge International Wine Competition was held in San Diego, hosted by the renowned wine journalist Robert Whitley. There, our 2012 Estate Shiraz promptly garnered Platinum, as did the 2013 Promised Land Riesling. Considering that Whitley’s online publication Wine Review attracts one million visitors a year, we knew that we were already kicking goals for 2014 – in front of a worldwide audience. Then over to Europe, where the 2010 St Andrews Shiraz plus the Cabernet Sauvignon from that same vintage took out the Great Gold in Spain’s Catavinum World Wine and Spirit Competition. We then swung back home to the Sydney Royal Wine Show, where our 2013 St Andrews Riesling and the 2012 Estate Pinot Gris did us proud, both scooping Gold from a strong domestic pool.

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Taking it to the world

And so the year began to gain momentum, with competitions from France to China becoming opportunities for us to showcase our passion for winemaking. In the case of China, it became clear that this growing and discerning market of wine lovers was attuned to our dedication. For example, at the China Wine and Spirits Awards, our 2010 Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet not only took out a Double Gold for value – but also the Trophy for Australian Wine of the Year. These CWSA awards are among the largest and most prestigious in China. From our humble winery in Auburn to this kind of world recognition, well it can make you pause for a moment to catch your breath! And the whirlwind of awards overseas didn’t pause in Asia – the highly competitive Michelangelo International Wine Awards in South Africa also bestowed Gold upon our beloved 2012 St Andrews Shiraz. It’s a gracious nod from one antipodean winemaking country to another – and we’re delighted to accept.

A European flavour

You’ll probably understand that we get a little nervous about entering our wines in European shows – particularly in traditional wine growing regions. So as 2014 soared along and we headed back to Europe, we were thrilled to see our wines receive accolades from some of the most prestigious wine competitions. A notable highlight was being awarded not one but seven Gold in the AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge! This remarkable event is the largest officially recognised wine show in the world, so we were understandably proud of how our premium Australian offerings fared. Heading north, our 2012 Cab Savs from the Jaraman and Estate ranges, plus the 2013 St Andrews Chardonnay, all claimed Gold in Belgium. The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is one of the biggest European wine competitions, with the jury being selected exclusively from within the wine profession. And then back down south from there in Switzerland, both the Taylors Estate 2013 Pinot Noir and the Taylors Estate Pinot Gris 2013 were awarded Gold at the prestigious Mondial des Pinots competition. Even France joined in the excitement, with the Vinalies Internationales Paris seeing our 2012 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon stride away with a coveted Gold medal. Mon Dieu!

American dreams

Part of the New World collection of winemakers just like Australia, both the USA and Canada take winemaking very seriously. So when it comes to international competitions, we always know that we’re facing some strong contenders from across the Pacific. But that friendly rivalry didn’t seem to break our stride throughout 2014. The Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition saw us not only take home four Gold, but also Best in Class for the 2013 Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet. One of the most prestigious of the USA’s wine competitions, the LA event has been running for more than 75 years. More Gold then came via both the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the New World Wine Awards. And the American Wine Society bestowed the coveted Double Gold upon our 2012 St Andrews Shiraz. Particularly exciting for us, the San Diego International Wine Competition brought a well-earned Platinum medal for the 2013 Taylors Estate Shiraz. Now, heading over to the East Coast, the World Value Wine Challenge in Boston paid homage to our key convergence of quality and value for consumers: there, we were delighted to receive Gold and Best Buy for a suite of our 2013 vintage wines, confirming our commitment to making premium wines that are accessible to all.

And we have to say that we were especially privileged to be named Clare Valley Winery of The Year at the New York International Wine Competition. Our beautiful valley and winery, out there in full view of the world. Lovely stuff.

No place like home

Back home in Australia, we headed on over to the Rutherglen Wine Show. Now, it might seem to some like just a small country event – but don’t let appearances fool you. Those in the know understand that the Rutherglen Wine Show has a 125-year heritage, with judging that is well known for its intense rigour. Five panels of three judges each provide a score, followed by further judging by an independent associate, whose score is then combined with the others to establish an overall mark. It’s great to return to Australia after a whirlwind year and know that while international acclaim is terrific, the esteem of locals is also greatly appreciated. So when a local show like Rutherglen acknowledges our 2013 Eighty Acres Shiraz Viognier with a Gold medal – it makes the year’s overall achievements that much sweeter. Other local acknowledgement came at the prestigious Melbourne International Wine Competition, where the 2012 St Andrews Shiraz also brought home the Gold for Taylors. And still within the Victorian capital, the 2014 St Andrews Riesling earned not just Gold at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show – but also the Trophy for Best Riesling.

When the industry awards flow in as recognition of our ongoing labours at Taylors, it certainly puts a spring in our step! But it’s no secret that our passion for delivering exceptional wine would go on regardless of any particular acclaim. Sometimes, the greatest reward is just knowing that lovers of good wine are simply being treated to the fruits of our hard work and never-ending innovation.

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Although we can sometimes become a little obsessed with creating our premium wines, here at Taylors we’re also very passionate about giving back to the community and being involved in key Australian events. One of those events is the Australian Open. This prestigious golfing event brings together the cream of the crop in international talent – and also helps to put the spotlight on Australian sport and tourism. Attracting elite sportspeople and fans alike, this esteemed gathering of international talent has a 110-year history, with the first competitors teeing off in 1904. It’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of this fantastic golfing occasion.

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Playing our part

Since 2007, Taylors Wines has been the official wine sponsor of the Australian Open. It certainly provides us with a sterling opportunity to be part of one of the world’s premier elite sporting competitions. First, we are able to provide golfers, officials and spectators with our exclusive premium wines throughout the event. Further, sponsorship helps us give back to a part of Australian culture that helps to define us: a love of the great outdoors and of sports in particular. Our contribution also forms part of the support given to the young up-and-comers in Australian golf.  We feel so lucky to be able to contribute our energy and our premium products to such an iconic Aussie event, which is a true gem on the national sporting calendar.

The St. Andrews link

It probably comes as no great surprise that the St. Andrews range is a key feature of our offerings at the Open. What synchronicity! We think back to the two Scottish gents who first developed our land here in the Clare in the 19th century. As a nod to this heritage, our St. Andrews range echoes these beginnings in our wine collection. And considering that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews Scotland has hosted this noble sport since 1754, it’s easy to see that Taylors Wines and the Australian Open Golf Championship were always going to have a special connection. Prestige golf and premium Taylors Wines – a perfectly natural match!

Australian golfing heritage

In 2014, competitors in the Australian Open will have the opportunity to play at the picturesque Australian Golf Club in Sydney – Australia’s oldest golf club (although the Royal Melbourne has had a few choice words to say about that over the years!). Australian golfers and international guests will enjoy playing on the beautiful course at Rosebery, which is a mere six kilometres from the Sydney CBD. But when swinging the clubs out on that lush, rolling course, well – the city could be a million miles away. With the cooling breezes that typify Sydney’s eastern suburbs plus the outstanding heritage venue, the Australian Golf Club will form the perfect backdrop for a hard-fought Open Golf Championship.

The pleasures of summer

We know that both throughout the competition and at day’s end, players and spectators alike will be looking for sustaining gourmet treats and refreshing beverages. And of course we’re well equipped to assist with the latter! Being held in late November this year, the Australian Open Golf Championship will certainly provide for thirsty work over the sunny Sydney grounds. For canapés and entrees, we’re looking forward to presenting some of our favourite premium whites to spectators throughout the rounds. Perfectly chilled, our trophy-winning St Andrews Riesling 2014 represents the type of crisp, citrus-flavoured refreshment that will undoubtedly provide the ideal foil for the summer heat.  Throughout the Australian Open Golf Championship, we will be doing everything that we can to make Australia proud, showcasing just what a family-run winery from the Clare Valley can bring to the table. With all that tense and nail-biting competition taking up most days of the Open, it’s the least we can do to provide a little refreshing relief.

Ah, memories…

On that final day of the Championship – which happens to also be St. Andrews Day and also marks the triumphant end to the official PGA tour – there can only be one golfer who gets the chance to hold the Stonehaven Cup high in victory. Yet it’s great to know that a thrilling and exciting time will be had by all, both on and off the course. As the spectators dissipate back to their everyday lives, memories will be carried home of outstanding golf, perfect weather and of course – the best examples of premium Australian wines.

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Shiraz is undoubtedly one of our favourite varieties here at Taylors Wines. There’s a luscious allure to this ancient red, which has the ability to either stand in magnificent solitude or to blend with others in perfect symmetry. Botanical genealogy traces the first Shiraz (or Syrah) vines to the pairing of two obscure grapes in the Rhone region of south-east France. It was in the upper segment of the Rhone that Shiraz first blossomed in winemaking, with vintners from 500BC onwards discovering the deliciously round and fruit-focused flavours of this versatile red wine. Folklore, however, would have us see the precious Shiraz vine being spirited back from the same-named Persian city during the Crusades circa 1200AD – prized spoils from the East as it were. But genetic science doesn’t tend to back up this rather romantic version of Shiraz’s provenance. Still, you never know for sure in wine lore!

