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Saturday 14 April 2018

Wines aged in spirit barrels proving all the rage

Back in 2014, Jacob's Creek launched its Double Barrel range of wines from the 2012 vintage that had been finished in aged whisky barrels.

The wines were an immediate success; with Jacob's Creek promoting them as "rich reds finished in aged whisky barrels to build additional layers of complexity and an incredibly smooth finish".

The three reds in the range, a shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and a shiraz-cabernet blend have now been joined by a chardonnay, and sales have far exceeded initial expectations for owners Pernod Ricd.

Nothing is unique in the wine industry for long, however, and a Californian zinfandel aged in bourbon barrels is booming in the US market, along with Napa winery Cooper & Thief's sauvignon blanc aged in former tequila barrels. 

The bourbon-barrel aged zin is made by Fetzer Vineyards ­– owned since 2011 by Chile’s Concha y Toro – and has enjoyed growth from 5,000 cases in 2014 to 120,000 cases of annual sales in the past 12 months. 

Called 1000 Stories, the zinfandel was the result of a “brainstorming session” almost five years ago at Fetzer, and has become much sought-after in its domestic market. It is also a big hit in Denmark. 

1000 Stories sells for around $18 in the US, and is soon to be exported to the UK.

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