Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Clare Valley reds

Taylors tasting July 2023

The 2023 vintage was very tough in Australia and 

“It was one hell of a ride, the 2023 vintage and was a lot colder with a lot more rainfall so some of our growers found the yield was too high. Then again McLaren Vale is amazing fruit quality but yields that are way down and it was very tough in Coonawarra where it was almost too cold for us. Friends in the Yarra Valley it was almost too cold. 


The wines we are looking at today generally come from amazing vintages. 

The 2023 vintage was characterised by much higher than usual rainfall patterns in Australia so it made for quite a challenging season. 


2016, 2019, 2022 and some others are very very good years, in the totality of 2023, 


It’s a very family oriented, very wine oriented day when we crack open seevn new release wines from Taylors of Clare Valley. 

The family owned company 


In the red wine category over $50 in Australia, Taylors is number two in sales, behind only Penfolds.  


The annual flagship release of Taylors of Clare Valley wines and was 

Have sent two boxes of impressive looking red wine bottles over to me for tsating


Trying to bring young wine drinkers along on the journey


The following seven wines are all new vintages. 



“There might be a tiny bit of work to do with Visionary and The Pioneer but we are getting them close to where we want them to be.”


New wines


The Masterstroke is a new addition which was released for the first time last year with the 2018 vintage. Most of the grapes from McLaren Vale go into the Jaraman Shiraz.


In this wine, the Taylors philosophy was to show off how graet McLaren Vale Shiraz can be. 


2020 Taylors Masterstroke McLaren Shiraz

Looking for more chocolate Shiraz effect on the mid palate;

18 months in fine grained American oak. 

Looking to show off the fruit purity of the McLaren Vale region. 

Gorgeous fruit expression with silky texture and mouthfeel; winemaker Adam Eggins suggests that the wine is about purity 


2020 Taylors St Andrews Clare Valley Shiraz

St Andrews is designed to be a wine that is a big larger, a bit louder and a nicer layering effect… More fruit perfume in Clare Valley and this is far more structured and grippy… 

20-24 months in fine grained American oak in the St Andrews

Beautiful full bodied wine, fermented in oak and then matured in oak; the barrel fermentation process seems to integrate and preserve the fruit. 


2016 Taylors The Pioneer Clare Valley Shiraz RRP $200

Here is a wine that is starting to reveal layers of black olive and black dark fruit characters; this is such a dark flavour spectrum that is starting to release  to the more savoury layers that I associate Amazing complexity on the nose….Released with a bit of cellar age, which has happened as a result of lock downs and lack of travel…. 

The secondary and tertiary development is starting to come through… the loss of fruit into the development of its real self – a soft rounded smooth Shiraz with great support structure. Love to see it in 20 years’ time. 


About 24 for The Pioneer 


Adam Eggins and Justin Taylor tasting Shiraz ahead of Cabernet Sauvignon


2020 Taylors Masterstroke Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

Hints of mint with smooth silky fruit flavours. 

Coonawarra is a very distinctive flavour. 

Tight, young and impressive. Beautiful perfume, youthful and rbeginning for a bit of time… 




2019 Taylors St Andrews Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 

Love this wine at the moment, which is starting to reveal itself – textural dark, silky mocha coffee flavour. 

Mouth watering and succulent, a wine that makes me long for food…

An extremely hot vintage in which things happened very fast and very quickly; 2019 and 2020 were two el nino years and things happened very quickly. 

It went fast in an operational sense - 


St Andrew’s is a 20 year plus journey now for Taylors Wines. 


An incredible way to spend a Monday afternoon


The next two wines were originally inspired by left bank Bordeaux appelations such as Margaux and looked at ways of adding more tannin from grapes such as Petit Verdot; but Their experience in Bordeaux – gave them advice to focus more on Cabernet Sauvignon C ab Franc and Merlot


“We are trying to head in the direction of finding complexity…


20… The Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon

About 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with about 24 other parcels of grapes blended in, most of it Cabernet but with a little Merlot and a little Cabernet Franc. 36 months oak


2016 Taylors The Visionary Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; a spectacular vintage. 

24 months oak


3 years you can taste it for and how long it resonates on the palate


The Vis and The Pioneer – my two top picks because of their complexity and layers with their evolution of maturity beginning to show…


“These wines at these prices are intended to be about food; gorgeous now but with time to age and longevity. Some of our benchmark wines need time to reveal themselves but we are aware that a lot of wine consumers want something they can just buy and drink right now.”


Adam Eggins has been searching for 


Coonawarra and McLaren Vale are included in the Cabnet Sauvignon blends but Clare Valley remains 


St Andrew’s Vineyards acquired the vineyards in the 1990s and the vines date back to 1892. 

The Visionary and The Pioneer are made with grapes grown on the St Andrew’s Vineyard and the Legacy is about the family’s journey in winemaking. 


We see Shiraz as the little brother to Cabernet but I know there are many prouod of South Australians …




2016 Taylors The Pioneer Clare Valley Shiraz 

No 4037


2016 Taylors The Visionary Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

No 997