Neil Hadley MW, who is the Export Manager for Wakefield (or Taylors in Australia) Wines was told that, to integrate into Australian society, he would only stop being English when he started supporting the Aussies in the Ashes, and this year, well over a decade and a half since he emigrated down under, he started supporting the Australians… and they lost!
Another thing that Australians appear to be losing is their way when it comes to shiraz. I’ve written about this before, so when I got the opportunity to have Neil come and do a tasting for my customers, I jumped at the chance to show two grape varieties that, I think, will be the next big thing from Australia – Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. That is not to do a disservice to Wakefield’s Shiraz and Chardonnays, but Cabernet and Riesling are overlooked and I wanted to showcase these great wines.
We started off with the Rieslings and the 2008 Wakefield Estate Riesling. A light, fresh aroma with lots of lime juice, lemon zest and a hint of petrol coming through. There was some orange, with honeycomb wax on the palate, giving a sweet and sour flavour. Nice balance, a touch (and I mean just a touch) too much acid on the finish, but this just amplified the zingy citrus flavours. For £8.99, this is a cracking Riesling that will only benefit from some time in your wine rack. 7.5/10
Then we moved on to the 2007 Wakefield Jaraman Riesling. I have tried the 2005 vintage of this before, and was impressed, and the 2007 vintage is no exception. A very lively nose, lots of sweet honey, melon and petrol, but with an interesting chalk element too. The palate is clean, with citrus marmalade mixing with fresh lemon and then a pithy element on the finish. Flavours just keep coming and overlapping with one another. A really nice wine and whilst I think people will maybe not want to spend £15 on an Australian Riesling, I’d give it a go as you’ll be impressed with this wine. 8/10
The 2005 Wakefield St Andrews Riesling was lovely. Rich lime skin, with heather honey on the nose, but it was a touch cold and so closed. The palate was nice, petroleum hints mixed with Indian lime pickle, dried honey and grapefruit pith. This wine was at the beginning of it’s rebirth as a mature Riesling, so was a little confused as to whether it should be an old wine or a young wine, but nevertheless, this was lovely. 8/10 (and will certainly become 9/10+) and at £17 this should be in everyone’s cellar.
I then opened up one of my 2001 Wakefield St Andrews Rieslings, to show how this wine develops. The nose was very sweet in comparison to the 2005, but also a lot dirtier. Sweet marmalade, some mango mixed with dried citrus peel, and lots of honey on the end of the nose. The palate had honey, dried tropical fruit and lots of lime marmalade, with some sherbert element on the finish. A little disjointed, again, I’d like to see more age on this, but I’m very glad I have a few bottles left! 9/10
There is too often a tendency to go to New Zealand for Riesling as they do it pretty well, but Australia is producing excellent Rieslings for not a lot of cash. Ignoring the different styles for a moment, the St Andrews wines have the same level of quality as some of the top Alsatian producers, and they command much less money. Of these, I’d certainly suggest looking at the Wakefield Estate wine for every day drinking and the St Andrews for putting away for a decade or more. The only problem with the Jaraman is that the St Andrews is a better wine for not a lot more money. The wine itself is very good, but the St Andrews wine just ticks a few more boxes and it is the one I’d buy.
Part 2 – The Cabernet Sauvignons