Review: Wines of Wakefield
Wakefield Winery is actually Taylors Winery, but they are not permitted to use the family name in much of the Northern Hemisphere due to trademark restrictions. Located in the Clare Valley of South Australia, the winery was opened in 1969 by Bill Taylor Sr. and his sons Bill Jr. and John, and the family still runs the winery today. Their first major wine was a Cabernet Sauvignon which drew immediate praise, and they offer a broad range of varieties and tiers today. Below please find reviews of a range of their offerings drawn from across the winery’s portfolio.
2016 Wakefield St. Andrews Riesling – In the past, I have described wines as “tart” and having “bracing acidity,” but I don’t think I fully appreciated the terms until trying this Riesling. It is almost too much. But when the wine is coupled with food (I tried it with spicy Indian food), it comes alive. The wine presents lemon and subtle apple on the nose. The lemon notes continue on the palate along with sharp acidity, fine minerality, and a touch of peach. The wine is bright and citrusy, but absolutely dry. St. Andrews Riesling is enjoyable now but still very tight. I wonder how much better it will get with a few years of aging. B+ / $40
2016 Wakefield Promised Land Unwooded Chardonnay – On the nose, this wine presents aromas of apple and a light touch of lemon. The palate follows suit, but a touch of bitterness appears. With food, the bitterness disappears as the wine’s fine acidity steps forward. This wine is best enjoyed with food, and it would pair nicely with a wide range of possibilities. For me, a little cheese and crackers worked perfectly. B / $13
2015 Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz – South Australia is renowned for Shiraz, and Wakefield’s Jaraman Shiraz is a fine example of it. The wine pours a deep, dark purple. The nose is reserved, presenting subtle aromas of wild berries and pepper. The palate is much more assertive, offering lush blueberry and black cherry along with black pepper, some dusty chocolate, and medium tannins. The wine is fruity but completely dry, and the finish is long and enjoyable. This wine drinks fine by itself but really shines with food. A- / $30
2015 Wakefield Estate Shiraz – South Australia offers some of the most enjoyable bargain bottles of Shiraz you can find, and Wakefield’s lower-end Estate Shiraz shows why. On the nose and palate, this wine offers ripe plum and blackberry. Flavors of tart cherry and gentle tannins also appear. Very approachable, this wine is enjoyable with or without food. B / $17
2015 Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – This is a juicy, fruity wine on the nose, with lots of ripe plum accompanied by a touch of mint. The lush plum carries forward into the palate, but is restrained by just the right amount of tannin. The finish is surprisingly dry for such a fruity wine and just a little bit astringent. This is an excellent value Cabernet, showing richness and depth at an affordable price. B+ / $17
2015 Wakefield Estate Merlot – Merlot rarely comes to mind when one considers the wines of South Australia, but Wakefield Estate Merlot is solid. When first opened, the nose was fairly tight. Allowed to sit for an hour, it revealed cherry and spice aromas. On the palate, the wine was more expressive, presenting black cherry, cinnamon, a touch of chocolate, and soft tannins. The finish is quite enjoyable as the flavors slowly fade but never turn bitter. B / $17