Latest releases: Jacob’s Creek Rieslings
Including the entry-level classic Riesling in his 100 Best Australian Wines, Matthew Jukes observed, “after three quiet years JC is back.” When I met up with Chief Winemaker Ben Bryant shortly after Jukes’ tasting, he gave me the low down about some “massive adjustments” at Jacob’s Creek, such as the introduction of gentler bag presses for its classic reds. The Riesling – always a strong suit – has seen some tweaks too.
Following an era of surpluses (input costs and returns were at their lowest in 2014/2015, he reports) and a decade when there was not lots of investment in existing vineyards in Australia, Bryant reported that “now we have rebounded into a more balanced scenario, the big shift is taking our teams right back in the vineyard – we want the right growers delivering what we need in fruit quality…smart growing.”
For the Classic Riesling which, these days is primarily sourced from Langhorne Creek, with a splash of Clare Valley fruit (“the Barossa is no longer because commercial Riesling is not as good a bet as Shiraz”), he is looking for “a bit more generosity and fruit profile, rather than just acid line, because Riesling at that price has to be approachable.” For the upper tier wines, especially Steingarten, where the source vineyards are “at a beautiful age and balanced where they are,” it’s not about stylistic changes, rather the challenge is “sustainable wine growing to keep delivering at this level.”
Jacob’s Creek Rieslings – not just Steingarten, also the Reserve – age incredibly well. You will find previous reports of vertical tastings here (back to 2002) and here (back to 1978, look under Orlando).
Jacob’s Creek Classic Riesling 2016 (South Australia)
If, like me, this is a wine you’d happily buy fear not. It is approachable, but the 2016 has lost none of its varietal zip. It’s a citrus-fest, with nice purity and jangle of juicy limes with lemon and a crisp, fresh, dry finish. 11.9% It’s a crazy, frankly ridiculously low price at £5.50/bottle at Sainsburys, even before the current 25% off when you buy 6 bottles deal. Fill your boots!
Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Riesling 2016 (Barossa)
Showing excellent regional typicity, this 100% Eden Valley-sourced Riesling is aromatic with lemon and lemon thyme fruit sweetness and lift to the nose and a dry, mineral palate with lemon and grapefruit citrus drive. Mid-length. 11.9%
Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2015 (Barossa)
This favourite Riesling is in scintillating form. Though labelled Barossa, it is from three Eden valley vineyards including the titular Steingarten vineyard, first planted in 1962 by Colin Gramp. The perfumed nose reveals sweet lime and lime blossom/powder puff. In the mouth, it’s taut, with fresh lime juice vivacity and line and terrific slate and chalk minerality. Great immediate (frisky) appeal for G & T lovers and, most definitely one to stash away too. With great palate presence, line and length, it puts me in mind of the 2002 and 2005. 11%