A short while ago I was contacted by a representative from Jacob's Creek who asked if I would be interested in samples of some of their wines. What the heck, it's free, right? Well, that isn't really the attitude I have towards samples; I honestly receive very few but am kind of glad about that because I don't want to get a whole bunch of wine I really don't want and then feel like I have to review it. That said, if Madame Leroy or someone from the DRC wants me to sample something, I guess I would try it.
Continuing on.. I did receive the samples and being that today, January 26, is Australia Day, what better day to write a review of the samples? So here goes..
2005 Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: Nice cedary and fruity aromas but on the palate it initially didn't taste like a cab to me (granted, I am not really much of a Cabernet fan). It had a tart, cranberry character to it. Like I do with pretty much all the wines I drink, I had 1/4 of the bottle on day one, and then poured the remainder into three splits to have over the next three days. The wine did improve over the three days, taking on a rounder, more mellow fruit character. The cedar/smoke component remained. There was a nice balance of acid, tannins and fruit but the aftertaste was very short. The wine retails for $13.99 but I saw it at Costco for $8.99 a couple of weeks ago. By the third and fourth splits the wine was showing good varietal character.
2007 Jacob's Creek Chardonnay Reserve: Oh boy there was lots of toasty oak in this wine, both aromas and palate. Toasted nuts, too. Predominately pear and apple fruit, an enough of it to balance out the oak; there was also good acidity. There was actually quite a bit of everything in the wine - a good concentration. Not a big, fat buttery chardonnay, this one was zippy. Like the cab, the aftertaste was short.
2007 Jacob's Creek Pinot Noir Reserve: This one came with a screw-top. It looked like a Pinot in color, which is good because I don't like pouring a Pinot Noir and seeing something opaque flow from the bottle. It smelled like one too, although the aromas were not real intense. Spiced cherry, somce cola flavors; good fruit and what I felt was the right texture - smooth and not heavy. There was a good balance of all the components, held together with good acidity.
2006 Jacob's Creek Shiraz Reserve: Very earthy, with chocolate and berries on the palate. Lots and lots of berries, actually. The balance between the fruit, tannins and acidity was good. A nice smooth and supple wine. A bit heavy on the earth at the beginning but then it rounded out.
2008 Jacob's Creek Riesling Reserve: This one seemed very woody and also not very Riesling-like at the beginning. By the third and fourth splits it was tasting better, with tight, lemony flavors and very bright acidity. There was a soapy character to this wine, too. It got better with air but I'd say this was the weakest of the bunch.
Overall, this was a pleasing group of wines. They all retail for $13.99 and you could do a lot worse at that price. If you find it under $10 (like the Cabernet at Costco), most definitely give it a try. Aside from the Riesling, they all showed good varietal character, were concentrated, and were very well balanced. None of them were what you would call real complex wines, but for the price they are an excellent value, especially if you can find them at a discount. Even the Riesling acquitted itself after having some air time. All of these were surprisingly good (I say surprisingly because this is the first time I have ever tasted anything from Jacob's Creek).
I wouldn't have purchased these if I saw them at the store, but I am happy to have gotten the samples and they were worth drinking. I didn't dump them out prematurely! I wanted to finish them all up.
With that, happy Australia Day to everyone!