Wakefield Wines has just celebrated 50 years of its legendary Cabernet with the launch of a limited edition wine: The Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon. Clare Valley in South Australia is renowned for Riesling and Shiraz but, inspired by the great wines of the Medoc, and in particular Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, the Taylor family decided that they would work with Cabernet as well as Shiraz.
Sydney wine merchant Bill Taylor allegedly took his first steps on the Auburn property on 20 July 1969 – the same day Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon – and, in one giant leap for Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, Taylor promptly tripled the country’s plantings of the grape.
But what of quality? Clare Valley is in ‘high country,’ where dramatic day and night temperature differences extend the season, helping ripen Cabernet’s stubborn tannins. Though it has free-draining terra rossa soil like Coonawarra, it’s fair to say that, 50 years on, Clare Valley’s Cabernets are not as celebrated as those of its southerly neighbour (or Margaret River in Western Australia). Yet, thanks to the Taylors, it can now take a bow for producing Australia’s costliest Cabernet by a long chalk. Launched in May by Bill’s grandson Mitch, The Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is priced at £550 – quite the statement.
By reason of price and production (1,080 bottles), The Legacy is for the few, not the many. Ticking all the ‘luxe’ boxes (including the reassuringly expensive bespoke case, whose rhodium and silver medallion adds lustre), it is a highly polished wine and geeks will love the innovative tamper-proof capsule with NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology.
Time will tell if it ticks the ultimate fine wine box, longevity, but given that The Legacy is an über barrel selection of the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon, a mini-vertical tasting of The Visionary and St Andrews – siblings produced under the Taylors’ eponymous label (or Wakefield Wines, as the brand is known in export markets) – bodes well. The three share Taylors’ signature savoury style and structured palate but – whisper it – modelled most closely on Medoc, The Legacy features a soupçon of Merlot and Cabernet Franc as well as Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra.