The Jaraman Range
Fri, 31 October 2014
You’ve no doubt noticed those proud little seahorses floating on the label of one of our wine ranges. Grouped as three, the seahorses represent the hard work and camaraderie of the first three generations of winemakers in the Taylor family. And they also remind us of something uniquely beautiful and kind of odd – seahorse fossils found deep inland! In paying our dues to this quirky little creature, we chose the name ‘Jaraman’ for one of our classic ranges here at Taylors Wines. Here’s a little of the back story…
Small fossil, big possibilities
Surprised and intrigued to find tiny fossilised seahorses when digging our first dam, we were reminded to always note all the little details of our land – viticulture 101! Those little fossils confirmed that a prehistoric inland sea had certainly swept across our currently landlocked acres, during some distant epoch.
The soil’s maritime history weaves terrific benefits throughout every vintage, because where there’s been ocean, you tend to get limestone… And what does aged limestone often leave behind? Rich terra rossa soil of course! Vine heaven!
The word Jaraman derives from an Aboriginal term for ‘horse’ that is found within a number of Australian Aboriginal languages and dialect groups. Just as we cherish the land that we work on, we also think it’s appropriate to recall the original custodians of this stunning Clare Valley soil.
It might seem a small symbol, but our long-lived seahorse represents our combined responsibilities – to history, to the land, and to one family’s combined potential. We’re not the only ones drawn to the unusual magic of the seahorse logo – our wine packaging has actually been noted in recent awards for its elegance and appeal.
When two become one
Our Jaraman range of wines involves locating superior fruit parcels of one varietal, sourced from two distinct Australian growing areas. The mingling and vinification of these two contributory grape lots is then artfully orchestrated at our winery by our winemakers. History demonstrates that clan discussions, betrothal meetings and cross-tribal interactions between humans have been occurring throughout the lands of the Clare Valley for 40,000+ years. In that vein, we enjoy crafting the Jaraman range as a symbol of unions; the bringing together of two pristine grape sources from varying climes, in order to see what special chemistry might evolve at the hands of our winemakers. And the regions chosen are certainly diverse.
We source premium fruit from wine districts both near and far, such as Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Eden Valley, Coonawarra, Yarra Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Each presents iconic wine growing credentials, each has a unique terroir to work with.
And how do we go about uniting the best grapes from two distinct and iconic growing areas, in order to create a unique Jaraman vintage? The process is far from random. In relation to the grapes that we choose for vinification, we avidly watch the growing season of each potential wine region. Catching up regularly with our regional growers, we’re able to gauge issues of quality and fruit compatibility. Once the best potential produce is secured, we move to the winery itself, ready to bring a Jaraman creation to life. Our special winemaking techniques are directed towards preserving the unique style and character of each fruit parcel, while also creating an end result that is so much more than the sum of its parts. And this can involve last-minute modifications to vinification and fermentation techniques, in order to enhance and/or or balance the features of each region’s grapes for that year. But that’s part of the creative challenge that we simply love. We’ve learned to note the little things, to innovate as we go along, and to honour the produce as it is presented for that vintage.
A case in point
Take for example the Jaraman 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Utilising a deliberate combination of 72% Clare Valley grapes plus 28% from the Coonawarra region, our winemakers set to work developing a portrait of the particular conditions and nuances of the 2012 vintage. Our winemakers were keenly aware of the lengthy dryness in the Coonawarra 2012 season, followed by fairly marked diurnal temperatures shortly before harvest. This unexpected combination worked perfectly to develop and perfectly preserve residual sugars, before moving into a perfect slow ripening. With more benign growing conditions occurring over here in the Clare that year, handy late rains helped to ensure remarkable depths of flavour and colour during ripening. Both regions exhibited low yield, yet notable quality in available fruit, setting the stage for a Jaraman fusion of uncompromising distinction.
Pouring dark and purple-rimmed, with intense flavours of cassis and smoky choc-mint, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon demonstrates the merit and beauty to be found in marrying fruit from separate iconic wine regions. With deep varietal integrity plus lengthy and elegant tannins – this is a Jaraman offering both for now, and for years to come.
As we noted, we don’t just put any old two parcels of fruit together for the purposes of a Jaraman vintage. We look to diverse and distinct regions in order to ascertain the best available fruit in a given year. The Jaraman range provides an opportunity for single-source fruit to be lengthened and enhanced by the features of a sister wine region. In this way, overt ripeness can be better defined with flint, paler colour with richer hues, and thin mouth-feel can be rounded out by another region’s complexity.
Our winemakers cherish the chance to take two beautiful parcels of fruit in order to create an alchemy that is somehow familiar, yet in many ways new. In a land of diversity and geographical isolation, we’re privileged to bring differences together, to create the best wine marriages possible through the Jaraman range.