2017 Jim Barry, Watervale Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia.
The crisp, bright and fresh dry Watervale Riesling by Jim Barry Wines is one of the great values in white wines and for those of us that are Riesling freaks will enjoy stocking up on this for the warm Summer months ahead. The tiny village of Watervale is nestled in South Australia’s Clare Valley and is internationally renowned for the quality of its Rieslings which along with Eden have long been places in Oz to search out for this grape. The Barry family has shown a long history of making tasty dry Riesling, as they proudly note, they have consistently been awarded prizes for its quality ever since its first release in 1974. The, as the winery adds, Watervale Riesling is picked from select parcels of vines that achieve ripeness with naturally high acid levels that gives this wine its balance, finest and lightness of feel, while still being flavorful and having true varietal character. The Barry family started their famous winery in 1959 and world renown for their Shiraz wines with the young Tom Barry continuing the tradition taking over from his famous father Peter Barry (son of founder Jim), who brought this small producer such fame with his trade mark Armagh Shiraz, an iconic Australian wine.
The 2017 is drinking lovely with brisk acidity still pumping, but secondary notes starting to emerge with touches of earth, flinty stoniness and a whiff of petrol adding to the vibrant lime and white peach fruits as well as touches of green melon, mint and verbena. The Watervale Riesling is easy to drink and with only a faint trace of classic Clare oiliness and its saline and tangy personality makes it lovely refreshing and great with warm evenings, afternoons and foods fresh from the sea, going great with oysters, mussels and claims. The rocky loamy soils here make the roots dig through cracks to get moisture and help concentrate the grapes making the Clare, which has been known for wine since 1851, a special terroir and its elevation and either help create perfect conditions for both Riesling and Syrah. The Watervale Riesling is just a killer bargain, it delivers purity and personality of a wine twice the price, it joins Alsace’s Kuentz Bas and Leitz’s Dragonstone as top picks for the price. The Jim Barry winery also does an upper end version too, the Lodge Hill Riesling, which is a thrilling version of steely and intense Riesling joining Pewsey Vale, Grosset, Henschke and Jasper Hill to name a few elite examples of Oz Riesling.
($20 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive