To me, wine is so varied and so full of subtle nuances that I could never stick to just drinking a particular wine style or wine colour even. I’m an explorer and love to try new things. This means I’m a little promiscuous in my wine drinking just so that I can experience all those different iddy biddy pleasures that wine delivers to me. It’s all those little differences in wine that draw me to giving all types of wine a go.
I think I am in the minority. Sure, real passionate wine drinkers are pretty-well like myself, they’ll give almost anything a go. They’ve clearly joined the wine orgy, but to most people, such openness to wine is just a tad too extreme. Wine seems to polarize most people, they either like it or they don’t, and if they do, they only like certain wine styles or certain brands of wine, and that’s it.
I am guilty though of a bit of closed mindedness and that is towards brands that have become synonymous with mass production. These brands create an assumption in my head that everything they produce is going to be cheap, maybe a little boring, and potentially not too enjoyable. Where as the boutique brands give me imagery of a high-class gentleman’s club (or gentleladies club) the mass-produced brands are on the street corner. You only grab them when you’re desperate and can’t get into the high-class club (well so I’ve been told). And I think this way of thinking is the closed-minded trap of the experienced wine lover.
We recently received 6 of Jacob’s Creek’s Reserve range. World over Jacob’s Creek is known for its mass produced Aussie wines. These wines are usually multi-region blends but the Reserve range are actually single region wines. They are Jacob’s Creek’s showcase of a particular style from the region the Reserve wine comes from.
We’ve got a rule on this blog that we remain fun and positive. If we don’t like something we just don’t talk about it, and there have been wines sent to us we haven’t mentioned. That’s just how we roll. But I’m going to break that rule just a little here so that I can put the whole blog post into context.
We recently went away with friends and I took along the Jacob’s Creek Reserves. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, they were Jacob’s Creek. When I brought them out to the table our friends couldn’t hold back their similar thoughts. We all composed ourselves and said “we’ve got to give them a fair go” and that we did. To our amazement, they were actually decent wines, especially for their price range.
We commented on how well they were made. Sure, there was an element of being produced to please “most palates” but clearly a huge effort had gone into getting them right. I suppose that’s the thing with the big wineries, they have a pool of talent to call on if they want to craft something a little more special while still being able to produce it in quantity. They can capitalize on the mass market and still create wine that goes above and beyond. Even Yellowtail won one of Australia’s most prestigious wine awards in 2004, the Jimmy Watson trophy, for their 2003 Premium Cabernet.
To the wines…
The 2013 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes out of the Adelaide Hills. It’s a clean crisp cool climate wine with quite a bit of flavour to back this up. Lots of tropical fruit like passionfruit and a bit of lemony citrus too. A good wine for quaffing on a sunny afternoon. It went well with the fish and chips we cooked up.
The 2013 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling comes from the Barossa, and in particular, the Eden Valley, known for its good Riesling. Although a young Riesling that may get even better over the next few years it’s very ready to drink now with lots of fruit flavours coming to the fore over the fine acid structure. There’s lime with a honeysuckle background and a bit of apple in there too. This one also went very well with the fish and chips, the citrus combining smoothly with the juice on the fish.
The 2013 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay is made primarily from fruit out of the Adelaide Hills. This is a cracker of a Chardy and the crowd favourite. I’ve since discovered that it has won numerous awards and I can see why. It’s a full flavoured robust and quite complex chardonnay with everything well in balance. There are stone fruits like peach and nectarine and a bit of grapefruit in there too all finished off with a decently long taste of butterscotch and some toast. Very yum indeed.
The 2013 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Pinot is another one out of the Adelaide Hills. For the price, considering Pinot can get quite exy, it’s an enjoyable everyday wine and is well-balanced. It’s quite perfumy on the nose and has a lot of cherry and strawberry fruit characteristics with a bit of cinnamon and spice.
The 2011 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz hails from the Barossa Valley and was an enjoyable full-bodied South Australian red with quite a sweet aroma. Decent berry flavours came to the fore with plum being dominant. It was quite a toasty red, the oak being dominant especially on the finish, although quite soft and pleasant.
The 2012 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is straight out of the Coonawarra and doesn’t let the region down. Although on the medium side of being full-bodied it packed an array of dark fruit flavours including blackcurrant. There was also a hint of mint and eucalyptus, something the Coonawarra is known for producing. It had a toasty finish and a bit of light spice at the very end. A good wine too for the lamb we were eating, the flavours combining well.
Sure, there are no doubt better wines out there from each of the regions represented in these wines but you’d have to pay a lot more money for them. At between $13-$20 per bottle, the Reserve range wines are fairly good value and have been made to please the general palette with enough bits in there to keep you interested.
We commented that if these wines had been served to us without labels, or in brown paper bags, we would have had no preconceptions about the brand and probably would have rated them even better than we did. So that’s the thing, don’t let preconceptions get in the way of enjoying wine. Explore, be promiscuous with your wine, and don’t look down on that one standing on the street corner, it may surprise you!