SONS OF A GUN- THE BARRY BROS.
You just know when you meet players in the wine game that some are there on the strength of others; with little passion. Then there are those that have this ethereal connected property that underline their sincerity that stretches back to the terroir from their conception. The former stars burn bright then die out whilst the latter develop in a solid steady crescendo,reaching the pinnacle amongst their peers. The young Barry Brothers of Jim Barry Wines, situated in the Clare Valley, SA, are here for the long haul.
The beginnings of this winery hail back to Jim Barry who graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1946. He was the 17th recognized scientifically trained wine maker in Australia. His love of horses and agriculture flourished. He combined sound methods of winemaking techniques which saw him create many magnificent vintages.
His son Peter, a marvelous raconteur and ambassador to the industry, also went to Roseworthy and has continued this passion. The grandsons Sam and Tom are firmly entrenched into the ethos of this wonderful family run business. Tom completes the trifecta with The Barrys the only Australian winemaking family to have 3 generations of qualified wine makers still active.
A million bottles of wine were made last year using 1500 tonnes of their own estate fruit. The Barry’s couldn’t afford to sell their fruit as they over capitalise on this to bring us great wines. To contemplate buying cheaper fruit would be sacrilege. Riesling is the dominating white with some sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Shiraz grape leads the reds with Cabernet Sauvignon fielding strongly along with small batches of Malbec.
Recently I had the fortune of meeting Sam Barry, a holder of an Economics degree, but with a passionate Barry influenced desire to create great wines. Peter, Tom and Sam are very active travelling promoters as at the time of writing, Peter was in China, Tom in WA and Sam in Melbourne. Sam acknowledges his Brother Tom’s wine making prowess but as a team the sum is greater than the parts. Barry wines are keen to promote that medium to high end wine as the work horse wines continue to build that economic platform. Some of these undervalued wines are in the $50 “GP” range whilst the “Specialist” Shirazes ($200)can hold their heads up alongside the likes of Grange.
2012 Florita Clare Valley Riesling- This is fruit from Leo Buring’s original iconic vineyards. The Riesling is the flag ship white and the immediacy of its release highlights the terroir. A lively pale yellow color is noted. The nose exudes classic lemon grassy floral notes that link with subtle tropical fruit nuances. The fruit whilst appearing generous is corralled by the length of acid. This wine should ensure the return of Riesling, as one of the great wines of Australia as its juicy mouth feel and taste is addictive. Have with Tartar Moololaba Tuna and flying fish roe. Cellar until you have no more (>10y)
2012 Barry Bros. Clare Valley Shiraz Cabernet- Great to see the Bros. working in tandem. The brighter red color alludes to the cheery red fruit aromas and hint s of currants and spice. The wine is balanced as a medium bodied wine with juicy fruits and subtle structural tannins. The wine zips around the palate and leaves lip smacking pleasantries that just twig the consciousness into thinking, “that is a lot better than you think at $20.” 2-3y cellaring but just enjoy and have with BBQ lamb and rosemary sausages.
2009 McRae Wood Clare Valley Shiraz- Super pedigree(underling to the Armagh) with dense purple colors. The aroma typifies great Clare Valley fruit with red to dark fruits, dates and hints of Asian spices. The palate is all encompassing with a silky fruit driven wine laden with long lived tannins. At $50, this is a keeper. Cellar for 15 plus years. In the meantime just decant and enjoy with any strong cheddars or lightly seared lamb French cutlet.
2008 The Armagh Clare Valley Shiraz- Named after Irish Settlers, it has long been the poor cousin to Grange. Whilst half the price at $200, it seems to have flailed a little in its desirability. Having drank many of these, it deserves its high end Langton’s classification. Dark dark purple. The nose is layer upon layer of complex fruits, spices, woods, leathers, and florals. It’s a heady alluring mix. The palate is young and precocious but ratchets its way across the palate releasing its magic as it travels. Again decant and enjoy for many decades.