Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have tasted many barrel samples with some really experienced winemakers. With almost every visit I’ve gained some valuable perspective to help me identify what wines are revealing, and more importantly what they have the potential to reveal.
Sampling the Jacob’s Creek brought me back to one tasting in particular. That day I heard the winemaker use a very interesting term to describe his barrel sample. As he dispensed the wine into my glass with the thief, he enthusiastically offered up a prelude to what I was about to experience, with one very interesting caveat. He said his barrel sample was “still a bit angular”. With one eyebrow now standing firmly at attention, I replied “angular?” He said, “yea, angular”. He went on: “sometimes young wines, particularly ones still in the barrel, offer up a lot of complex fruit and nuance, but the elements are not integrated yet”. I knew exactly what he meant, but I had never heard wine described as having any rectilinear qualities.
So as I was tasting the Jacob’s Creek and determining what the wine was offering, the term angular came right back into memory. On the nose the wine is more integrated, initially offering hints of banana and other tropical notes, turning to rich plum and ripe cherry. On the palate, the wine is quite jammy, offering loads of plum and cherry. There is some mild pepper and spice, but I was a little disappointed that these typical shiraz traits were not as prominent in the Jacob’s Creek.
But what had me comparing this wine to other young barrel samples was the way the wine offered up it’s flavor nuances. The wine shows it’s fruit in chunks, and then offers up other details in not so subtle ways. This wine hasn’t integrated yet. A mature, well integrated wine is a lot like a well-conducted orchestra. No one musician or instrument stands out. You just hear beautiful music. It would be fair to expect these traits right out of the barrel, but not after a few years in the bottle. Which makes me wonder what a little more time will do for this wine.
Now, all that being said, I still rated this wine a very respectable 85. There is some very potent fruit, that is currently overwhelming any spice or pepper. I would actually suggest laying this wine down for maybe 6 months to a year. It’s not built to age over the long haul, but I think it would benefit from just a little bit more time. Time for the conductor to do his thing.
Wine: Jacobs’ Creek
Find Jacob’s Creek Shiraz with Snooth
Disclosure: This wine was received as a sample.