Spirits & Wine

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon

We often drink whisky that has been finished in wine barrels, be it port, Madeira or Sauterne casks. Jacob’s Creek has turned the practice on its head, finishing its Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel wines in casks that have previously held whisky.

Jacob's Creek Double Barrel
Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel

The range consists of Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Barossa Shiraz 2012 aged in Scotch whisky barrels and Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 aged in Irish whiskey barrels.

For whisky aficionados interested in learning more about the whisky finishing process, detailed information is scarce. We’ve been informed that the wines are aged in traditional wine barrels before transferred to used whisk(e)y barrels. As each of these casks barrel performs differently, the barrels are tasted individually and when the winemaker assesses that sufficient influence has been imparted from the barrel, it is removed and set aside for inclusion in the final blend.

So which whiskeys have the casks held before, are they single malts or blends, first fill, second fill, ex Bourbon, ex sherry… This is not revealed. We’re told the focus is on selecting barrels by Scotch or Irish style then matching it to the flavour profile of their key varietals.

Intriguing response, and one which invites speculation about whether certain brands in the Pernod Ricard portfolio are used and echoes the ABSOLUT Tune which was a sparkling mix of vodka and Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Nevertheless, it has spiked our interest to taste the product of a project that has taken two years since inception.

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (14.5% ABV) – On the nose, you can sense an influence that is not purely wine but not strong enough to identify Irish whiskey. The wine has a good nose, with hint of mint, orchard fruit and herbal notes especially when first poured into the glass. The palate is savoury and dry with oak tannins coming through and the finish is  short. The wine tastes young but it opens up remarkably well in the glass with fine tannins and fruit coming through. Overall, it is pleasant to drink but leave you a little robbed with the short finish.

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Barossa Shiraz 2012 (14.6% ABV) – The whisky influence on the nose is very subtle with more pronounced oak than its Cabernet Sauvignon counterpart. There is added complexity and structure on the palate with hints of vanilla and caramel along with ripe red berry fruit, spice and chocolate with a medium finish. The wine drinks a fraction better than the Cabernet Sauvignon.

In conclusion, the influence of the whisk(e)y finishes on the wine is subtle. There is certainly more oak but not enough flavour to identify whisky. It would be an interesting exercise to taste these vintages again in a few years time once they have matured a little more and compare.

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel is available in major retail outlets across Australia at RRP $24.99.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.