Wakefield are based in the Clare Valley, a cooler sub region of South Australia known for a generous but elegant style of shiraz. This is a delicious and affordable example, with crunchy blackcurrant and plum flavours, and a spot of black pepper coming through on the finish. Full-bodied but soft, this is a great everyday red.
Product Code: AU19201
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In 1969, Bill Taylor Senior and his sons Bill and John were wine merchants in Sydney, but their passion for their trade spurred them on to find somewhere they could make their own wine. Bill’s initial vision has remained at the core of the Wakefield style: wines inspired by old-world finesse (Bill was greatly influenced by a trip he made to Bordeaux in the 1960s) but with a proudly Australian character. Their first vintage was in 1973, and it won gold medals in every competition in which it was entered, so it isn’t surprising to learn that since then Wakefield wines have won over 4000 awards. Today their estate is part of Australia’s First Families of Wine, and is run by Bill Junior and his three sons: Mitchell, who has been winemaker and managing director since 2000, Justin, who runs marketing and export, and Clinton, who manages operations in the winery. Mitchell is assisted in the winery by Adam Eggins.The estate is named after its position by the Wakefield River, and is located in Auburn, a sub region of the Clare Valley wine region, around 137km north of Adelaide. At 350 metres above sea level, Clare Valley is cooler than the surrounding regions, meaning grapes can remain ripening on the vines for two to four weeks longer than other South Australian wine regions. The Mediterranean climate here consists of warm days to help the grapes to ripen and cool nights to allow them to rest.Wakefield’s 500 hectares of vines are planted with 12 different grape varieties. Cabernet sauvignon and shiraz make up the majority of plantings, but there is also chardonnay, merlot, riesling, semillon, pinot noir, gewürztraminer, pinot gris, viognier and – more recently – tempranillo and carmènere. These are all planted on carefully selected sites: the aromatic whites, for instance, are on eastern slopes to catch the morning sun, whereas the shiraz is found on more gentle, west-facing slopes. The cabernet sauvignon is planted on red-brown loam soil in the sheltered warmth of the river flat, yielding small bunches of tiny berries.Wakefield produces wines at many levels – St Andrew’s wines are made from the oldest vineyards and best plots, the Estate range highlights the variety of wine produced and uses only estate grown grapes. The ‘Promised Land’ wine range highlights the easy fruit driven appeal of South Australian wines, made impeccably with great character, but at ‘everyday’ prices.The new winery opened in 2009, and includes modern equipment like the Pera press, which uses gentler methods to extract purer grape juice. They estate has excellent green credentials, including ISO certification, and its Eighty Acres wine range became the first to be declared carbon neutral. It also took the decision to convert to 100% screwcap closures in 2004.
South Australia (SA) is Australia’s wine heartland, producing most of the country's wine and boasting some of its oldest vines. The dry, hot climate ripens grapes fully, making bold, dense and concentrated wines.The Barossa Valley has a rich viticultural history with patches of bush-trained vines, many more than 100 years old. It is first and foremost a red wine region. Shiraz is king but cabernet sauvignon, grenache and mourvèdre play an important part, too. Close to the Barossa is the Eden Valley, a windswept series of elevated hills producing exceptional shiraz and floral riesling. Just north of the Barossa is the Clare Valley, which represents Australia's pinnacle for riesling, where elevated vineyards temper the intense heat, producing dry whites of immense class and purity. The region’s powerful and muscular reds can be outstanding too. On the coast south of Adelaide is McLaren Vale, which vies with Barossa to be SA's best red-wine region. The climate is warm enough to guarantee lush, chocolatey reds from shiraz, grenache and cabernet, while its strong maritime influence invests elegance in chardonnay, viognier and marsanne. Nearby Langhorne is cooled by the lake and nearby sea, and grows grapes of very good quality at a low cost. These excellent-value wines are marked by a softness and fullness of flavour. The Adelaide Hills area east of the city are cool and provide the perfect ingredients for lemony sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. Coonawarra, further south-east behind the Limestone Coast, is South Australia's leading cabernet region, the unique terra rossa soil and maritime influence producing grapes with intense flavours and fabulous structure.
South Australia had a mixed 2015, with a cool start to the season but a warm finish that meant the harvest came all at once, and some wineries felt the pressure on tank space. Drought pressure continues to be an issue in many parts of SA too. Victoria and Tasmania, meanwhile, had a near perfect vintage, with moderate spring rainfall and a warm summer with no extreme spikes. A dry and cool March lead to a very clean and easy harvest. Western Australia has had a decade of good vintages, but 2015 was a little trickier mainly due to birds devouring the lion’s share of the grapes in some vineyards, and poor flower set thanks to rain or hail. The grapes that did make it to harvest, however, look excellent but yields are significantly down.New South Wales endured an indifferent vintage in the main, with rain at inopportune times. Canberra and Orange were the only areas to report success on any scale, though the best wineries wherever they are will have made the right decisions to achieve the best outcome.
"I found the first bottle a little uninspiring but the second improved my thoughts on this wine. Freely admit to struggling a little with Aussie Shiraz though. I don't think I'd order again but that is more to do with all the choice in this price range."
There are no press reviews for this product.
"The wine notes said it all! A really excellent wine and marked as such in my cellar Spread Sheet. Unfortunately the 2013 vintage seems exhausted but will look out if another excellent Vintage year is made available in 2016/7."
Mr Allan Westrup (18-Jul-2016)
"Beautiful smooth full bodied flavoursome Clare Shiraz. I like benchmark and Billi Billi but this is a class above. A bargain, bring on the 2014."
Dr George Taylor (05-Jul-2015)
"One from my first order and a little disappointed, I ordered 2 bottles so hopefully 2nd will be better but I found this a little bitter and lacking in taste."
Mr Terry Bates (28-Mar-2015)
"As a previously very satisfied customer of this wine producer and also a fan of big Aussie Shiraz I had high hopes, but unfortunately I was very disappointed with this wine. It is of course a "black fruit bombe" as one of the press reviews states, but that's about it. It had very little depth, complexity and was just flabby bland fruit and that almost completely lacked character. At the same time I purchased the similarly priced Grant Burge Benchmark which I humbly submit is a far superior wine."
Mr Paul Everett (23-Jan-2015)
"I'm at odds with the other reviewers here in that I was unimpressed with this shiraz. I can only assume that I had a rogue bottle. A bit sharp and overbearing on first opening and it failed to open up well after breathing. It reminded me of shiraz that I've had from Tesco, where I've been enticed by an offer. Not awful by any stretch but equally not wine that you would wish to actively seek out at its full price. Back to the ever reliable Billi Billi for me.
Mr Jon Milton (31-Oct-2014)
"Impressed with this Clare Valley shiraz; wonderful depth of flavour; good balance of sweetness and spice; really excellent value for under £8."
Mr Michael Cohen (30-Oct-2014)
"Burton Joyce U3A Nottinghamshire wine tasting group voted this the best red wine at our Australian themed wine tasting and BBQ."
Mr Peter Price-Horne (15-Aug-2014)
"Excellent wine at an excellent price."
Mr John D Brookes (12-Aug-2014)
Jewish Telegraph (12th Dec 2014)
"Deep red with a
strong blackcurrant and blackberry nose. Berries and spice with a hint of
chocolate emerge on the palate amid smooth oaky tannins. This is an excellent
buy. - Paul Harris"
Manchester Evening News (29th Nov 2014)
"At the price this is
indeed a wine of the Promised Land from the Taylor winemaking family's first
estate vineyard. An excellent winter-warming Shiraz with vibrant cherry fruit.
Well-balanced and easy drinking pair it with most meaty things or conversation. - Andy Cronshaw"
Liverpool Echo (29th Nov 2014)
"I really loved this
Australian shiraz, described as full of rich varietal fruit and a vibrant
spiciness. For me, a hug of a winter warmer. It's a soft, velvety shiraz, deep
dark and warming with vanilla clouds above a black fruit bombe. No harsh
tannins, smooth all the way. - Jane Clare"
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The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
It is generally accepted that alcohol levels in wine have been increasing in the last 20 years. There are many reasons why, but the single most important factor is the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which have resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.
There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most are intrusive and strip flavour as well as alcohol and we don't buy wines made in this way. In actual fact, more than half of our still table wines have an abv of 13% or less. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.
Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's main components of sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Members should refer to the wine's tasting note for a description of the style and fullness of the wine.
The Society is committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows them to make their own informed choices. An additional figure is beginning to be used on labels: the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content. Thus a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units of alcohol. All new labels of Society and Exhibition wines will include this information. drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork.
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Now to 2016
Ready to drink now but will keep until 2016.
2018 to 2042
We recommend keeping longer before opening. In 2018 it will be ready to drink but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
A non-vintage wine that should be drunk within 12 months.
Within two years of purchase
A non-vintage wine that is ready now but will keep for two years.
As a general rule, most everyday white wines are best enjoyed within a year of purchase, and most everyday reds within two years.
Certain fine wines, however, those with the right structure and balance, have the ability to evolve over time and gain complexity and finer nuances of flavour.
Savouring the wonderfully complex and intense bouquet and flavour of a wine drank at its peak is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures. As with people, the ageing process will vary from wine to wine. Over the years the wine's primary aromas of fresh fruit will develop more complicated and persistent secondary and tertiary aromas. The fruity flavours of, for example, a premier cru white Burgundy will, over time, evolve buttery, toasty and yeast aromas, or fine reds may develop coffee, cedar, tobacco, vegetal, or even 'animal' flavours as they age.
There is much pleasure to be had by experimenting with bottles at different stages of maturity; finding out how a wine evolves with age and, perhaps more importantly, establishing your own preference in terms of taste for mature wine are all part of the interest and excitement of cellaring wine.
The drinking window we provide is a guide to when the wines will be at their best. Many will favour the wines in the youthful early stages of their development; others will enjoy the wines at their most mature.
Decanting is a useful way of softening the tannins, rounding out the flavours and releasing the potential of a young wine. To find out more please visit our Serving Wine guide.
The Society's purpose-built, temperature-controlled Members' Reserves offers members access to optimum storage conditions for their wines.
For more help and advice about how best to enjoy your wines contact us via our enquiry form.
Oak plays a very important role in the production of wine throughout the world. However, the level of oak detectible in a wine can vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the age and size of the barrel and the type of oak used, as well as the length of time the wine is aged in wood. Oak also influences the structure and tannins of the final wine. For wines on our website, we use the following classifications:
This suggests that a wine has either seen no oak at all, or may have been produced using very large, old oak barrels, resulting in a wine that has no taste of oak. Expect these wines to be crisp, fruit-forward and aromatic.
Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
There are many ways that people rate wines, whether it is on the 100 or 20 point scales, 5 stars, 3 glasses or simply thumbs up or down. The pleasure of a bottle of wine is hard to express in figures, but it does help give the memory of that wine a context, and a way of sharing your opinion with others.
In response to members' requests we have added a star rating option to the site so you can mark your favourites, or maybe those occasional less-than-welcome experiences, and make your next order easier.
You can use the 5-star rating tool to record your experiences however you wish, but if you are looking for some guidance we believe that a focus on the 'value' of the wine takes into account the quality but also the pleasure it provided, and whether it is something you would recommend to friends.