The 2016 Jim Barry Vintage Crew
Jim Barry Wines experienced an early, condensed and exciting vintage, with harvest beginning on the 28th of January. After good winter rains, followed by a very dry and hot spring, flowering occurred early in all varieties. This dry warm weather continued into the ripening period and into harvest.
“We received a significant rainfall of 42mm between the 20th and 31st of January,” said Peter Barry of his 40th vintage with his family’s winery. “Looking at the rainfall from the last 40 years, we can see that these summer thunderstorms are indicative of great vintages, providing a nitrogen boost to the vines and a much needed drink in their final stages of ripening.”
“We have seen remarkably low pH, high Titratable Acidity and lower Baume, with our range of sugar levels between 10.8 and 11.5 for Riesling. The Rieslings that we have produced in this early stage are looking very good, showing excellent generosity of flavour and fine natural acidity. The quality has been consistent between our Lodge Hill and Watervale properties, with the palate ranging from delicate florals to intense tropical and citrus flavours,” commented third generation winemaker Tom Barry
The third vintage of the Assyrtiko was hand harvested by Peter and his team, who picked and sorted bunches on the back of a trailer into A grade and B grade fruit. The grapes were then placed in a cold room and chilled to 4 degrees, then crushed and pressed.
“The Assyrtiko has a distinct range of flavours, mainly apple, pear and apricot, with an embracing natural acidity and minerality. The juice is also showing an elegant texture that is not seen in our Rieslings, providing an intense mouth feel,” said Peter. “Last year we filled 4 bins and this year we have filled 40 bins (half a tonne), an increase which will enable us to produce seven to eight thousand litres, with a limited commercial release planned for October 2016.”
Being a dry year, the Shiraz has produced thick skins and small berry sizes, which has created powerful wines with concentrated flavour and masculine tannins, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is intense in colour and rich in flavour, with weight, depth and a riper fruit spectrum.
“This vintage would have to be classified as dry and ‘blessed’ with summer rain. The changing landscape continues to challenge our harvest and logistics management, as picking continues to start earlier each year. We finished harvesting in Clare on the 18th of March, although there is still a lot of work to be done in the winery,” Peter said. “In this early stage we are already seeing some fantastic wines and I believe that 2016 will be a very successful year for Jim Barry”.