Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

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.

best-riesling-award

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.

clinton-clare-valley-award

Read Full Post »

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.

Golf 3

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.

EK_AUS_OPEN_1

Read Full Post »

You’ve no doubt noticed those proud little seahorses floating on the label of one of our wine ranges. Grouped as three, the seahorses represent the hard work and camaraderie of the first three generations of winemakers in the Taylor family. And they also remind us of something uniquely beautiful and kind of odd – seahorse fossils found deep inland! In paying our dues to this quirky little creature, we chose the name ‘Jaraman’ for one of our classic ranges here at Taylors Wines. Here’s a little of the back story…

seahorse_lighter

Small fossil, big possibilities

Surprised and intrigued to find tiny fossilised seahorses when digging our first dam, we were reminded to always note all the little details of our land – viticulture 101! Those little fossils confirmed that a prehistoric inland sea had certainly swept across our currently landlocked acres, during some distant epoch.

The soil’s maritime history weaves terrific benefits throughout every vintage, because where there’s been ocean, you tend to get limestone… And what does aged limestone often leave behind? Rich terra rossa soil of course! Vine heaven!

The word Jaraman derives from an Aboriginal term for ‘horse’ that is found within a number of Australian Aboriginal languages and dialect groups. Just as we cherish the land that we work on, we also think it’s appropriate to recall the original custodians of this stunning Clare Valley soil.

 

taylors-logo-1

It might seem a small symbol, but our long-lived seahorse represents our combined responsibilities – to history, to the land, and to one family’s combined potential. We’re not the only ones drawn to the unusual magic of the seahorse logo – our wine packaging has actually been noted in recent awards for its elegance and appeal.

When two become one

Our Jaraman range of wines involves locating superior fruit parcels of one varietal, sourced from two distinct Australian growing areas. The mingling and vinification of these two contributory grape lots is then artfully orchestrated at our winery by our winemakers. History demonstrates that clan discussions, betrothal meetings and cross-tribal interactions between humans have been occurring throughout the lands of the Clare Valley for 40,000+ years. In that vein, we enjoy crafting the Jaraman range as a symbol of unions; the bringing together of two pristine grape sources from varying climes, in order to see what special chemistry might evolve at the hands of our winemakers. And the regions chosen are certainly diverse.

We source premium fruit from wine districts both near and far, such as Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Eden Valley, Coonawarra, Yarra Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Each presents iconic wine growing credentials, each has a unique terroir to work with.

IMG_7837

Perfect fusions

And how do we go about uniting the best grapes from two distinct and iconic growing areas, in order to create a unique Jaraman vintage? The process is far from random. In relation to the grapes that we choose for vinification, we avidly watch the growing season of each potential wine region. Catching up regularly with our regional growers, we’re able to gauge issues of quality and fruit compatibility. Once the best potential produce is secured, we move to the winery itself, ready to bring a Jaraman creation to life. Our special winemaking techniques are directed towards preserving the unique style and character of each fruit parcel, while also creating an end result that is so much more than the sum of its parts. And this can involve last-minute modifications to vinification and fermentation techniques, in order to enhance and/or or balance the features of each region’s grapes for that year. But that’s part of the creative challenge that we simply love. We’ve learned to note the little things, to innovate as we go along, and to honour the produce as it is presented for that vintage.

A case in point

Take for example the Jaraman 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Utilising a deliberate combination of 72% Clare Valley grapes plus 28% from the Coonawarra region, our winemakers set to work developing a portrait of the particular conditions and nuances of the 2012 vintage. Our winemakers were keenly aware of the lengthy dryness in the Coonawarra 2012 season, followed by fairly marked diurnal temperatures shortly before harvest. This unexpected combination worked perfectly to develop and perfectly preserve residual sugars, before moving into a perfect slow ripening. With more benign growing conditions occurring over here in the Clare that year, handy late rains helped to ensure remarkable depths of flavour and colour during ripening. Both regions exhibited low yield, yet notable quality in available fruit, setting the stage for a Jaraman fusion of uncompromising distinction.

Pouring dark and purple-rimmed, with intense flavours of cassis and smoky choc-mint, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon demonstrates the merit and beauty to be found in marrying fruit from separate iconic wine regions. With deep varietal integrity plus lengthy and elegant tannins – this is a Jaraman offering both for now, and for years to come.

Unique unions

As we noted, we don’t just put any old two parcels of fruit together for the purposes of a Jaraman vintage. We look to diverse and distinct regions in order to ascertain the best available fruit in a given year. The Jaraman range provides an opportunity for single-source fruit to be lengthened and enhanced by the features of a sister wine region. In this way, overt ripeness can be better defined with flint, paler colour with richer hues, and thin mouth-feel can be rounded out by another region’s complexity.

