About the Wine
In 1969, after a considerable search, the Taylor family found a promising 178-hectare site by the Wakefield River in the Clare Valley. They were certain the soil – Terra Rossa (red loam over limestone) – would prove conducive to crafting wines of the highest quality. The contrast of warm days and cool nights in the Clare Valley would be equally beneficial – helping the grapes ripen in the day and allowing the vines to rest at night.
Wakefield’s goal is to be Australia’s top wine company, applying best practice principles in environmental management to enhance sustainable business activities and products. Favoring use of the most innovative techniques available, the winery strives to improve energy efficiency, water conservation and packaging.
The top Shiraz of the estate, The Pioneer, celebrates the innovative spirit of founder, Bill Taylor, who had conviction to do things differently, including planting Shiraz at a time when the varietal was only just emerging in popularity. It is made only in exceptional vintages and harvested from top estate parcels.
Aging: Matured in American oak barrels; 40% new. After 12 months of aging, a careful barrel selection is made to identify the best ones, destined for this bottling. The selected few are aged for an additional 10 months prior to bottling.
Tasting Notes: 100% Shiraz. A vibrant, mid-dense purple crimson with a deep, black cherry-skin core. This wine is generous and rounded at first with juicy, deep berry compote fruits then yielding to a tightly woven frame of firm yet generous tannins. There are alluring, coconutty oak and fine dark chocolate characters, with a deep, soft center of ripe berry fruits. Elegant acids and light, long tannins carry the palate to deliver a lingering finish.
Collectors take note -- this is a wine for the ages. That said, it's so good now that it may never make it to your grandchild's college graduation party. Everything is neatly in its place here, with no protruding sharp edges or "look at me" characteristics. Rich black cherry and berry fruit mixed with mint, dark chocolate and warm spice ride a wave of supple tannins through an incredibly long finish. I'm a fan of wines for the table, but I don't think I'd put any edibles alongside this bottle. Absolutely riveting Shiraz. ~98 Rich Cook
Australia has its share of impressive wines and I would submit the Taylor family's The Pioneer Shiraz is positioned to take its place alongside the likes of Grange and other better-known powerhouse reds from Down Under. This suave, supple Shiraz offers richly layered aromas of blackberry, blueberry and raspberry, with a hint of mocha and spice. It is exquisitely balanced and refined, that rare wine that literally stops you in your tracks upon the first sip. It is an astonishing winemaking achievement and the Taylor family deserves the kudos. ~97 Wine Reviews Online
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