Time for this year's favorite wine? Not quite...
Look, it's not that we haven't been drinking some really great wine over the last few months but the other day when someone asked, of all the wines that you have had what has stuck with you the most. Well, that was a bit of a different question to whats has been your favorite wine of late? With just a moment's thought, I knew it was the Jim Barry Wines flagship Armagh from Clare Valley South Australia.
Jim Barry Wines is a family winery based in Clare Valley South Australia. Jim Barry was the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley, graduating as the 17th student to gain a Degree in Oenology at the famous Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1947. The company was founded in 1959 by Jim and Nancy Barry.
In 2009, the Australian wine landscape was CHANGED FOREVER when 11 of Australia’s oldest family-owned, multi-generational wine businesses came together to form AUSTRALIA’S FIRST FAMILIES OF WINE and Jim Barry wines are one of them.
Back in late 2009 I had stopped at the cellar door in the Clare Valley South Australia and had a great tasting of some impressive wines. I tasted so many great wines at Jim Barry Wines cellar door that day. With some of Australia’s favorite wines like The Armagh, The McRae Wood, The Benbournie, First Eleven, Pb, The Cover Drive, The Lodge Hill Shiraz, The Barry Brothers, The Florita, The Lodge Hill Riesling, and Watervale Riesling. So good I could not resist purchasing a few gems to take with me.
The one that was the big prize of the group was the 2007 Armagh (I got it heavily discounted due to the damaged label).
The name of ‘Armagh’ was given to the area by the original Irish settlers who arrived in 1849 and named the lush rolling hills after their homeland.
Peter recalls hand watering the vines in the Armagh vineyard as a nine-year-old. “It was a sweltering hot summer, and the vines were struggling. We watered only the vines that looked dead from a 44-gallon drum on the back of their Dad’s tractor."
This wine delivers vintage after vintage. Surprisingly or at least to us, it does not seem to be as revered globally as we believe it should be. Maybe that is just our California impression. While contemplating what wine was worthy enough to be served at a very special event the Armagh was selected. It was the perfect wine for the job. It even stopped the sommelier in his tracks... with an OMG who makes this?
For those that follow our wine reviews, you will notice that this is a bit pricier than we usually write about. Yes, you noticed correctly, not our usual everyday tipple. This wine so impressed that it seemed simply just wrong not to stand on a chair and shout about how wonderful this bottle of wine was.
Some background on this vintage from the Jim Barry website.
"The 2007 growing season was the driest in 24 years,
meaning that vintage was much earlier than usual.
The Armagh vineyard was hand-picked in early March.
Variety: 100% Shiraz
Region: Clare Valley, South Australia
Estate Grown: 100%
Harvested: March 2007
First Release: Vintage 1985
Oak Treatment: 15 months in French & American oak
Total Acid: 6.70g/l
The 2007 Armagh was deep crimson in color and perhaps even tending to be a little purple and probably due to the low-yielding vines, it had a powerful nose of cranberry, mulberry, boysenberry and with the underlying characters of cinnamon, cedar, black pepper, and spearmint.
On the palate, the Armagh really showed its true strength and with its age at the time had a silky tannin structure as well as the flavors of red currants, black cherries, and blueberries that seduce your palate with undercurrents of earth and truffles that are just about perfect. This wine had a great finish to complement the wonderful flavor and power in this beautiful wine, all the while still showing finesse and restraint. On our scale, it goy no stars but a cracking score of 9. One of our highest ratings ever!
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.
There is a newer Armagh in my cellar to be pulled out with some poncy friends to upstage their fancy French or Napa wines and to show them what a bottle of truly great Aussie wine tastes like. The fact that it comes from Clare Valley is just our poncy twist! Now enjoy the video story ...
Happy Wine Adventures,