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Archive for October, 2015

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You can only imagine how delighted we are to be the official wine partner for our barnstorming Australian rugby union team, the Wallabies. Our three-generation family winery has a strong love of and connection with rugby union, with a number of family members having taken to the footy field from an early age. Across team functions and games, we now have the exciting opportunity to proudly showcase and share our premium Clare Valley wines with both the sporting and wider worlds. As sponsor and supplier for the next three years, we’ll gladly rise to the challenge of being a key member of the Wallabies prestigious sponsorship team.

There are a number of reasons why we think that we are the perfect corporate teammate for the Wallabies. For a start – both partners know what it means to work hard, with quiet determination and an eye to both the short and longer term. Secondly, just as Australia’s premier rugby team represents the peak of excellence in its special niche, at Taylors Wines it’s our enduring attention to quality that has helped carve out an award-winning place in the field of Australian premium wine.

A day-to-day passion

Now we’re not shy about the fact that we have won multiple awards each year for our range of exceptional Australian wines. Of course it’s terrific to have our hard work recognised! But it’s not just about winning prizes. The passion that gets us out of bed each morning is more to do with wanting to constantly refine, develop and perfect the Taylors Wines range. From the precise monitoring and nurturing of our vineyards to the quiet hard work of our viniculturists, each of us here at Taylors Wines draws incredible satisfaction from our part in the process of creating the best wines possible. And for the elite rugby union players making up the hard-working Wallabies team, you can similarly sense that determination and focus on achieving the greatest results. Players know that for each no-fanfare practice session, for each routine stretching exercise on the dewy morning grass, for each pre-game early night’s sleep, there is just that little ‘something extra’ that gets added to their ongoing form.

Innovating for excellence

There’s no room for show-ponies in a team situation. Sure, it’s absolutely breathtaking for Australian rugby union fans to watch Ashley-Cooper glide effortlessly across a World Cup try line… Yet everyone in the team realises that the glory contained in that pinnacle moment is backed by intricate support roles and strategising sessions that include the entire team. For each play on the rugby field – successful or otherwise – forensic questions always await in the wash-up. Such as…What was it about that defensive opening that created such a magical opportunity for the winger? What exactly happened in that third ruck? How can we reduce needless fumbles mid-field? And so on. Because the desire in each Wallaby is to strive for that slight innovation, that extra winning edge that will benefit the team as a whole.

Here at Taylors Wines we’re also relentless in our pursuit of excellence in the field of premium wine creation. Never comfortable resting on our laurels, we’re lucky enough to be able to combine decades of family winemaking with deep investment in innovative winemaking techniques. We care so much about continuous improvement and the search for new ideas that we’ve actually dedicated a portion of our fruit bundles, time and winemaker talents to creating special small-batch wines under our TWP label – The Winemakers Project. We know that in order to get the very best from our elite winemakers we need to give them a little room to spread their wings, creating beautiful wines and new techniques in the process.

Something bigger than ourselves

It’s fair to say that there’s tremendous joy in being able to partner with an Australian sports team as talented and iconic as the Wallabies. Over the next three years we’re planning an exciting range of sponsorship initiatives, working to make each Wallabies game and function as memorable as possible.

If you see us at matches, be sure to stop by and have a chat about our commitment to creating outstanding Australian wine. We know from experience that there’s a passion and joy in being part of a cause or event that’s bigger than yourself. We’re delighted to help support Australia’s national rugby union squad, by bringing that touch of something special to future matches and events.

As dedicated regional producers from down in the Clare Valley, we know that we’re privileged to be able to run that special Australian grape-growing soil through our fingers regularly. Now, we have the opportunity to bring the spirit of the country to the city, as Australia watches the giants of rugby union strive for excellence on the World Cup pitch.

And for each BBQ, drinks event and any post-game function hosted by rugby union fans, we have some absolutely brilliant ideas for pairing our premium Taylors wines perfectly over the Wallabies’ season. Watch this space!

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Serving wine at the ‘right’ temperature can sometimes seem like one of those snobby wine issues which, at the end of the day, doesn’t matter an awful lot. Surely the act of simply chilling whites and serving reds at room temperature will get you within the ballpark of acceptable? This basic rule is certainly a sound starting point for mastering wine temperature. There are however, a few other easy steps you can take to increase the enjoyment of your wine. For this reason, we’ve put together our three best tips for refining your wine temperature strategy – understand, prepare and explain.

