With a pale straw color in the glass, the nose of this wine has vibrant aromatics of lemon, orange blossom. It is driven by a powerful depth of flavor; lemon, lime and grapefruit with classic Watervale fragrant, floral musk. It’s clean line of acidity gives great length and drive to the generous offerings of flavor. The wine finishes with a gentle touch of mineralic texture to round out a mouth-watering, classic Watervale Riesling.
An Iconic Wine Family in South Australia's Clare Valley
In South Australia’s celebrated Clare Valley wine region, the Jim Barry winery was founded in 1959 by Jim and Nancy Barry. Widely credited with helping to shape the valley as a benchmark producer of world class Riesling and Shiraz, Jim Barry played a substantial role in cementing Clare as one of Australia’s premier wine regions. Their most illustrious wine, The Armagh Shiraz, from a single vineyard planted by Jim Barry in 1968, is one of the undisputed icons of Australian wine.
Today the winery and its vineyards are owned and managed by Jim’s son, Peter Barry, along with his wife, Sue Barry, and their three children – Tom, Sam and Olivia – who are winemaker, commercial manager and brand ambassador respectively
Over 55 years the Barry family has worked to establish a mosaic of vineyards across the Clare Valley, each unique in site, soil and aspect. They also have two vineyards in the Coonawarra region, where they grow Cabernet Sauvignon on the famous Terra Rossa soils.
The Barry family firmly believes that great wine is made in the vineyard. Their philosophy of winemaking is to own and farm the vineyards themselves, in order to develop the best fruit flavors possible. The Jim Barry winemaking style aims to retain those ideal fruit flavors, emphasizing freshness, character and drinkability over massive power and heaviness.
The Armagh Vineyard
Jim Barry’s Armagh Shiraz has achieved extraordinary success and is regarded as one of Australia’s highest quality wines. The vineyard was named after the adjoining hamlet of Armagh, established by Irish settlers in 1849. Jim Barry planted the vineyard in 1968 with Shiraz grapes.
The vineyard is planted on its own roots on gray sandy abrasive topsoil over clay subsoil and receives an average rainfall of 600 millimetres per year. Minimal intervention is needed to maintain yields below 4 tons per hectare, which produce rich and concentrated fruit of the rare quality required to produce wines with ageing potential.
The Florita Vineyard
The Florita vineyard at Watervale is one of the oldest in the Clare Valley. This is the vineyard where legendary winemaker, John Vickery, sourced the grapes for his great Leo Buring Rieslings of the 1960s and 1970s. At a time when the South Australian government had initiated a vine pull program to counter an oversupply of grapes and the industry was in a state of turmoil, Mark, Peter and John Barry went against conventional wisdom and purchased the Florita vineyard in 1986. The unique soil composition is primarily loamy clay over limestone. Traditionally, vines from Florida are hand-pruned to a level of 40 buds per vine to maintain the intensity of flavor. The grapes are harvested in the cool of the night at their optimum ripeness to preserve the delicate Riesling flavors and to retain natural acidity.
The Lodge Hill Vineyard
The first time Jim Barry walked on the soils of Lodge Hill in 1977, he knew it was a special site. It now produces two of Jim Barry’s most famous wines – the Lodge Hill Riesling and the Lodge Hill Shiraz. Situated on the eastern ranges of the township of Clare, the Lodge Hill vineyard is one of the highest points in the valley. Jim’s original intention was to devote the entire Lodge Hill vineyard to premium Riesling. However, he discovered a very different soil profile on the small north-facing slope. Warmer than the rest of the property, Jim decided it was the perfect place to plant Shiraz. So in essence, there are two vineyards within the one.
The Shiraz vineyard’s soil consists of rich, chocolatey loam over rock in almost vertical sheets. The cracks between the sheets have been filled with soil, providing passage for the vine roots and free drainage – the ideal environment for low-yielding Shiraz vines.
The soil in the Riesling vineyard, on the other side of the crest, is brown loam over a layer of clay and slate bedrock that is about 900 million years old and has cracked just off the vertical so that water can drain freely through it. It’s a soil that nourishes the vines adequately, but makes them struggle just a bit, making it suited to growing intensely flavored, fine structured Rieslings.