All we know is that at Taylors, we’re eternally thrilled about the multifaceted nature of this classic red grape, and the potential for continued innovations with Shiraz across our ranges. Whatever the ancient past, we do know that one James Busby brought the first Shiraz cuttings out to Australia in 1832. This undoubtedly began the nation’s love affair with the hardy, deep purple grape.  And to that we say – thank you, Mr Busby!

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A Maestro among reds

Shiraz is a flexible, elegant and deeply rewarding wine variety. Due to the depth of alluring aromas and complexity in the mouth, this commanding red certainly holds its own as a single varietal. Take for instance our 2013 Estate Shiraz, which recently garnered a Platinum Medal in The Winemakers’ Challenge International Wine Competition over in San Diego. Here we see the fruits of the 2013 season deliver a wine with dark ruby hues, rich, ripe fruit and mocha flavours. In service to the fruit-led flavour integrity of Shiraz, we focused upon those vinification techniques that intrinsically highlight the raw beauty of this hardy purple grape: initial stainless steel tank fermentation for most along with open barrel fermentation for the prestigious St. Andrews shiraz and dual-source oak fermentation, just to name a few.

Shiraz is an equally remarkable performer as part of a blended red wine. In fact, across the centuries, winemakers have discovered that the robust, fruit-filled character and supple tannins of Shiraz are effective in balancing the lighter character of many other varietals. Like the best of musicians, Shiraz is commanding in all situations – whether working as a solo wine or as part of a well-orchestrated blend.

In our award-winning 2013 Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet for example, the rich plums and spice of Shiraz work beautifully in concert with the lighter body and herbaceous aromas offered by the Cabernet. In this and other blends utilising Shiraz, we look for complementary natures – lightness to counter rich depth, heady fruit aromas as a counterpoint to lengthy tannins – in order to offer wine lovers the perfect combination of profiles.

The temperature of… which room?

It’s important to clear up some common misconceptions around the ‘right’ way to enjoy a flavoursome red like Shiraz. First, in warm countries like Australia – room temperature is a bit of a misnomer. Shiraz is best served around 12-15 degrees Celsius, to get just the right balance between taste elements, aromas and refreshment. It’s the average medieval food hall temperature, apparently! That means on a nice warm spring day such as in Queensland, you’ll almost certainly need to create some cooling action before serving your delicious Shiraz. And unless you are specifically enjoying a sparkling Shiraz, try to also make sure that your Shiraz isn’t too chilled down. There’s simply too much fruity, spicy goodness that can be missed if this red isn’t at the right serving temperature. And we truly don’t want that because, among other things, you might not reap the benefits of matching Shiraz with a diverse range of cuisines.

A gourmet serenade

Ok, so there are certain clichés around the ‘right’ way to food match a character-filled red like Shiraz – ‘it’s red, so you must choose dark meats’ or ‘it’s flavour-filled, so the meal should be very flavoursome too’. Look, this thinking isn’t without some merit. And you can certainly get some terrific matches happening between Shiraz and dark meat dishes such as BBQ beef, Hungarian goulash and so on. Yet it pays to push the envelope with Shiraz in order to expand your repertoire of brilliantly matched food options. For example, Cajun-style bouillabaisse has enough spicy depths to heighten Shiraz’s peppery palate. And it’s not unknown at Christmas time to find a glass of delicious ruby-hued, cassis-driven Shiraz working companionably beside a rich and plummy fruitcake. Just think round texture, luscious berries and a long warm finish whenever considering the perfect food companion for your Shiraz.

And as for the red/white meat rule? Well, let’s just say that a clove-studded turkey or red Malay chicken curry would both welcome your Clare Valley Shiraz with open arms. And because of the many nuances of plum, berries, chocolate, pepper, tobacco and mocha that Shiraz can present, you would also be forgiven for skipping dessert, and simply savouring a luscious glass with that special someone at the meal’s end instead. Food matching problem solved!

At the winery we love knowing when a fresh batch of purplish Shiraz is coming in, filled with fruity complexity. Single varietal? A blend of reds? Either way – our winemakers jump at the chance to get working with the deep colours and full characters of Shiraz, in order to deliver a premium drop to discerning lovers of a great Australian red.

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