Understand the bottle in your hand

So what wine are you drinking? That’s the first thing you should consider before serving your favourite drop at just the right temperature. Whether white, red, rosé, sparkling or somewhere in between, take some time to brush up on the key characteristics of this drop. Why? Well for one thing, you’re more likely to get on board with wine temperature ‘rules’ if you have a stronger understanding of the unique characteristics that are at stake. You want to make the most of your wine and to ensure that you and your guests enjoy the nuances inside each bottle. Secondly, we’ve talked previously on the blog about the etiquette of being a thoughtful host. And there’s nothing lovelier than being handed a glass of premium wine by your host, with all of the best aromatic, textural and flavour profiles maintained via optimal serving temperature.

So take a look at your label and any online tasting notes you can gather to get to know the facts and features of the bottle in hand. Are berry aromatics promised? Flavours of citrus or stone fruit? Are you awaiting supple, elegant tannins? Keep this information in mind as you prepare to establish just the right serving temperature for each unique wine. Taylors Wines Optimum Drinking Temperature guide – in most cases this will be lower for sparkling and whites (approximately 6-12°C) and slightly higher for the medium-to-heavy reds (approximately 14-18°C). Once you get the hang of knowing the correct serving temperatures, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover the luscious accents that exist in different wines when they are actually served in their ideal range.

Taylors Wines Optimum Drinking Temperature guide

Fridge temperature will simply be too cold – freezing out subtler aromatics and leaving a two-dimensional version of promised characteristics. And ‘room’ temperature, as we will shortly reveal, has mistakenly come to be associated with the room you’re in right now. For us wine loving Aussies, the results can be disappointing to say the least! A soupy warm red characterised only by an overwhelming alcohol taste profile is a sorry situation indeed. But by taking the time to put some simple preparatory measures in place, you can be sure to serve your particular red, white or sparkling at the ideal temperature.

On Being Prepared

So how can you prepare various wines for the ideal serving temperature? Some people will have one or two distinct kinds of good ‘wine luck’: One will be the possession of an intricate (and pricey!) wine refrigeration system that is scientifically designed to keep wines at the perfect temperature for serving, while others will have the good fortune of living in a part of the globe that makes the storage and serving of wine an absolute breeze – think stone cellars in frosty climes.

In fact, it’s well known that the ’room’ temperature idea came from the poorly heated stone dining chambres that the medieval French citizens enjoyed their premium wines. But fear not. For us mere mortals living in the modern era, there are simple and practical methods to help us serve each varietal or blend at the perfect temperature all without expensive or even fancy equipment.

First of all – understand your geography and season. A Chardonnay served in summer in sub-tropical Queensland will be in all sorts of trouble if we pull it straight from our wine ‘cellar’ (or shelf in the pantry as the case might be!) and serve. Flavours will mutate, structure crumbles and nuanced aromatics won’t stand a chance of reaching refinement. Yet throw this same Chardonnay into an icy summer fridge (2-4°C) and you similarly create a disservice as the characters are chilled and flattened into oblivion.

So what to do? You could invest in a wine thermometer or discover an even simpler solution…

At the end of the day we believe that good wine should be all about enjoyment. So –we’re delighted to help, with the inclusion of a temperature gauge now featured on all of our Estate and Promised Land wines.

The new Optimum Drinking Temperature label makes enjoying wine at the right temperature simple – all you have to do is keep an eye on the label’s temperature panel prior to serving, and you can be sure that both you and your guests will enjoy the full freshness and zingy citrus notes of our summery 2015 Taylors Estate Sauvignon Blanc for example.

Assist and explain

You might be one of the first in your circle to tackle the worthy challenge of refining your wine serving temperatures. To avoid seeming just a little precious however, make your new methods a conversation starter that everyone can get involved in. Talk through the possibilities of aromatics and flavour development for a well-served red for example, plus indicate the elements that you’re hoping to detect and delight your guests with. Most people will have heard how ‘room temperature’ can be a tricky concept. Have a chat and swap stories on the challenges involved in preparing wine for the unique Australian climate.

It’s a great opportunity to notice differences and nuances from earlier tastings, plus stir up interest in the fascinating question of serving temperature. And you can see now that there’s nothing snobby about striving for excellent serving methods… It’s all about enhancing and maximising the enjoyment of your wine selections.

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We’ve all heard the pre-function request to “just bring a bottle.” But what exactly is the ‘right’ bottle to present at any given function? Further – will just one bottle be enough? And if the host actually has beverages sorted, would another gift be more appropriate? These and other etiquette quandaries can be overcome with just a little thought and preparation. If in doubt, just remember that etiquette is all about making an effort to put people at their ease. As the early 20th Century etiquette expert Emily Post advised, manners are simply “a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.” By keeping a few basic strategies in mind, you’re sure to make wine selections that will enhance the evening for all concerned.