The Old Cricket Ground Vineyard
Jim Barry always had an affection for Coonawarra and the region’s fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon fruit, so when the old Penola cricket ground went on the market, the opportunity to transform it into a vineyard was too good to miss.
Over thousands of years, erosion and air-borne dust have laid down the famous Coonawarra “terra rossa” soil. The limestone that underlies the area is porous and has an excellent water-holding capacity, providing a very good source of water during dry periods. Coonawarra has a cooler climate than many of the other Australian grape-growing regions. This cooler climate results in a much longer ripening season, which in turn produces excellent fruit flavors and unique tannin structure.
Accolades for Jim Barry Wines
- 5 Red Star Rating in James Halliday’s Wine Companion — “Outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity.”
- Australian Winery of the Year, 2016/2017 — Matthew Jukes
- Top 10 Australian Wineries, 2016/2017 — Matthew Jukes
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Decorates the glass with a bright magenta color. Juicy and vibrant on the nose, this wine displays red and dark fruit flavors – raspberry, blackberry and cherry, with lifts of violet florals and sweet spice. The palate is lively and bright with a burst of red fruit. A medium-bodied composition with soft, fine-grained tannins give length and depth, finishing with a touch of spice and savoury oak. Very easy drinking, this wine is ready to be enjoyed now through 2020.
On the southern boundary of Coonawarra is the old Penola cricket ground, which first saw a ball bowled in anger and the flashing cover drives of the local champions in 1950. Sadly, the ground closed in 1996. Soon after, Jim Barry purchased the 30-acre property and planted a Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.
Lodge Hill Range
Jim Barry purchased the Lodge Hill vineyard in 1977 as he was sure it would “produce some of the best Riesling in Clare.” Situated on the eastern ranges of the township of Clare, Lodge Hill is one of the highest vineyards in the Valley – at an altitude of 1575 feet – and is ideal for producing steely, minerally Rieslings, distinctive to the area.
The Lodge Hill Shiraz vineyard, on the Clare Valley’s eastern ranges, has soils of rich, chocolatey loam over almost vertical sheet of rock. The cracks between the rock have filled with soil, providing passage for the vine roots and free drainage – the ideal environment for low-yielding Shiraz vines.
This is Australia’s first Assyrtiko, originally planted in August 2012 at the Lodge Hill Vineyard on the eastern ranges of the Clare Valley. The wine has been praised for its similarity to its Greek counterpart and has great natural acidity with flavors of pear, apricot and apple. A medium-bodied wine with a fine texture that we do not see in our Riesling.
The friendship between Ernst Loosen of the Dr. Loosen Estate in Germany, and Peter Barry of Jim Barry Wines, Australia, began in 1995 in London. Forged out of a mutual respect for the noble variety Riesling, this collaboration of ideas pays homage to the winemaking techniques used by the Loosen family for generations, and the vineyard practices of the Barry family. The grapes for this wine are grown in an area of the Clare Valley known as Wolta Wolta, which is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘good water’.
This Shiraz honors the vision of pioneer Clare Valley winemaker Jim Barry. In 1964, Jim purchased 70 acres of prime land from Duncan McRae Wood and planted his first vineyard with Shiraz. It was an inspired choice of both grape variety and location.
The Benbournie region was settled in 1853 by Catholic German friends of local priest, Father Kranewitter. The tiny settlement comprises about 15 mud huts surrounded by a Roman Catholic chapel. The small community’s optimism was built on copper mining, however the industry’s decline signaled its demise before the turn of the century. All that remains today are a few ancient vines, fig trees and almond trees.
The name of “Armagh” was bestowed by the original Irish settlers who arrived in 1849 and named the lush, rolling hills after their homeland. In 1968 the vineyard was planted by Jim Barry and yields less than two tons per acre. The soil is sandy gravel and receives an average rainfall of 23 inches per year. The vineyard lies on a north-facing slope, which acts as a natural sun trap, ensuring the fruit is always fully ripened when picked.