Yesterday I received a very special gift. It was a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet 2010, “the highest quality wine” made by Australia’s leading global wine brand to honour the contribution of its former Chief Winemaker Bernard Hickin, who retired recently after spending 40 years with the company.
A befitting gesture to a winemaker who has been associated with the brand since its inception in 1976 and a tribute to his dedication which has made Jacob’s Creek wines so popular across the globe.
The release of this “Limited Edition” wine in June 2016 was overseen by Chief Winemaker Ben Bryant, to whom the baton has now passed. He describes it as “an exceptional blend of the finest Shiraz from Barossa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra”, two of the three regions in Australia where Jacob’s Creek makes wines, the third being Adelaide Hills. It is common knowledge that 2010 was a great vintage year especially in Barossa, coming after a period of prolonged drought.
The bottle label has a pencil sketch of Bernard Hickin while the tasting notes describe the wine as “incredibly rich, intensely flavoured and boldly structured”.
The fact that only 250 bottles have been sent out globally out of a total of just 1200 bottles made and I am one of those to receive a bottle out of India’s share of 17 bottles, makes me feel very privileged.
However it also puts me in a huge quandary whether to open the bottle now or put it away for a few years as this is a wine which has been “crafted to last beyond a decade”. In the words of Bernard Hickin it’s “A wine that could last 40 years”.
Jacob’s Creek as we all know is pastis maker and global drinks giant, French company Pernod Ricard’s, top selling imported wine brand in India. According to unconfirmed trade figures more than 70,000 cases were sold in the year 2015-16 alone.
Besides being the most visible brand in retail and banqueting, it also has the best brand recall. Even those Indians, who don’t drink wine, will say “Jacob’s Creek” if you ask them to name any imported wine brand they are familiar with.
The fact that such a growth has been achieved despite crippling taxes on imported wines and the ever changing compliance norms of India’s food regulatory authority FSSAI, shows the popularity of this wine brand.
The reason is simple enough. Jacob’s Creek makes wines that most people love. They may not appeal to wine snobs or score high with critics but the “user friendly” style of these “approachable” wines is an instant hit with people who like “simple fruit flavors”.
Even though the marketing muscle of Pernod Ricard cannot be discounted in terms of pushing sales, cracking a tough market like India is no mean achievement and if the people did not enjoy the wine, they would not drink it.
The Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet 2010 is not available for sale in the retail market and can only be purchased (only 850 bottles) from the Jacob’s Creek Visitor’s Centre in Barossa Valley, Australia. A bottle can set you back by $180 but it is certainly a collector’s item.
Jacob’s Creek wine range available in India is the Classic range (Shiraz Cabernet & Chardonnay) Reserve (Barossa Shiraz & Adelaide Hills Chardonnay) and Sparkling (Chardonnay Pinot Noir & Rose).
Jacob Creek Wines are distinctly Australian made in a style which reflects the youthful wine culture of the New World. Love them or hate them, you certainly cannot ignore them.
By: Lavina Kharkwal