Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon 4th Vintage, Conawarra, South Australia
Reviewing the 4th Vintage of Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet from Australia.
When the Double Barrel wines by Jacob’s Creek came out a few years ago (this is the 4th vintage f it only), it created a bit of a buzz in the wine industry.
I was living in New Zealand at the time, and they get a lot of Australian wines over there. So, at least in NZ, it got a lot of people excited and curious to taste it (which I did, without documenting it at the time).
Indeed, the barrel-finish gimmick is broadly, and commonly, used in the liquor market, as well as in craft beer industry all around the world, but it was virtually unheard of with wine!
Plenty of Whiskey makers finish their fine spirits in Bourbon, Port, Sherry, Madeira, Sauternes, or even Chateau Margaux barrels. But wine producers generally stick to maturing their wine in… well, wine barrels.
The Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon though, after a standard ageing in wine barrels, goes through a finish in Scotch barrels!
For the Cabernet version of their Double Barrel, Jacob’s Creek has chosen one of the most suitable areas of Australia for the grape: Coonawarra and its distinctive ‘Terra Rossa’ soils.
But, what does it actually taste like?
Is this particular treatment just another marketing gimmick to make wine drinkers talk, and buy?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
But, as for my contribution, here is what Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet told my senses at tasting it.
This Aussie Cab Sauv comes in a pretty dark and dense red color. Somewhat bright and looking shiny and clean, but intense and deep.
The nose is very powerfully scented, feeling warm, fruity, and deep.
What first strikes, the lightest notes, the ones that come out of the glass first to reach you senses, are clear smoky notes, the type of smoked character you get in smoked meats. Quite rare with such clarity, and pleasant too.
Then the powerful dark berry aromas sink in, accompanied by a wealth of punchy spices, nutmeg and clove. Black pepper and a hint of bell pepper marry the super-ripe (but not jammy) dark cheery and blackberry notes, somewhat of a spiced wood berries liqueur to the profile.
The wine is ample and rich to the palate, with fine granulous tannins and quite a full body. But there is a wealth of acidity too keeping the sensation quite fresh, underlining and freshening up the berry notes, making them taste like fresh berries rather than jam.
A huge burst of peppery spices hits your sense from the mid-palate on, almost like peppermint, giving way to savory notes of licorice and sandal wood to the finish. There is plenty of oaky flavors all along the tasting as well, rich vanilla, caramel, and coconut reminding us we are here with a ‘double barrel’ wine.
The oak remains quite well integrated though, and never feels overwhelming. It does let the wine and the fruit speak for themselves. Yet, it’s obvious the oak ‘treatment’ has added a heap of spices and a solid dose of torrefaction flavors (coffee, dark cocoa), but it doesn’t feel exaggerated to my palate.
A powerful Cabernet Sauvignon, with a rich, opulent, utterly spicy, and fruity character. Yet, it feels balanced and somewhat controlled by a good acidity keeping things fresh and enjoyable. Yes, the oak is present, and we won’t complain about it since it’s what buyers will be after here, but the amount that’s been infused is under control, letting the Coonawarra fruit shine through.
Well made, balanced on the rich side of things, with an enjoyable savory/fruity feel, hints of grip and varietal characters to the finish.