Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


To hell and back in vintages

Adam Eggins shares big red stories

It was one hell of a ride, the 2023 vintage, with colder temperatures and more rainfall than usual. The words are Adam Eggins', who was chatting with me on the eve of vintage 2024 earlier this year. It's a stark contrast to 2023 in South Australia (and in New Zealand, incidentally) and is much appreciated as a result.

This year has been a walk in the proverbial park by contrast to 2023, which says a lot about the interesting times we live in. Anyone who doesn't seem to believe in the concept of climate change can surely see that big changes are afoot globally where our weather patterns and climate are concerned. Those changes have certainly hit the wine industry like a tonne of bricks and they formed an interesting part of the chat with Adam from Taylor's Wines in the Claire Valley.

It was our second chat in six months and we tasted a significant number of Taylor's wines together at both, so below are my top picks of the wines we tasted. All are current vintages. So there we were, four months ago, tasting wines together online and chatting about vintage variations. Like New Zealand in 2023, Australia's growing season was characterised by much higher than usual rainfall patterns so it made for quite a challenging season at Taylor's Wines. 

South Australia's relatively dry climate usually gives it a relatively reliable and something of a predictable edge compared to most cool climate wine regions, but things are changing and it makes winemakers nervous.

Fortunately, our tasting was of wines from 2020, which pack a powerful punch when it comes to good value for money and also for potential longevity in wines that bear pretty humble price tags. I'm impressed. As a New Zealand based wine writer, wine thinker and drinker,  it would be easy to be in something of a Pinot Noir bubble a lot of the time, but my personal and professional wine life prevent that, thankfully, allowing a deeper dive into the quality, style and price of red wines from a wide range of places. Our nearest winemaking neighbour, Australia, could hardly be more different in terms of its long term climate patterns, its produce and the wines it produces. This bunch below illustrate those differences well. 

  • Adam Eggins has worked at Taylor's Wines since 1999 and won an impressive string of awards for the wine he has produced as well as for his consistency, innovation and dedication. It shows. 

Taylor's Wines


2020 Taylors Masterstroke Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $60-ish

Masterstroke is a new addition to Taylor's long line up of full bodied red wines and this is a keeper for 10+ years. Hints of mint and blackberry aromas lead into a smooth silky fruited, full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes grown in the cool climate of Coonawarra; home to many top notch Australian Cabernets. This wine is inspired by and modelled on left bank Bordeaux greats from the south of France. Winemaker Adam Eggins' aim here was to make a full bodied red with the complexity of spice, layers of smooth tannins and a long life. It certainly has that but the dark blackberry flavours are intense and impressive now too, underpinned by great structure that can see it age well for at least 10 years. 


2022 Taylors Jaraman Shiraz RRP $32.99

Big, bold and full bodied Shiraz with dark ripe plum fruit appeal and layered aromas of fresh cloves, a touch of mint and Omega plum fleshy textures in the mouth. Good drinking now and over the next seven to eight years. 


2021 Taylors Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $32.99

Is Australian Cabernet Sauvignon under rated or simply less well known than its Shiraz? This great red is a top example of just how promising Cabernet Sauvignon can be - and is - in Australia. This is a dark, ripe and delicious wine. Begs to be decanted, if drinking it now. Otherwise, stash it in a dark corner of your wine cellar/cupboard/anywhere cool that you store wine or want to. A relatively affordable investment which will age well for at least 10 years. 


2021 Taylors 2021 Reserve Parcel Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $26.99

Part of a new range called Reserve Parcel (which also includes a Shiraz) and over delivers big time, in terms of money spent and wine quality. Depths of blackberry, cherries and firm cedar aromas intermingle now and will join forces in time as the wine ages and moves from its seductive primary fruit flavours into beautiful complex aged characters. Will age well five+ years.


2021 Taylors Reserve Parcel Shiraz RRP $26.99

Part of a new range called Reserve Parcel (which also includes a Cabernet Sauvignon). Both wines over deliver impressive in terms of quality and price, given they are structured to last for five+ years. This is all about dark fleshy plum textures captured in a firm, full bodied Shiraz with an elegant silky mouthfeel.

2020 Taylors Masterstroke McLaren Shiraz RRP $60-ish

Mocha, chocolate, spicy cloves and fruity aromas of ripe fleshy plums all combine to make a juicy, highly appealing Shiraz with great fruit purity. Winemaker Adam Eggins says he wants to show the depth of ripe Shiraz fruity appeal from the McLaren Vale region, south of Adelaide.


2019 Taylors St Andrews Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $49.99

Love this wine at the moment, which is starting to reveal its textural dark, silky mocha coffee flavours in a mouthwatering, succulent Cabernet that begs for savoury, slow cooked food to match its depth of flavour.