It was a cold wet wintry (I said wintery) day and there I was in front of this famous name in wines from Clare Valley South Australia, a member of Australia's First Family of Wine, and about to go in to meet with young winemaker of the year from last year and taste some truly iconic wines. So how did I get here? To help frame how this came about let me share a little story that starts in 2009...
Nov 2009 - Early in my fine wine consuming (different than the regular wine years) I was tasting wine at cellar doors in the beautiful Clare Valley of South Australia with friends, and came across a very special high end wine that was sitting in a discount bin because it's label had been stained by wine (bottle broken in a case). It was half price and although still almost double my usual purchase price range, I had been told by someone I trusted that this was the deal of a lifetime (maybe a slight exaggeration). In a moment of weakness or perhaps some divine intervention I grabbed a bottle and purchased it.
Carefully packing it in the suitcase for the journey back to California where it remained in storage hidden away till Dec 2015. This was a special bottle (read, expensive).
It's December 2015 and for a special occasion I opened one of those bottles of wine that is always waiting for the just right time. You know those special bottles that you bury deep in storage to age a bit. The ones you had to remember not to let die a slow dusty death. The special occasion was my wife's birthday. The night started with bubbles at a top Carmel tasting room Caraccioli Cellars and then off to the lovely Grasing's for a nice dinner, which is where I revealed the special bottle. Kiwi and his wife were going to be included in experiencing this special bottle (really wished I had 2). I can hear some, ok most of you saying 'oh just shut up and tell us what it was.
(Que snare drum) All the way from the Clare Valley in South Australia I shared with Kiwi and Mrs Kiwi, my wife and myself (oh and a little sip for Toby our somm mate) the Jim Barry Wines 2007 Armagh.
Look, critically this was not supposed to be one of the best vintages, but let me say bollocks, this wine was simply magnificent. A truly beautiful wine. Click on the link above for our thoughts.
Here we are in 2016 heading to Adelaide South Australia again and one of my favorite things to do is attend the master classes at the National Wine Center. This trip it happened to be Jim Barry Wines. The person leading the master class was none other than last years young winemaker of the year Tom Barry. A cracking night with good wine and some good conversation lead to a, 'see you later next week at the winery'.
So that's how it came about that here I am in the Clare Valley at Jim Barry Wines. Excitedly in we go and meet up with Tom Barry and we taste and talk about all things wine. We spent a lot of time tasting and talking about a group of wines that Tom is really proud of (he is proud of all their wines).
They are not what you may think. Tom really wants to have the entry level punter taken care of with quality wines at very affordable prices.
All four star wines starting at $19 Aust and up to $22 Aust. The Classic Cover Drive, The Barry Brothers Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon and the Lodge Hill Shiraz. Fantastic value for some great go to wines to share with friends or on any night of the week without breaking the bank. We were impressed. Of course not one to turn down wine we continued to taste through the entire range all the way to the Iconic Armagh. The 2012 Armagh is a very special wine and although it gets no stars as the price point is up there, but for those that can afford it, you will not be disappointed. Again this is a truly magnificent wine. While drinking with Tom, Peter Barry came out to say g'day. I had met Peter in San Francisco at an Australia's First Family of Wine event in 2015 and it was nice to reacquaint.
Great wine to be enjoyed at Jim Barry Wines in the beautiful Clare Valley. Thanks to Tom and Peter for being great hosts.
Jim Barry wines is a must stop by if you are in the area.
Happy Wine Adventures,