Jim Barry Pb Shiraz Cabernet 2005 (Clare Valley, SA)
14.9%, Cork, $50
|Jim Barry Pb
Nothing to do with lead
Wines just don’t come more Australian than this. In fact, any more ‘Aussie’ and it may need a baggy green (or some other Australiana type paraphernalia).
By ‘Aussie’ I mean that it’s cast in a particular style, a style that is quite representative of the sort of red wines that are (stereotypically) made and enjoyed here.. It’s a style that is criticised by many English/European wine media, whilst being celebrated by both Australian and American wine media. A style that is unashamedly reflective of where this wine is grown and the context of the Jim Barry winemaking idiom. A wine that many may dismiss as somewhat old school, but of a form that I think needs to be celebrated and cherished, particularly for how well that Clare Valley ‘regional mode’ and Barry hand is transmitted. A big Clare Valley red, built with lots of everything (and proudly so).
The wine itself is something of an homage, not to the winery namesake Jim Barry but to his son Peter Barry, current head of the Barry clan and someone who clearly appreciates this sort of wine. A blend of 70% Clare Valley Shiraz and 30% Clare Valley Cabernet, the 2005 Pb is ostensibly a combination of McRae Wood Shiraz and Benbournie Cabernet parcels, coupled together to create a proper Australian red, built in a form that Peter Barry originally conceived as a ‘personal wine’ harking back to the red blends his (late) father made in the 70s.
Given that context it’s probably little surprise as to how this wine looks – it’s a super concentrated wine still looking beastly 7 years down the track. That beastiness is announced with a little volatility, mint slice/choc oak, and rippling choc plum
fruit. It’s a big, warm and thick nose bristling with mint edged Clare Valley richness and heart.
That style flows through to a palate that is seriously intense, flowing with black licorice, darkly savoury and inky fruit cake and roasted
plum fruit flavours, carried through with a warming, hearty bitter tannic edge that is most
addictive, if just a fraction overt. Tannins too are grainy, chocolatey and obvious, the finish boozy – but not overripe – and very long, the aftertaste a lump of fruit, oak, tannins and alcohol (and plenty of each)
Ultimately it’s that ‘plenty of’ form that makes this red both great and divisive. It’s a big, alcoholic and anything-but-delicate wine that’s driven by very ripe fruit and much oak, yet also – in it’s genre – is a wine to be highlighted (heck, it won a trophy in the 2007 Great Australian Red wine show thingie). I’m scoring it highly as a result, even if it is – strictly speaking – something of an overwhelming wine. 18.5/94