Reviewing the 4th Vintage of Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz from Australia.
Score: 90/100 pts’
When the Double Barrel Shiraz 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 Aussie Shiraz 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 Shiraz however, after a common ageing in wine barrels, goes through a finish in Scotch barrels!
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 below.
But for my contribution, here is what Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz tells your senses at tasting it.
This Aussie Shiraz comes, as the style most-often entails, in a pretty dark and intense red color, nearly black to the core, hints of purple hues to the rim intensifying the color.
The nose is almost equally as intense, combining powerful spiciness, ripe fruitiness and strong oakiness.
What first hits in the aromatic profile is the sheer pepperiness, the typical black and white pepper aromas of Syrah/Shiraz, but that seem exacerbated here.
A wealth of dark ripe red berry notes, dark cherry, blackberry, strawberry jam. It’s rich and fruity, edging on the jammy side, although really without smelling too much like cooked or dried fruit. Hints of prune and dates, but the dominant fruits are still smelling rather fresh, like fresh berries.
Then of course, there are the intense oaky notes of vanilla, coconut, char and caramel from the ageing finish in Whisky barrels, as we expect, and probably need, to find as it’s written on the label.
The palate is equally as rich as the nose. The three components (pepper, fruit, and toasted oak) identified and detailed on the nose are there in flavors form.
The wine is full-bodied, again as we expect from an Aussie Shiraz. Generous body, a wealth of smooth velvety tannins. It overall feels relatively dry though for the style, no obvious or too dominant sweetness other than the richness provided by the ripeness of the dark berry and touches of dried fruit flavors.
A powerful, spicy and exuberant Australian Shiraz, as the style demands. And we won’t complain about it. If that’s what you are buying, that’s exactly what you should get, in my opinion anyway!
“Double Barrel Shiraz feels balanced, dry and savory for the style”
But despite the richness of the ripe fruity flavors, the opulent spiciness of Shiraz that is exemplified here, and an obvious impact of the oak treatment, the Double Barrel Shiraz feels balanced, quite dry and with hints of savoriness for the style, and with a solid acidity as well.
“The whole feels very coherent, and well executed.”
Not the super-heavy and sticky jammy Shiraz with ridiculous amounts of coconut and vanilla flavors you might have expected.
Yes, you’d probably have to enjoy oaky flavors to enjoy this one (and I do in all honesty), but in all fairness, the oaky characters are in fact well integrated and the natural personality of the fruit still shines through as well I find.
So, congrats to Jacob’s Creek winemakers for making what’s rapidly becoming a Classic Australian wine without actually compromising with balance and a respectable style. I think that’s the case at least here with the 4th Vintage of the Double Barrel (that doesn’t come under a single vintage year).
Not sure how the previous editions were? If you have any insight on that, please let us know in the comment section.
All in all. Dense, concentrated, but also arguably characterful the Double Barrel Shiraz actually is…
Drink now and within 5 years.