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Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – Vintage 2002

Posted by dave

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage 2002

So it’s no real surprise that we’re reviewing another Australian wine. As a matter of a fact, it’s no secret that – booze-for-buck – when it comes to wines, we think that Australia just about has the lock on the market.

However, trying to be responsible reviewers (and obviously trying to keep Australia from becoming snooty) we made a pact to try to vary our wine countries a little, and we did. Some of the bottles of wine we reviewed came from the vineyards of France, Italy, and South Africa.

But there I was in the wine store, and sitting lonely by itself was a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, vintage 2002 no less. No longer having to beg our parents “can we PLEASE take it home with us!??” I just slid the debit card through the little slot at the cashier station, and this little bottle was now part of our family.

However, as with all pets, we eventually had to open it and ingest what was inside, so we figured we’d share the experience with you, our very small public.

Turns out, this bottle of wine was less innocent than it looked in the wine store. As a matter of a fact, it bit back under no provocation of our own, and having done so, I realized this bottle would have to go the way of Old Yeller. Finding myself short one shotgun (and something to do with discharging firearms inside the house in my condo association documents) I decided that the task could be accomplished by drinking the wine, rather than shooting the bottle.

Doing so as I write this article (which may explain the slightly odd pet analogies) I’ve got to say this bottle of wine packed a little wallop. This is not to say that Cabernet Sauvignons (for the sake of my inability to spell “Cabernet Sauvignon”, will be now known as “Cabs”) are weak or tasteless in general, however Cab wines can be a softer, smoother, warm experience. This Cab even pretends to be so until the very end, and then it sneak attacks you.

This particular vintage was much more aggressive than I originally had expected. It’s woody, it’s dark, and dare I say it, slightly chocolaty. But those qualities are simply sideline players to its bite. The fruit and wood flavors make you expect one finish, when in fact, it’s hiding another. Here’s how it fools you.

You know before first taste that it will be warm and dark. The nose lets you in on that little tidbit. Then you sip. It hits the tongue, and you’re almost surprised by the cool fruitiness of it all. But as most drinking works, after putting said wine in your mouth, you must swallow. And then BAM! there is a strong bite in your throat that no nose or initial flavor had hinted at. As you ponder the bite, you start to feel the warmth traveling down your front. You have several glasses, and as you sip your last sip, you find yourself just as surprised by the finishing bite as you were during your first sip.

I would not recommend this as a general table wine. It is bold, and should be served with complimentary boldness, such as a hearty steak or a heavy Italian dish. It demands a touch of respect, but there are shortfalls.

This Cab has what I would call different flavor “acts”, but it is not particularly good at transitioning between them. The bite in your throat can overpower the rest of the experience, and it leaves your mouth and lips dry.

Those small things aside, at $13, it’s a formidable Cab. Finding another Cab with such strength would be difficult under $30. I’ll probably personally steer myself towards simpler Cabs (as the girlfriend likes) and ones that make better table wines, for sitting around with friends, enjoying stories. That said, this wine comes recommended, and if you’re in the mood for a strong Cab, try this one on for size.


Posted in Australian, Red Wine


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  1. Margie said:

    I just had this very wine last night for the first time.. Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cab Sauv 2002 it was do delicious.. I am now looking this up on the internet to see where I can get more.. the previous post by Dave was so wordy??? so involved with bites and changing feelings and tastes and I found none of this to be true.. this is a fabulous wine that I can find NO NEGATIVE comments about.. and the taste is delicious I can only describe it as such.. the post from Dave had me on the edge of my seat reading and reading to try to figure out what the heck he was actually saying?? did he like the wine or what?? I don’t care what surprizes me or what has this bite or that bite unless it has a bitter taste or bad taste… but in any case.. this was a fabulous wine make NO DOUBT in your mind that it is very tasty and well deserving of any meal and any group of friends that come over to chat.. sit by a fire.. it’s GREAT!! there’s no double talk here! Margie

  2. dave said:

    @Margie – I do tend to be wordy in my reviews, but it’s kind of how I write. I don’t disrespect this wine, but I did not find it to be a suitable table wine. I do recommend it, but mostly for drinking with heartier meals – heavy pasta dishes, or a good steak and potatoes. While a table wine is meant to be smooth and enjoyable with snacks or on its own, I found this wine to require food of equal stamina to keep up with.

    That said, I appreciate your comments – perhaps other people will find me equally as wordy and nondescript, and can rely on the simplicity of your comments – you loved it, hands down, no reservations.

    Thanks so much! (Sincerely.)

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