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Bring a bottle

If you are the host of a relaxed and informal dinner with good mates, this is a perfect example where the simple request to bring a bottle can be used. While some guests will have questions around the menu, it’s best to refrain from being too specific; requesting a ten-year-old cabernet for the main is more than a little presumptuous for a fun get-together! For casual meals, it’s best to just let guests bring whatever delightful wine they like, only mentioning the menu if further information is sought. In any case, have a small premium selection of your own red and whites to add to the evening’s enjoyment.

Note the invitation

As a guest, a great place to start when thinking about giving dinner party wine is the invitation. For example, if this appears to be a fancy affair with a broad range of guests attending, consider presenting a premium bottle or two of Clare Valley wine, with a flavour profile to suit a broad cross-section of palates. Our multi award-winning St Andrews 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect example of a balanced and elegant red that is sure to please both hosts and fellow guests alike. Varietals such as our Taylors Estate Pinot Gris and Merlot are excellent all-round food matchers, no matter the menu.

Other clues on the invitation such as ‘mid-winter feast’ or ‘summer fiesta’ will help to guide you towards a style and quality of wine that will best match the occasion.

The numbers game

Whether to bring one, two or perhaps more bottles of wine to an event can be a tricky path to navigate. For the average dinner party with healthy enjoyment of wine on the cards, a seasonally matched bottle of premium wine per individual guest can be a good starting point. If however you come as a couple and are both known for your ability to quickly savour fine beverages, an added gift for the host or hostess might well be in order!

If you are a generous host who has clearly indicated that all beverages will be supplied, don’t be surprised if some guests still can’t resist the temptation to bring a bottle for you.

There’s no need to fret about what to do with any excess beverages brought to your well-planned do (as we’ll see below). Simply begin the event and work the extra wines into your meal if or when they suit.

But is it really a ‘gift’?

Yes! We can’t state it clearly enough – all wine brought to a dinner party is correctly viewed as a gift for the hosts. Regardless of whether you’ve been dying to sample the delicious white that you brought along, the decision whether or not to open the bottle that evening must be one for the hosts alone. After all – they’ve gone to a lot of trouble to open their home and cook up a storm for their guests. At the dimmest end of wine manners is the retrieving and taking home of wine that you brought along. The fact that your gift wasn’t sampled on the night is no excuse for smuggling it back home.

There is perhaps only one situation where you might understandably hope to partake of the wine that you’ve handed over. If you took the time to ask your hosts about a good wine suggestion for the dinner and received a fairly specific response – such as “a crisp young white for the fish course please,” in most cases you can expect that your contribution will form part of the evening’s repast.

Generous openings

For hosts – even if you clearly indicate that you’ll provide all beverages for the dinner party, be prepared for the fact that some guests will still opt to bring a bottle. It might be the case that you have a nuanced menu with carefully matched wines, which you were planning to reveal as the night proceeds. In this situation, if unanticipated wine gifts are offered it is perfectly acceptable to thank the guest for the gift and place it to one side, ready to enjoy at a later time.

Yet if you later sense that the guest was hoping to include their delicious sticky in the dessert course or they hint that their zesty Riesling is the perfect companion for the soup, sometimes it’s best to simply open the bottle provided. One useful trick is to pepper your carefully crafted wine menu with a best-fit selection of gifted beverages. There’s not much point in looking like the miserly host who likes to hoard their gifts of wine! After all – we’re trying to make everyone welcome and comfortable in the dinner party context, so an extra opened bottle probably isn’t the end of the world.

The gift of giving

The key for both hosts and guests is to err on the side of generosity when it comes to dinner party wine selections.

For guests, keep in mind the kind hospitality of the hosts and look for useful clues in invitations and conversations when making your wine selection. Above all – just let your gift of wine go! If it truly is a gift then it should matter little to you whether it is woven into the dinner party’s beverages or not. And for hosts, be gentle with guests who show excess enthusiasm when it comes to being involved in the wine menu.

While you might have had the event planned months in advance, there’s not much to be gained by coolly avoiding a particular guest’s wine of choice.

At the end of the day, the best gatherings are all about hospitality, great company and enjoyment. By keeping in mind just a few of the dos and don’ts of dinner party wine etiquette, you’re sure to enjoy many memorable dinner parties to come.

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