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Wine

Masters of Riesling - Jim Barry Wines

We caught up with second generation winemaker Peter Barry, whose stunning Jim Barry The Lodge Riesling 2015 from the Clare Valley is the Wine of the Month for August.

What makes the Clare Valley such a special grape growing wine region?

The Clare Valley is such a special grape growing region due to the warm days and cool nights which allow grapes to ripen fully but retain natural acidity and hence freshness. The undulating hills provide many aspects so we can grow Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet on different slopes of the same vineyard.

What are some of the winemaking challenges it presents?

The major winemaking challenge in Riesling is sunburn, which can be mitigated by canopy management to ensure no fruit is exposed to direct sunlight. For red wine, it is about picking at the right time to achieve a balance between ripeness and acid without the grapes becoming over ripe.

What have been some of Jim Barry Wines’ greatest achievements in recent years?

We’ve had great success, but some of the standouts include:
Mathew Jukes Australian Winery of the year for 2016.
Trophy for 2016 Lodge Hill Riesling at the 2016 Royal Sydney Wine Show
Trophy for Barry Brothers Shiraz Cabernet for 2013 as the Brisbane and Melbourne Wine Shows, as well as Trophy in Brisbane for the 2014 vintage.
Trophy for best producer at the Clare Valley Wine Show for five of the past six vintages.

Also we’re very proud to have introduced the Greek variety of Assyrtiko to Australia.

Can you sum up your experience of the 2016 vintage in a few words?

Good rains in January hydrated very thirsty vines, leading to an exceptional vintage.

When Jim Barry purchased the Lodge Hill vineyard in 1977 he was confident it would “produce some of the best Riesling in Clare”. What did he see that was so special about this vineyard?

Three things. Elevation which leads to cooler night and better acid retention in Riesling, rocky/slatey soil meaning the vines have to send their roots deep into the ground in search of moisture and many aspects to suit Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet.

The Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Riesling 2015 is the Wine Selectors Wine of the Month for August. What makes this a standout expression of the variety?

The 2015 The Lodge Hill Riesling shows the perfect balance between ripe flavours, acidity and minerality.

We matched it with Thai pork salad in our 2016 calendar. What is your favourite food match with this wine?

With its natural acidity and zesty citrus, Riesling is the perfect match for spicy Asian food. Having said that, The Lodge Hill is absolutely delicious with a simple plate of freshly shucked oysters with finger lime.

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In 2010, Brown Brothers went in search of parts potentially cooler, buying the extensive Tasmanian vineyards of troubled forestery giant, Gunns Ltd. for $32.5 million. It was an expensive commitment to a changing climate, ironically, coming at a cost: the forced sale of Whitlands. But not everyone can change vineyard location. It’s far easier and cheaper to change the grape variety. McLaren Vale boasts a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate. With that in mind, Coriole winemaker Mark Lloyd thought it obvious to look to Italian varieties. Some didn’t work. Nebbiolo and Barbera are real sooks in the heat, as he discovered during the January heat wave of 2009. Fruit all but disappeared on the vine. However, grape varieties sourced from Southern Italy are a different story. Fiano has become possibly his greatest success story, an inspiration to others. It is already being hailed as making the region’s best white wine. Nero d’Avola, a late maturing red variety, is also performing well. 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Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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