Introducing the Jim Barry wines
Italy, France, Spain and the USA are the only countries that produce more wine than Australia.
During the past few years we have watched this nation become more and more important for us; the brilliantly marketed 19 Crimes has certainly helped with volume. I always remember an iconic Australian winemaker telling us that, upon returning home, a customs official asked him if he had a criminal record. His reply was, “Is this still necessary?”
Old stalwarts like Mollydooker and Bird in Hand are popular, and the recently added Penfolds and Lindeman’s have really solidified our share of this market. Now, we add Jim Barry wines from Clare Valley, which is situated a mere 80-mile drive from Adelaide.
Grapes first arrived in Clare Valley in 1849 and then along came Jim Barry and his wife Nancy in 1959. They realised that the unique combination of geography, geology and climate were perfect for producing world-class wine and Jim became the first qualified winemaker in the valley.
Today, the company is owned and managed by the third generation of the Barry family, grandsons Peter, Tom and Sam. Their land consists of 572 acres in Clare Valley and 77 in nearby Coonawarra.
In 1977, the family purchased land to create Lodge Hill vineyard and their Lodge Hill 2018 Dry Riesling in the glass has crystal-like clarity, with a straw colour and green hues. The aromas are rich and lifted, with pink grapefruit, lime citrus and a hint of spice, showing its Lodge Hill vineyard heritage.
The palate is supportive of these aromas and is enhanced by a zingy natural acid backbone and flavours of mandarin, white peach and strawberry at the forefront. It has immense length and intensity of flavour, with a crisp, zesty finish. $27.45.
In 2006, Peter and Sue Barry travelled to the Greek island of Santorini and here, for the first time, they tasted the Assyrtiko grape that is steeped in the 6,500-year-old Greek culture of winemaking. Peter met with Yiannis Argyros and from his winery collected 12 dormant cuttings from a single vine that was among some of the world’s oldest. In 2012, the Jim Barry winery produced Australia’s first Assyrtiko white wine.
What do folks think of this wine on this side of the world? Let me share remarks from Wine Enthusiast Magazine: “Jim Barry 2017 Clare Valley Assyrtiko is made in small quantities and this is only the second vintage of this wine and, so far, the results are promising. The nose is heady and aromatic in tones of lemon-lime, peach juice, florals and touches of white pepper and wild herbs. A rush of racy acidity on the palate is balanced by a chalky, stony texture.
This is a refreshing, summery drop, perfect for shellfish or Southeast Asian cuisine. 91/100.” $29.90.
On the southern boundary of Coonawarra is an old cricket ground which ceased operation in 1996. Shortly after, the 30-acre property was purchased by Jim Barry and they planted it with cabernet sauvignon that now gives us Cover Drive 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon and features a cricketer at bat on the label. One could say that this wine smacks it out of the park with its cassis, cedar, succulent tannins, blackcurrant, liquorice and cherry. $23.60.
Raymond Chan wine reviews has this to say about Jim Barry Lodge Hill 2016 Shiraz: “Very dark, deep, purple-red colour, near impenetrable and youthful in appearance. This has a bright, aromatic nose with dark-red berry fruit and dark raspberries and violet florals, with some whole-berry fermentation lift. Medium-full bodied, the palate is richly sweet and plush with fragrant dark-red florals, raspberries, plums and whole berry fermentation esters. The fruit is underlined by supple tannins that allow the juiciness to prevail, and fresh acidity enlivens the mouthfeel. This is a delicious fruit-forward and approachable style with fine textures.” $27.45.
Jim Barry First Eleven XI Coonawarra 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon honours the legends of Australian cricket, those elite sportsmen who have achieved the distinction of representing their country at the highest level, the best of the best.
The wine is only produced in exceptional years. First XI bright currant and dark cherry fruit is flanked by fine, savoury tannins, giving the palate both intensity and directive structure. Layers of sweet fruit combine to give a wine of complexity and seamless balance. A persistent finish displaying distinctive Coonawarra cassis fruit and mouth-coating, chalky tannin closes out a wine that has the potential to cellar well over the next decade. $48.20.
We also have Jim Barry Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 for $23.60, but let me tell you a little about their Annabelle’s Rosé 2018 that sells for $23.60. It is named after Peter Barry’s first grandchild who was born in 2015, and also a newly purchased vineyard. This is only the second vintage of this pale pink, grenache-based wine. It offers a generous burst of raspberry with aromas of flowers and a touch of spice.
•This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm