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Archive for the ‘Jaraman’ 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.

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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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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…

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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