The Wine List #20: a corker from a big boy.

IMGP6066Grape: Shiraz

Wine: Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz Vintage 2013 (Barossa, Australia)

Alc Vol: 14.5%

HJ says: “(Syrah) is the great Rhone red grape . . . important as Shiraz in Australia.”

The label says: “The warmth and sunshine of the Barossa region provides ideal conditions to produce rich Shiraz. For this Reserve wine we selected grapes from Barossa vineyards which exhibited intense plum and mulberry flavours with nuances of chocolate and spice. . . Soft ripe tannins ensure a velvety mouth feel.” 

Food combination: None suggested on the bottle. We drank half a bottle with a beef casserole, and the other half with a Welsh brunch of bacon, sausages and laverbread (a traditional Welsh delicacy made from seaweed fried in bacon fat; delicious!)

Did we like it? Yes, but first we had to overcome some prejudices about such a giant brand. “Jacob’s Creek?” queried The Current Mrs Feeney when she saw it in our supermarket basket. “Really?” But why not? I enjoy drinking wines from small independent producers, but the ‘big boys’ can produce some absolute corkers, and this Reserve is a good example (an interesting fact I discovered while preparing this post; most countries have no rules for what wines can be called Reserve; fortunately for us, the vast majority of producers play fair and only use the term for higher quality wines that have been aged longer.) As far as this wine goes, we’re not sure about the “nuances” (perhaps it’s just our palates) but we thought it had whopping spiciness, and a full, enjoyable, smooth finish.

One for the wine rack? Yes, and we’re looking forward to comparing a Rhone Syrah with it.

It’s not about the wine: The Barossa Valley derives its name from the Barossa Ranges, named in 1837 in memory of the British victory over the Napoleonic French in the Battle of Barrosa during the Peninsular War in Spain. The name Barossa was a clerical error when transcribing the name Barrosa.

The Wine List: retirement project to sample the product of every major wine grape variety listed in Hugh Johnson’s pocket wine book.

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