Loosen Barry: Walhalla / Wolta Wolta New Releases

Ernie Loosen has singlehandedly put German wine on the world stage and into the 21st century. He has done it by a mixture of irreverence, tireless travelling and an uncompromising quest for quality. JANCIS ROBINSON

Jim Barry: A founding member of Australia's First Families of Wine. Winery of the Year 2020 Wine Companion. JAMES HALLIDAY

We love Riesling, it is un-arguably one of the noblest white grape varieties in the wine world today.  Its ability to express the clarity of the site it is grown on is exemplary. Thus when two titans of the Riesling world collaborate on a cross country/continent wine project, it is hard not to be champing at the bit to taste some.  Particularly when both estates represent two classic, historically distant and stylistically different wine regions.  For some more context please read on, however feel free to jump straight to the wines for reviews and to secure some bottles.

Ernie Loosen took on his families Mosel estate and 200 year old wine legacy during the the late eighties, just as the reputation of the region had been marked by bulk, unbalanced sweet wines like blue nun.  A stereo-type that, incredibly, lingers today.  Ernie, realising he sat on a wealth of serious old vine vineyard sites focussed on bringing quality and balance back into the conversation of Mosel wines.

At the beginning of his journey he championed this classic style of wine, however in 2008 he began uncovering wines his grandfather made. The first that grabbed him was the 1948 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling, not only did he find it sublime but he was  somewhat shocked that it was bone dry.  After further “research” into his families bottled history Ernie realised that all of these wines were dry!  He uncovered the methods that they employed to produce these wines and began selecting special vineyards to express them the way his forebears did.
Today these styles of wines are sought after the world over, with many adorning their bottles with the term Grosses Gewächs to indicate this dry style of rieslings from great sites.  Naturally this is the method employed when he shipped a 2,800-litre German oak ‘Fuder’ to Australia to produce a German inspired riesling from the Clare Valleys famed Lodge Hill vineyard, which boasts soils consisting of ‘brown loam over a layer of clay and slate bedrock that is about 900 million years old’.
Similarly, Peter Barry faced the challenge of furthering an already established and highly regarded family estate.  This one started by his father Jim Barry, who remains the name sake and inspiration for the next generation of Barrys presently working alongside Peter.  Peter has not only remained true to the Barry pioneering spirit with various projects, some that have become icons in the Australian wine scene like their Armagh Shiraz. Others set to become future classics.  The Clare Valley has become Australia’s Riesling epicentre, built on a broad shouldered, dry and nervy style of Riesling. The Barry family have been intertwined with the success and style of the Clare, with vineyards in two of the regions great terroirs; specifically the Lodge Hill & Florita vineyards. When it came to crafting a wine from Dr Loosen’s tapestry of Mosel vineyards, the team settled on the Erdener Treppchen  (The Little Staircase of Erden), a very steep vineyard with strikingly red soils of iron-infused, red slate. PWS

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