JACOB’S CREEK, the iconic Australian wine brand, is pushing the boundaries of modern winemaking with the launch of JACOB’S CREEK Double Barrel – a range of premium reds finished in whisk(e)y barrels.
Driven by a culture of wine innovation and a desire to craft something unique, the winemakers at JACOB’S CREEK sourced aged barrels that had cradled premium whiskies for up to 20 years, and started experimenting.
They soon discovered that the double barrel finishing process added extra complexity and texture to the traditionally barreled wines, but it took two years of trials to perfect the resulting product for release.
“Each barrel performs differently, so it took time to understand the true effect on the wines, and achieve a result that was perfectly balanced,” explains Ben Bryant, Chief Winemaker at JACOB’S CREEK.
“We started with high quality fruit from carefully selected vineyards, from which we crafted premium red wine. We then matured the parcels traditionally in French and American oak barrels, before finishing 100% of the matured wine in old whisk(e)y barrels. We discovered that finishing the wines in aged whisk(e)y barrels introduced additional intricacy and a smoother texture, due to the fundamental differences between barrels made for ageing whisk(e)y, and those crafted to age wine.”
Whisk(e)y barrels are scorched at a high heat, which releases their natural wood sugars, while their narrower staves allow for greater oxygen exchange. Over a long period of time, this imparts colour, flavour and sweetness to whisk(e)y. For Double Barrel, JACOB’S CREEK used well-aged whisk(e)y barrels, so their influence is subtle – adding intriguing nuances without changing the essential characterof the original wine.
Following extensive trials, the winemakers agreed that the barrels of certain whisk(e)y styles were better suited to certain wines. The rich intensity of Shiraz was considered better suited to the more assertive style of Scotch whisky, while the elegance of Cabernet Sauvignon was well suited to the smooth style of Irish whiskey.
Ben Bryant continues: “The use of Scotch whisky barrels to finish our Double Barrel Shiraz has imparted additional layers of complexity and smoothness, which combine beautifully with the rich varietal plum, fruit cake and chocolate notes of Shiraz.
“On the other hand, finishing Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon in Irish whiskey barrels has integrated the black fruit flavours and aromatic herbal notes, softened the tannins and, most noticeably, added real richness throughout the palate.”
Available in major markets across the US beginning in April 2016 at $19.99 the JACOB’S CREEK Double Barrel range comprises:
o   JACOB’S CREEK Double Barrel Shiraz 2nd Vintage
o   JACOB’S CREEK Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon 2nd Vintage