“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





13 September 2013


The Barry Bros by Jim Barry Clare Valley Shiraz Cabernet 2012 
$20; 14% alcohol; screw cap

"We wanted to create a wine that is approachable for people who don't want to sniff and swish, but who just want to share a good drop with family and friends," says Sam Barry in the press release.  Bean-counter Sam and winemaker Tom are the sons of Peter and Sue Barry and grandsons of the late Jim Barry. The press campaign surrounding this wine suggests it marks a handing-over of the company direction to a new generation.  "Now we're ready to make our own mark, and are determined to keep raising the profile of Jim Barry Wines with our passion, innovation and focus," Sam says.

 "Ironically we didn't choose something trendy like a Sangiovese or Tempranillo - we decided to take a modern approach to a classic Australian blend - Shiraz-Cabernet."

So it's a plunge toward the past at Barry's; even the label is designed to be retro: "It's a nod to our family's heritage and, while the wine is modern in style, the 1950s look branding harks back to the era when our grandparents Jim and Nancy bought their first vineyards." 

Without sniffing and swishing the wine, I find it a touch tricky to review and can't really point it, but I've been taking a hearty gulp of it off and on over the last few days, and yes, it is approachable for people.  The press release doesn't mention food, and in fact doesn't sound much like either of the Barry Bros., so I guess that means the wine is just a drink that you drink when you feel like a good drop. 

PS: Thinking, thinking ... I can't imagine the original Barry brothers, Jim and Brian, sharing a good drop without sniffing and swishing.  They would never have made one without that essential ritual, and I never once saw either of them drink a wine on any occasion without a very serious examination and analysis made of its bouquet.  The family name was built on their impeccable credentials in the swirl and sniff division.  Maybe that comes next, and the eminently amiable Barry Bros. Mk. III, are simply being modest.  Just sayin'. 

Véronique Barossa Old Vine Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2011 
$20; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93+ points

Véronique is the work of Peter and Vicki Manning, who are neighbours of Dominic Torzi at Mt McKenzie in the High Barossa. They hoped to grow vines on their property but hit a serious problem: no water.  So with some help from Dom, they began sourcing old vine fruit from the northern end of the Barossa floor, in the Moppa, making honest, unsophisticated wines of it, and selling it at prices which must make the pretenders and sophists wince.  Classic Barossa cooking chocolate, with all those deep pannacotta aromas of fig and raisins, nuts and confectioner's sugar provide the guts of this hearty but dignified blend.  The primary fruits on top are mulberry and prune and very ripe raspberries; the tannins way below so soft as to bring Ditters' dried apple to mind.  It's intense and complex, but never so thick or alcoholic as to be gloopy.  It has no overt oak, but just enough to add some spice to its summer dust and stubble whiff, and it's such a dead honest unpretentious son-of-a-gun that I can only marvel at that stunning price.  Pork belly, field mushrooms and beets should see it set alight some delight in the grumpiest, most sullen soul.  Whacko! 

Véronique Barossa Foundation Shiraz 2010 
 $20; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap, 94++ points

Bible black, with a bouquet as old and dense as carbon itself, here's a dead serious super-premium Barossa Shiraz from Greenock and Eden Valley.  It has faint reeks of anise and licorice in a gloomy, almost sinister well of blackberry, blackcurrant and prune.  It has that gently nose-tickling prickle of the ancient sandstones and schists of the High Barossa - hot summer aromas which some white coat boffins still maintain I can't possibly smell.  Believe whoever you prefer in that department, but my word  is more or less along the lines of this being a true blue Barossa Shiraz which is the son of its country and is here on the shelf at a quality and price which makes Woolies and Coles look like cheapo lollyshops.  At first, it's thick and furry in the mouth, something that four or five years' dungeon will sort, leaving you a ravishing ravagement to savour in big balloon glasses with any hearty dark meats and beets a little further down the track.  Make sure to include some raw Spanish onion, diced into your buttery chunky mash (spuds, carrots and pumpkin) at the last minute with some parsley, and once your plate's set, hit it with the fresh black pepper.  Right now, it's just schmick to schlück with a Sicilian pecorino pepato: go see Lulu at Smelly Cheese and she'll set you right. Lovely wine at a price which we can only adore.

1 comment:

@gtWINEmag said...

And the Young Winemaker of the Year in 2013 goes to... Tom Barry of @Jimbarrywines - A big Congratulations from us.