Jim Barry Florita Riesling 2020
2020 JAMES HALLIDAY’S WINE COMPANION WINERY OF THE YEAR
The patriarch of this highly successful wine business, Jim Barry, died in 2004, but the business continues under the active involvement of the second generation, led by the irrepressible Peter Barry, plus brothers John and Mark; the third generation represented by two of Peter and Sue Barry’s children, Tom and Sam. Sam’s wife Olivia has set a whirlwind pace, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of Adelaide, then a Masters of Wine Business. Peter, John and Mark purchased the famed Florita Vineyard in 1986 (one of the oldest vineyards in the Clare Valley, planted in 1962). A founding member of Australia’s First Families of Wine. Winery of the Year Wine Companion 2020 JAMES HALLIDAY
I think that it is only fitting that the Barry family release a wine of such incredible quality from the year they were awarded the James Halliday’s Wine Companion highest award, the Winery of the Year. That award should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following this estate for a while. The Barry’s have been producing top class wines for many years now, many, but there has been a shift in gears recently. I can’t point my finger at any one aspect that seems to have changed, just an overall sense that Peter and the boys have tightened up and refocused a little.
Sam Barry is certainly one of the more thoughtful young winemakers I know in Australia. He has begun an incredible project with his friend and colleague in the Mosel, Ernie Loosen. He seems to constantly be tasting and drinking the great wines of the world and working hard (so I hear, I have never actually seen him do any work, now that I think of it. Not an accusation, just a comment) at the family estate to ensure everything is done to the highest conceivable standards.
While every wine I have tried from them in recent years has seen on a steady uptick in quality, it is as obvious nowhere as much as it is in their Florita Riesling, which today is one of the absolute reference points for quality and style in Australia. One of the oldest and most revered Riesling vineyards in Australia, the Barry family became the current custodians of the site in 1986 but only gained the rights to the name, it was held by another company, in 2004.
The wine is everything you expect in an absolutely top flight Riesling from the region. There is a remarkable intensity of fruit and the laser like focus I know and love in the Florita. The calcareous sub soil may lend it that chalky, pithy note? There’s attractive white floral characters and something that makes me think of calamansi, but it’s a youthfully subdued nose. It is a wine of beautiful stature and humungous potential, all bundled up and inwardly focused. It kind of opens up for a brief moment before it implodes in on itself again on the incredibly long finish. When it hits its peak it is going to be explosive and I can’t wait for that day. What a wine! For me this is a solid contender for my Australian wine of the year.
Sam calls it “one of the best vintages we have seen”. If something good has come out of 2020 then a great Riesling vintage is it and that is worth celebrating. This is a wine to put away for ten years (or thirty) and then open up one day and look back at the year that created such a sublime example of our greatest white grape and reflect on how much netflix you watched.
We are offering it at 20% off, only $48 each in straight six packs and dozens. As Nick Stock, I think it’s fair to say one of the most Riesling obsessed people I know, says in his review it’s “A wine for the ages” and we would love to know that as many people as possible have this hidden away in their cellars for the time when it comes to rip the top off one of these beauties.