Our winemakers cherish the chance to take two beautiful parcels of fruit in order to create an alchemy that is somehow familiar, yet in many ways new. In a land of diversity and geographical isolation, we’re privileged to bring differences together, to create the best wine marriages possible through the Jaraman range.

blog-jaraman

Read Full Post »

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be releasing the next vintage of Taylors Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – the 2013.  The wine has developed a ‘cult following’ since the first vintage release – the ’73.  Back then, the Taylor family were convinced the terroir of our Clare Valley estate could produce red wines of a pedigree to match those from the ‘old-world’ vineyards of Europe.  Taylors also released a Shiraz in 1973 but it was known as ‘Hermitage’ back then.  Whilst the Cabernet Sauvignon is the great love for Bill Taylor, Shiraz is a quintessential Aussie wine and a firm favourite of the general populous.  When Taylors decided to also plant some Merlot in 1995, the trinity was complete.  Over the last 45 years, Taylors has really become synonymous with quality red wines which is probably why our special cellar door Red Hot Red pack is such a popular item.

Taylors Red Hot Red pack

Taylors Red Hot Red pack

The pack contains a bottle each of the Taylors Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the Shiraz and the Merlot and is a fine way to compare and contrast the individual natures of these three noble varieties.  The pack was created to celebrate the launch of the first vintage release of Taylors Estate Merlot – the ’98.  It caused quite a sensation and our phone rang hot with retailers calling to order the new packs.  It was kind of fitting that the Red Hot Red pack was first available in the year 2000; it was a new millennium and it also marked a real shift in the winemaking approach for these red wine favourites.  At that time, a new winemaker had joined the ranks, one Adam Eggins, who brought with him a new philosophy borne out of many years’ experience in crafting champagne and sparkling wine; ‘respect the fruit’.  It was an ‘old world’ philosophy that valued keeping the fruit in as pristine condition as possible, handling the fruit gently to minimise maceration and contact with unwanted phenolic characters – particularly those from stalk tannins.  The first thing he did was to order the removal of all crushers from the winery.  Taylors would only de-stem, there was to be no more crushing of grapes!  The idea was to try to get as many whole berries into the fermenters as possible, thereby avoiding the juice coming into contact with these unwanted phenolic or bitter tannins.  The effect of this major operational grape processing change was noticed almost immediately by the wine judges and the gold medals and trophies started rolling in.  The Taylor family, spurred on by positive international success, funded a winery expansion project in 2007 and the new facility was processing grapes in 2010 with every facet engineered to protect and preserve the quality of the grape.  The result of this innovation has been the ability of our winemaking team to craft world-class wines that have continued to enjoy much international acclaim.

At the time of writing, the wines contained within the Red Hot Red pack; The Taylors Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the Shiraz and the Merlot have amassed a collective total of 118 gold medals, 15 trophies, 3 platinum medals, and 975 other awards, including Category Champion, Judge’s Choice, and Outstanding Value awards.  These wonderful endorsements demonstrate the success of this simple but unerring commitment to the ‘respect the fruit’ philosophy and to crafting outstanding wines of the highest possible quality and style; all for our pleasure and enjoyment…..how wonderful!

Read Full Post »

The first grapevines were brought to Australia with the first fleet and planted in NSW but how has the face of Australian wine changed since this time?  Here’s a little infographic that we have put together at Taylors to show the progress of the Australian Wine Industry

The Progress of the Australian Wine Industry

The Progress of the Australian Wine Industry

Read Full Post »

The last few months have been a whirlwind when it comes to wine show awards.  Late in May we were informed that our wines had done extremely well in New York at the Ultimate Wine Challenge.  Our St Andrews Shiraz 2006, (awarded 93 points) took out the Chairman’s Trophy for “Best Shiraz/Syrah – World’ – quite an achievement! 

In California gold medals were also flowing for our wines. At the West Coast Wine Competition, the Taylors Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 received gold.  The competition, held in Healdsburg, California draws entries from the US, Canada, South America, Australia & New Zealand.  At the Riverside International Wine Competition where 48 judges evaluated more than 1930 wines at South Coast Resort in Temecula, California, the Taylors Estate Chardonnay 2009 and the Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet 2008 also received gold medals.  Soon after the results for the Los Angeles International Wine Competition were announced and it was a case of gold, gold, gold for our Taylors Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2009, our Taylors Estate Shiraz 2008 and our Promised Land Unwooded Chardonnay 2009.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic, our St Andrews Chardonnay 2008 & Jararman Shiraz 2009 picked up gold at the Concours Mondial held in Luxembourg whilst our Taylors Estate Shiraz 2009 was also awarded gold at the prestigious Syrah Du Monde held in France.

What is very apparent in all this award excitement is that there are no ‘heroes’ in our portfolio and the high quality of our wines span each of the ranges – from Promised Land to St Andrews, every wine’s a winner.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »