Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Australia

Cost: $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% new and 95% one 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 due to trademark restrictions.

Wine merchants in Sydney, Bill Taylor and his sons Bill and John, became passionate about wine, especially famous French clarets from Bordeaux. They decided to find the perfect piece of land to establish their own vineyard. 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 inland sea. After this discovery the family adopted the seahorse to represent the wines. Today three seahorses on every label serve as a tribute to three generations of the family working in the business.

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

Turners 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 baked figs.

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