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.
"As persuasive as its hip, retro label. Reticent on the nose with violet, anise and menthol scrub; expansive across the palate, laden with bitter chocolate, wine gum and dark fruit tones. The tannins are pulpy and honed nicely without their edge taken off, sashaying the fruit into a nourishing, persistent whole."
94 points, Wine Companion (December 2017)
"I love a wine where it takes me only a couple of seconds to form an opinion. This was love at first sight, or sip. Red and black berries, mint and leaf, a violet perfume, tobacco and all that, but it’s the dense, yet light palate that pulls you in. It’s packed with tannin, feels fine in the acid department, has this inky ferrous thing going on, which is wonderful. Pushes through with red fruits, black tea and super length, cool acidity ringing clear. Grand wine. Does the Clare Valley proud."
95+ points, The Wine Front (May 2018)
"A modern classic with retro labeling. This Clare Valley red blend has a proven track record in the region. Aromas of blueberries, blue plums, cassis, wet stones and dried herbs abound. The palate has an immaculate sense of ripeness and takes a savory stance in which the tannins are confidently expressed ahead of fruit sweetness. Finishes with concentrated dark plum stones. Kind of cryptic at first but this will deliver with time"
96 points, JamesSuckling.com (December 2018)
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.