Jim Barry is one of the top, top red wine producers in Australia. Making one of the most sought after Shirazes of today, the mighty Armagh, his legacy has continued into the following two generations. This wine is made by two of his grandsons, the Barry brothers, and is a really gorgeous blend of power and elegance.
Best sites, including the McRea Wood and Lodge Hill vineyards, go into this blend that is intense and broad, with flavours of blackberry, black cherry and lovely integrated vanilla and mocha spice.
Australian wineries have begun a new relationship with the Syrah and Shiraz variety. Many more modern wineries are producing elegant, restrained wines that are far more Northern Rhone in style than one might expect. This is on account, to some extent, of a kick back against alcohol levels, over-intensity of fruit and concentration and a preference to things that are more versatile and contemplative (if that's possible in a wine).
Where to, then, for the likes of full-bodied, four-star, leaded 4.2 litre style wines that don't want to change their tuner? Well, simply put, unless the wines are really well-made and balanced, then it's not looking good. Some will always draw a crowd - Grange, Hill of Grace etc - but, believe it or not, even these mammoths are evolving too...
The key thing for us is balance: even high alcohol levels can be overcome, if the wine has balance, and with it, requisite complexity, intensity and length. These four things remain, but the greatest of them is balance. The Barry Bros Shiraz Cabernet delivers that and has interest and charm to boot.
Now, as it happens, they claim that this (very) traditional style is made through a contemporary lens, which could mean anything, but in reality it just shifts the concentration of fruit to complexity and smoothness, making this red blend from the Barry Bros. a very, very pleasant glass of wine.
Region: Clare Valley
Grape(s): Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
Style: Rich, Powerful, Full, Dark, Broad
Best food matches: Spicy, Red Meats, Pork, Pizza, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Game, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef