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Taylors Winemaker Helen McCarthy named Australia’s most outstanding up-and-coming winemaker

Helen McCarthy, Senior Winemaker for Taylors of the Clare Valley was last night awarded the 2008 Kemeny’s Medal for Australia’s most outstanding up-and-coming winemaker at the 2008 Gourmet Traveller WINE Winemaker of the Year Awards.

The good news caps off a winning streak for Helen this month: she has been accepted into the 2008 Len Evan’s tutorial – Australia’s most exclusive wine school, and has also been nominated for the second year in a row as the Wine Society’s Young Winemaker of the Year.

The Kemeny’s Medal is one of only three major prizes that make up the annual Gourmet Traveller Wine awards which, now in their 11th year, have crowned many of Australia’s finest established and up and coming winemakers.

Gourmet Traveller WINE’s founding editor Peter Forrestal chaired an impressive panel of judges that included Peter Bourne, Nick Bulleid MW, Andrew Caillard MW and Huon Hooke. The judges review the quality of wines released by the finalists in the last 12 months.

Helen’s win was based largely on the high quality of the award-winning Taylors Jaraman range, for which she crafts and produces. Jaraman is a range of single variety wines sourced from the family’s home vineyards in Clare and a complementary region, with a philosophy to achieve the ‘best of two worlds’.

The current vintage Jaraman wines and their regional blends include:

* 2005 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon – A combination of the Taylors family winery Clare Valley fruit with that from the Coonawarra region, blended to show the aroma intensity and elegance of Coonawarra, yet the richness and roundness of Clare.

* 2005 Jaraman Shiraz – A marriage of intense, lightly peppery berry fruit of Clare with the rich, voluptuousness of McLaren Vale shiraz. This wine has already achieved exceptional international acclaim in Germany (collecting a gold medal at 2008 Mondus Vini), England (gold medal at the 2008 International Wine Challenge in London), France (gold at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles) and China (a trophy in Shanghai).

* 2007 Jaraman Chardonnay – Careful blending of Clare Valley chardonnay – to add weight, richness, and subtle tropical fruit characters, with the cool climate Adelaide Hills fruit to contribute delicacy, length and acid structure.

* 2007 Jaraman Riesling – A combination of fruit from the great Riesling regions of South Australia – the Clare and Eden Valley.

* 2008 Jaraman Sauvignon Blanc – A blend of premium fruit from the Margaret River and Adelaide Hills. Cool climate of Adelaide Hills offers a crisp and refreshing acidity to Sauvignon Blanc and the Mediterranean climate of Margaret River adds tropical fruit aromas and flavours.

Helen’s interest in wine was ignited when, following a work experience stint at a Barossa Valley winery at 18 years of age, she received an inspiring phone call from the Associate Professor for Wine Marketing at the University of South Australia all the way from Paris. Helen completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Oenology) at the University of Adelaide in 2000 where she graduated with First Class Honours. This was followed by a stint with Southcorp before she began working with the Taylors winemaking team in 2002 under the direction of Chief Winemaker, Adam Eggins.

Helen is thrilled and humbled at winning one of Australia’s most prestigious winemaking awards.

“It is wonderful to receive this award, not just because it recognises my efforts, but more than that it recognises how much hard work and dedication have been put into the wines at Taylors over the past five years.

“I have a huge respect for Adam Eggins’ palate and through my work with him, I’m glad to have adopted some of his winemaking values. He encourages the whole winemaking group to work as a team and I admire his inquisitiveness and passion for improvement. And of course, the Taylor family give us the freedom and encouragement to continually push the boundaries. Having qualified winemaker as CEO certainly helps us pursue our cause.”

Mitchell Taylor, third generation CEO of the family winery, believes Helen is truly an invaluable member of the Taylors team.

“It is so important for a family winery like ours to have such brilliant young winemakers who embrace our family values and share our passion for winemaking. Helen is passionate about the wine she produces and we are so incredibly proud of her winning this award.”

Taylors’ Jaraman wines are available at leading wine merchants across Australia.

RRPs and current vintage availability are as follows:

* 2005 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon $29 * 2005 Jaraman Shiraz $29 * 2007 Jaraman Chardonnay $25 * 2007 Jaraman Riesling $25 * 2008 Jaraman Sauvignon Blanc $25 – Available November 2008.

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