“The vintage we’ve been waiting 30 years to make” - Jim Barry
Our new morning routine at the office is to taste shortly after breakfast, to check for (ahem) any "loss or change to our sense of smell". Our benchmark this morning, in more ways than one, was an amazing Clare Valley Shiraz scored 99 points by Decanter's Jane Anson.
Jim Barry's 2016 The Armagh Shiraz unfurls in the glass steadily but surely, initially with the fruit aromas obscured by aromas of new oak. This is more a sign of youth than any lack of balance and after a few minutes, the wine shows its Clare Valley origins, with fine, astonishingly fresh acidity and crunchy red fruits on the palate.
The nose initially shows more black fruits (blackberries) but the impression is still of freshness. We also detected black tea, spices and earth on the nose and wonderfully complex notes of Pump Street chocolate which give real length to the palate.
Jim Barry was a pioneer of Clare Valley, planting the Armagh vineyard in 1968. This has been described as the finest vintage of this wine to date, made in the mould of Grange and Henschke's Hill of Grace. We think this deserves at least ten years in your cellar to reach its full potential, but it could easily develop for a further two or three decades.
As ever, availability is limited, so do please let us know straight away if you would like to secure your case.
Offered en primeur, landing early spring 2021.
You can see Peter Barry give a brief introduction to his 2016 vintage below.
"My pick of the recently bottled vintages, the 2016 The Armagh Shiraz shows a bit more obvious oak (simply because of its youth) but also a wonderful taut tension between ripeness and acidity. The fruit here is a bit redder in profile, leaning more toward raspberries than blackberries, while still being fully ripe. Full-bodied and supple, it finishes cedary, intense and long, adding in complex, lingering spice notes. 97 points." Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate, Feb 2020
"Wow. This is a bold, brassy shiraz that carries a wealth of very intense aromas of ripe blackberries, dark plums, licorice and sweetly spiced earth. Still so very youthful and primary. The palate is so powerful, so mouth-filling and so, so juicy. This manages to deliver such intensity and composure. Supple, long and deep-set tannins and heroically expressive fruit. Really impressive now, but this will deliver much more over the next two decades. One of the finest releases to date. 99 points." Nick Stock, Jamessuckling.com
"This is an impressive Armagh. There's a core of juicy, bold fruit that is carried by the fresh, uplifting acidity with herbal notes and sweet spice joining to add another layer of complexity. Soft, silky tannins help give structure to this powerful, expressive wine and the intensity lingers through the long, clean finish. This will be one of the greats. Drink 2021 to 2038. 99 points." Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine
£870 per 6 bottles in bond LIMITED AVAILABILITY