THE PIONEER SHIRAZ
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.TERROIR & VINTAGE NOTES
The growing season in the lead up to vintage 2014 saw average autumn and winter rainfalls and temperatures in line with long term averages. The rainfall for spring was below average; however vine vigor was still good due to the presence of subsurface moisture from regular winter rains. During the first week of December the temperature dipped but climbed back in January for a dry and warm month - with thankfully no heatwaves. In February however, hot conditions prevailed which delayed véraison. Harvest commenced early due to hot conditions. Late February thankfully dipped in temperature, retaining needed acid levels in the grapes and slowed sugar development, thus allowing time for the flavors to develop. Mild conditions continued through March allowed ideal tannin and flavor development.WINEMAKING & AGEING
Following malolactic fermentation, the wine is matured in American oak barrels; 40% new, the remainder in 1, 2, and 3-year-old barrels. After 12 months 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
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.