The Cabernet Sauvignon fruit is sourced from Watervale and the Malbec fruit is sourced from Lodge Hill. Malbec, of course, has a long history in the Clare and plays the Shiraz role (from the quintessential Australian blend) in filling out the Cabernet midpalate; all black fruit and dried herbs, savoury and well balanced.
Focusing on the label of wine can often mean there’s not enough going on in the bottle. But not in this case. The wine delivers a full and layered palate experience. While the label is an honest homage to the wines sold by Jim and Nancy Barry under their St Clare Cellars label before the name changed to Jim Barry Wines. Charmingly retro, the livery is a good reminder that the history of Cabernet and Malbec (and the Barrys) in the region goes back a long way; and the Clare Valley remembers.
"Opened this a few days ago and it was pretty tight and stringy, so I popped the very nearly full bottle into the fridge and came back to it a few days later. It’s better now, though still pretty wiry and what you might call a little ‘ascetic’. Purple colour and smells, hazelnut and violet, plums and mint chocolate. Medium bodied, ample flavour of dark fruit and nuts, but sinewy and firm in tannin, with a briary character coming through, freshness and vigour though, and a particularly long and tannic finish. It’s a good wine – a slow reveal – that will take a lot of time in the cellar."
93+ points, The Wine Front (March 2017)
The Clare ValleyThe Clare Valley is located two hours north of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty ranges. The region was settled by John Horrocks who encouraged his servant James Green to plant the first vines in 1842. Climate in the Clare Valley is continental with hot summers, cold winters and low rainfall that necessitates supplementary irrigation. Soils in the valley are predominantly red brown loams over shale, permitting excellent drainage. Many of the best vineyards are located at higher elevations of 400-500m on sites that take advantage of the cool breezes that funnel up the corrugation of hills from the south. The Clare Valley is renowned for its zesty fruit-pure Rieslings particularly from the sub-regions of Polish Hill and Watervale. The region also produces intense age-worthy sturdy reds from Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
Jim BarryJim Barry, named after the eponymous founding wine maker, is one of the stalwart wineries of the Clare Valley. In 1959 the late Jim Barry purchased land near the township of Clare, replanting much of it to vineyard. Under the leadership of managing director Peter Barry and sons Tom and Sam Barry the brand has gone from strength to strength. Jim Barry is best known for its flagship Shiraz The Armagh, but also produces an impressive range of wines including Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from their vineyard holdings in the Clare Valley and Coonawarra.