Taylor's Merlot Clare Valley 2005, $32
IT IS not uncommon for those who work in the wine industry to dream of producing their own wine. Now, I believe in the art of dreaming and have even gone a step further - I know the kind of people I want to employ.
The export manager - the person who travels around the world representing the wine brand - should ideally be a Master of Wine.
A Master of Wine is a prestigious title attained after one goes through years of rigorous tastings and intensive study about wines around the world.
I came to this conclusion after meeting Neil Hadley, who was representing Taylor's at a wine dinner in Novus two weeks ago. It was not my first time meeting Hadley - the other time was when he was at Rosemount (before it was sold to the Foster's group), and I understood that he crossed over to Villa Maria in New Zealand after that. So it was a surprise to see him representing an Australian winery again.
'There is common ground between these wineries I've worked for. They are all family-owned and boutique,' he explained.
Besides being family-owned, Taylor's is also arguably the pioneer of the Clare Valley region. Inspired by the great wines such as Mouton Rothschild in France, the family had travelled to Clare Valley in the 1960s with the dream to make great Cabernets.
In fact, even when a non-Cabernet wine wins an award today, Bill Taylor will say: 'That's great, but how did the Cabernet do?'
However, they did well beyond Cabernet. Take the Merlot, for example. There exist too many 'clonally suspect' Merlot vines in Australia, which explains the insipid, dull versions out there.
The wine maker has managed to identify carefully selected clones and have set about 'making wines with real feel'.
While the usual tradition is to make Merlot just like how you produce Cabernet, they flouted tradition when they discovered that their Merlot grapes taste better when made like a Shiraz.
As Hadley pointed out: 'Making Merlot is like buying lottery.' And with this wine, Taylor's has definitely struck gold.
Cassis and blackcurrant, backed by oak and hint of vanilla sweetness, with light toastiness on finish. Textured tannins that wrap around your palate.
Pigeon and game meats.
Major supermarkets such as Cold Storage and Jasons Marketplace.