Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Australia

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PRICE: $15-$18

WHAT: This is a beautiful, rich wine that is fairly intense but not overpowering. In the glass it is a deep red with a touch of purple. The aroma is full of black currant, anise and a bit of eucalyptus.

The flavors are full of rich, red-berry fruit, black currant and cassis, with some cedar and spice. It’s a very pleasant wine that’s good to sip and great with food.

The complex flavors are well balanced and linger on the finish.

The grapes from the Clare Valley in southeast Australia finish their fermentation in French oak barrels (5 percent new and 95 percent one year to four years old). It is good to drink now but probably will continue to be good for at least another five years.

For an Augusta Opera wine tasting recently I served two other Wakefield wines, the Promised Land Cabernet/Shiraz and the Promised Land Unwooded Chardonnay. Both were outstanding.

Australian wines fell on hard times for several years after a big boom period. Many wineries produced over-the-top Shiraz that blasted our taste buds into submission. Many were too big to pair with any kind of food. And people stopped drinking them.

Wakefield is leading a resurgence of Aussie wines with their clean, crisp style and careful attention to vineyard practices.

WINERY: Owned by the Taylor family, Wakefield has been around for more than 40 years. Taylors Wines are known as Wakefield Wines in the northern hemisphere because of trademark restrictions.

Wine merchants in Sydney, Bill Taylor and his sons Bill and John became passionate about wine, especially French clarets from Bordeaux. They sought the perfect piece of land to establish their own vineyard and in 1969, they found 178 acres by the Wakefield River in the Clare Valley.

They thought the red-brown loam soil over limestone (now called terra rossa) would be perfect for creating high-quality wine. Warm days and cool nights helped the Cabernet grapes to grow and ripen slowly.

Their Cabernet started winning medals quickly, and the 1973 vintage won a gold medal at every national wine show in which it was entered.

The fossilized remains of tiny seahorses were found in the limestone bedrock of the first vineyard – confirmation that the area had once been the bed of an ancient sea. After this discovery, the family adopted the seahorse to represent the wines. Today, three seahorses on the label serve as a tribute to three generations working in the business.

The Wakefield portfolio has five ranges: Promised Land, Eighty Acres, Wakefield Estate, Jaraman and St. Andrews.

Taylors was the first Australian winery to use only screw-cap closures. They also are committed to sustainable farming practices, including using sheep to keep the winter grasses and weeds under control.

GOES WITH: I had this with a hearty beef vegetable soup and it was delicious. It also would go well with burgers, duck or other game, pasta with tomato sauce, beef stew, veal chops in a marsala sauce or with baked figs.

WINE EVENTS

DEC. 22

Wine and tapas tasting, 5 p.m., Veritas at La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $19.99

JAN. 6

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; six wines and selection of cheeses; $5; with $3 rebate on purchase of featured wine


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