Victoria's Tasting Table
Wine is an all encompassing life-long study: buy a bottle, pour a glass, look at the colour, savour the bouquet then taste. Where is it from? The country – the area, the climate, the soil, the people. And then for me the special question. What dish can I serve it with? I have been a passionate cook forever but over the last two decades that last question has fascinated me and I just had to learn more. My studies took me to Plumpton College where I gained an advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust. Plumpton may only be a short distance from my home but since then the study of wine has led me around the world: throughout every wine-making area in Europe; likewise Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. On the home front I am presently the Vice-Chairperson of the Eastbourne Wine Society and belong to several other wine clubs across Sussex. I do enjoy presenting wines, talking at length about them and hoping to enthuse others to become devotees and connoisseurs!
I love calling in to Hailsham Cellars – almost on my doorstep – from time to time. I am in my element just looking at the mind-blowing range of wines along the shelves and in the warehouse. As one of the few independent wine merchants around, they get many visits from overseas winemakers so it is a treat to get that special phone call “Victoria, can you pop in next ………..?”
I don’t think there is a single wine style that I do not appreciate but, if you push me, then I will have to admit to a long-standing love of sparkling and dessert wines. Now you know!
Taste is such a personal experience but I hope to introduce you to and tell you about some really interesting wines over the next few months and, if you allow me, to make some suggestions as to which wine would nicely match the particular dish you are preparing.
Love the wine, and love from Victoria South to all our friends around the world!
Cheers! • 干杯 • Na zdrowie! • Skål! • à votre santé! • Prost! • zum wohl! • Sláinte! • Lechyd da! • Gesondheit! • Salute! • Na • zdravi! • ΥΓΕΙΑ!
This time on the table:
Wakefield is a real family business, one of its winemaker is Mitchell Taylor, but the story of Wakefield began three generations ago with Bill Taylor Senior and his two sons, Bill and John. They were wine merchants in Sydney and all were passionate about wine, especially red Bordeaux, and this shared enthusiasm inspired then to want to make wines of their own - in fact, it was a 1966 Chateau Mouton Rothschild that motivated them to make the finest Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia!
In 1969, after a considerable search for land suitable for planting a vineyard, they found a 178 hectare site by the Wakefield River in the Clare Valley. The Clare Valley is characterised by warm days and cool nights – ideal for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to perfection. Additionally, this plot’s soil was red brown loam over limestone – this is now commonly called Terra Rossa, and is famous for making wines with more weight, firmer structure and intense flavours, but at the time its special properties were not fully understood in Australia. However, the Taylors were convinced that this soil type would prove favourable to the production of quality wines.
Their vision and conviction was proved right when, in 1973 they entered their first vintage release in the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, and won the coveted Montgomery Trophy for the best red wine in show – and the accolades kept on coming – that same wine won a gold medal at every national show it was entered in!
Known as Taylors Wines in Australia, Wakefield’s symbol is the seahorse – during excavation of the vineyards dam the fossilised remains of tiny seahorses were found in the bedrock, proving that the area had once been the bed of an ancient inland sea. This discovery led them to adopt the seahorse to represent their wines – you will find three seahorses on every bottle of Wakefield wine, not just as a mark of quality, but as a tribute to the three generations of Wakefield winemakers.
Wakefield are true innovators - they were the first Australian winery to only use screw cap closures. They now have a portfolio featuring eight different ranges and their dedication to producing wines with unmatched style and quality has resulted in several of them [Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz] holding the distinction of being the most awarded single varietal wines in the world - and their Jaraman Shiraz has the prestigious honour of being the most awarded wine in the world – a title their St. Andrews Shiraz has also held!
This year Wakefield has once again been awarded the highest ranking permissible for an Australian winery – the coveted 5 stars by leading Australian wine writer James Halliday, and now it is officially the worlds most awarded winery! I urge you to try these legendary wines - iconic not just in Australia, but worldwide!