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Unreserved Wine Talk

237 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


98: The Shape of Wine Taste with Australia's Wakefield Wines

How can you visualize the taste of wine in a chart? How would those charts be different for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Shiraz? What makes the wines from Australia's Clare Valley unique? What is bâtonnage and what flavours and aromas will result in the wine? How does acidity improve your tasting experience? Why is balance one of the most critical aspects of a great wine?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Justin Taylor and Neil Hadley of Australia's Wakefield Wines.


  • What was it about Wakefield Wines 2011 vintage that brought Justin to tears?
  • Which stunning Wakefield Wine was born from the 2011 disaster?
  • How did Neil end up tasting Wakefield Wine with a buyer at a motorway stop?
  • What gives the vineyard at Clare its x-factor?
  • Why does the cool break at night improve the integrity of the grapes?
  • How does the unique Clare Valley terroir show up when you're tasting Wakefield Wines?
  • What properties will you notice in Wakefield Wines as a result of their terroir?
  • What inspired the creation of the Wakefield Wines flavour charts?
  • How can you use the Wakefield charts when tasting Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Shiraz?
  • What would you notice when tasting a warm-climate Chardonnay which has been oaked?
  • Which French influences can you find in Wakefield Chardonnay?
  • What is bâtonnage and what flavours and aromas will you notice in wine made using this technique?
  • What foods should you pair with Wakefield Chardonnay?
  • Are there certain foods you should avoid pairing with Chardonnay?
  • How does acidity improve your tasting experience?
  • What distinguishing characteristics should you pick up in a high-quality dry Riesling?
  • How does the maturation of a Riesling impact it's tasting profile?
  • What is meant by a "long finish"?
  • How can you differentiate between a cool climate and a warm climate Shiraz?
  • What tricky flavours can you pick up with Wakefield Shiraz?
  • What makes Wakefield Shiraz feel more elegant and refined to you versus other Australian Shiraz?
  • Why is balance one of the most critical aspects of a great wine?
  • Can you zero in on the nuances of the different types of wine?
  • What tasting experience can you expect with Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon?
  • Where do the notes of mint in Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon come from?
  • How does the ageing of Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon impact it's tasting profile?
  • What foods should you pair with Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon?
  • Will the 2020 Australian wildfires have an impact on wine regions?
  • How can you support Australian winemakers during this difficult period?


About Justin Taylor and Neil Hadley

Justin was one of six kids growing up in the Taylor household in Sydney’s Rose Bay under the watchful eye of their mother Loretta and father Bill Taylor Jr. – one of the original founding family members of Wakefield Wines. A natural salesman, Justin is noted as the loudest and jovial one of the bunch. He graduated from the prestigious Cranbrook boy’s school in 1988 and loved spending weekends on the rugby field.

In 1997, the Taylor family welcomed third-generation family member Justin Taylor into the family business. Since then, Justin has been pivotal in introducing Wakefield Wines to wine drinkers all over the world. Justin started his professional career at Wakefield serving a three-year apprenticeship of types working as a sales representative in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. Justin has completed the Wine Society Advanced Wine Appreciation Certificate, Advanced Wine Marketing at TAFE and the Wine Executive Program through the Monash University of Melbourne.

In 2000, Justin was promoted to the role of National Sales Manager in Australia. Over the following eight years the company’s domestic market share doubled, as did the size of the domestic sales team and the portfolio of wines that were being offered to the public in Australia, as Justin said “it was definitely a very fun time to be part of the Wakefield Wines team, we worked very hard and achieved very satisfying results.” After a visit to Australia in the late 80s, he decided Sydney would become home and pursued numerous roles in sales and marketing with prestigious brands like Rosemount Estate, Penfolds and Villa Maria in New Zealand.

Today at Wakefield Wines, Neil manages the export portfolio of the 50-year wine company along with third-generation Export Manager and Company Director Justin Taylor. His main regions of responsibility include the United Kingdom and Europe, North America and South America. When not jet setting on behalf of Wakefield, Neil is an avid traveller himself. He cites trekking the foot of Mount Everest, dam-building for Masai tribes-people in Kenya and driving around Australia in a ‘Kingswood’ amongst his more memorable journeys around the world.

Neil Hadley MW joined Wakefield Wines as General Manager, Export in early 2007. With more than 30 years of industry trade experience, Neil is key to developing and executing international sales and marketing strategies around the world for Wakefield Wines. His career in fine wine began in the early 80s as a wine retailer in England. Determined to understand the wine shelves of Lay & Wheeler, Neil dove straight into WSET training, later moving on to become one of the youngest members initiated as a prestigious Master of Wine in 1993.




To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the

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