On the Road with the Grape Guy

Wakefield Wines Celsius Experiment

03 Apr 2020

(March 2020) ... I sat in on a tasting experiment with Justin Taylor of Wakefield Wines (Australia). The event was called “Celsius” and, as you can probably guess from the title, it had something to do with temperature.
Wakefield decided to create a program to talk about the proper temperature wine should be served at - by so doing they also had to prove that they were right. The only way to do so was by serving their own wine at an “off temperature”, and I don't care who you are, or how confident you feel, to purposefully “ruin” your own product takes a lot of guts.

“While we think everyone should enjoy wine however they like it, serving a wine at the optimum temperature unlocks a new level of appreciation for the nuances in aroma and flavour,” says Justin. “Winemakers putJustin Taylor - Wakefield a great deal of work into crafting and balancing the flavours of a wine, from when they pick the fruit through to the type of oak they use ... Serving a wine at the optimum temperature can help wine lovers fully realise these flavours right in the glass.”

I have long been a proponent that ‘reds can go into the fridge; if you prefer fresher, fruitier reds it is the easiest thing to do. White wines truly are a preference as to their serving temperature, but it is worth a few minutes of your time to try wines at a variety of temperatures.  

Wakefield WhiteAnd according to Justin variety matters: “Varietal is very important to the correct serving temperature. What it comes down to is the weight and body of a wine. Lighter whites, like Clare Valley Riesling or Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris, can be served much colder, at around 6°C, than a Chardonnay which we recommend being served at 12°C. The two are very different in weight and as such, should be served at different temperatures. For the reds, it’s a similar scenario. Pinot Noir, which is typically light and aromatic, should be served around 12°C, whereas our Wakefield Estate Shiraz and Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is best enjoyed around 16°C.”

While it took an Australian ruining his wine to prove something to me I already practiced, preached and suspected it was nice to be reminded ... and proven right; and I like to be right, just ask my wife.

The verdict on the Wakefield wines tasted …

Wakefield 2018 Chardonnay ($16.95 – LCBO #711556)Wakefield Red
Subtle butterscotch with good acid backing (rare in an Australian Chardonnay) – plenty of nice fruit with apple, pear and simple peach notes.  (*** ½+)
From my personal point of view, I liked mine chilled; the “proper” way is supposed to be warmer – but I like to see/feel fruit more than I like oak – this is one you ought to try at home and share your opinion [also check out the Two Guys debating the issue on the podcast].

Wakefield 2018 Shiraz ($18.95 - #943787)
Mainly American oak used in the making of this wine so there is lots of vanilla, dark fruit, dark berries and good spice; the tannins are non-aggressive and show finesse and elegance, not just power and alcohol.  (****)
This one definitely benefitted from its slight chill, the fruit absolutely pops and makes for a more enjoyable wine.

Wakefield 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #744235)
Aged in 100% French oak and loaded with dark fruit, cedar, cinnamon and powerful tannins … this is the wine that made Wakefield famous – store this one a few years or decant upon opening.  (*** ½)
I could see the benefits of a chill with the Cab, but the wine was not showing its best in either glass on this day – and for the signature wine of Wakefield I expect better (and I have had better – so I give them a pass on this wine).


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