The following article has been sponsored by Jacobs Creek
You’ve seen it in the movies: a confident, well-dressed man picks up a wine glass, sniffs, swirls, quaffs and comments. He says he detects a distinct oak flavour with whispers of currant and blackberry. He calls it full bodied but not overbearing, bitter but not precocious, spirited but surprisingly delicate. His companions nod approvingly at his lavish description.
Off the silver screen, it looks a little different. The server delivers a glass for you to sample and suddenly you’re sweating. You try to imagine how James Bond would do it if he parted with his beloved martini for a night (probably in a tux, with a gorgeous woman by his side and a few suave wine puns up his sleeve).
You stutter out something marginally better than “winey with a hint of fermented grapes” and hope no one at the table notices you’re more Borat’s Guide to Wine Tasting than Sideways.
All men bluff their way through wine at some point. Even to the world’s top sommeliers, wine was once just glorified grape juice. The good news is, you can develop your palate and learn to taste like a pro. We’ve teamed up with Jacob’s Creek to talk tasting notes and the new wine-meets-whisky Double Barrel range. Brush up on your vino lingo, then drink up.
Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon – 2013
Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon calls Coonawarra home. The region, widely regarded as one of Australia’s best for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, experienced a prime vintage in 2013 thanks to a warm, dry and lengthy summer. The result was fruit with concentrated flavours and high colour density.
After harvest, the fruit was fermented and matured in traditional wine barrels – a mix of new and used French and American oak hogsheads – for 12-18 months. The best of the barrels were then finished in old American white oak barrels that had once finished Irish whiskey. Each barrel was carefully selected to suit the elegance of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The finished product offers savoury aromas of cassis, lifted by notes of mint. The palate is rich and dense, but smooth. Dark fruit flavours feature prominently alongside subtle toasty characters, while soft tannins deliver line and length. To impress, serve it with roasted rack of lamb and chargrilled eggplant.
Double Barrel Shiraz – 2013
Double Barrel Shiraz is born in Barossa, which boasts some of the oldest Shiraz vines and vineyard soils in the world. Difficult weather conditions made the 2013 vintage one of the shortest on record, but despite the fickle climate and low yield, top quality fruit made it into the hands of Jacob’s Creek’s winemaking artisans.
The selected fruit parcels were particularly rich, dense and full bodied, allowing them to undergo Double Barrel’s unique two-part ageing process without sacrificing style or quality. Following the initial fermentation, ageing and blending, the best blends were aged a second time in old Scotch whisky barrels chosen to match the rich intensity and dense tannins of Barossa Shiraz.
With the full procedure complete, Double Barrel Shiraz offers a beguiling mix of sweet red fruits and dark chocolate. The wine is dense, smooth and layered, with no shortage of generous flavours. In addition to the fruit and chocolate, perceptive tastebuds will notice subtle toasty notes. Pair it with pan seared Scotch fillet of beef wrapped in smoky bacon.
Double Barrel Shiraz Cabernet – 2012
Double Barrel Shiraz Cabernet hails from the Limestone Coast, a growing area that encompasses premium regions including Coonawarra and Padthaway. South Australian winemakers proclaimed 2012 a near-perfect vintage. Temperatures were warm and steady, allowing for even ripening and vibrant flavours.
Following the success of the first two Double Barrel releases, Jacob’s Creek introduced the Shiraz Cabernet. The finishing time in Scotch whisky barrels fully integrates the two varietals, adding depth and smoothness, and creating a blend that delivers flavour and body right across the palate from beginning to end.
Double Barrel Shiraz Cabernet is a deftly balanced mixture of freshness, ripe dark fruits and fine texture. Layered over the fruit is subtle toast and cedar complexity, finished off with a slight crème brulee edge that comes courtesy of the whisky barrels. For a well-rounded meal, pair it with marinated beef ribs.
A Brief Guide To Wine Words
Now comes the hard part. You have two options. Option One: memorise the above, recite it to impress dinner dates and hope none of them ask any questions. Option Two: build your wine vocabulary, train your palate and develop a genuine appreciation for wine tasting.
A man of your calibre really only has one option, and you know which one it is. Here are five key vocab words to get you started:
Aroma: The scent of the grape from which the wine is made. Also referred to as the “bouquet” or “nose,” but never “smell.”
Body: The texture and intensity (or “weight”) of a wine as perceived in the mouth. May be light, medium, or full body.
Finish: The sensation of flavours that remain on your palate after you have already enjoyed and swallowed the wine.
Length: The amount of time the flavour sensations remain in your mouth and on your palate after drinking the wine.
Tannin: A characteristic found primarily in red wines, derived naturally from the skins, seeds and stems of grapes. Tannins leave the mouth feeling dry and “puckery.”
There you have it, gentlemen. You’ve brushed up. Now drink up.