The Vincast Episode 039 – Tom Barry from Jim Barry Wines & Clos Clare

Someone like Tom Barry is rare indeed, as he is probably one of only a few third-generation qualified winemakers in Australia. His grandfather Jim Brazill Barry was an early winemaking graduate of Roseworthy college in 1944, the first agricultural college in Australia, and the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley. Tom’s father Peter James also studied at Roseworthy, and Tom himself recently completed the course at the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide which Roseworthy merged with some years ago. Being based in the Clare Valley, one of the most important varieties for Jim Barry Wines and Clos Clare (which he and brother Sam took over a few years ago) is undoubtedly riesling. He joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his background, the Clare Valley, and how important riesling is.

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The Vincast Episode 038 – Alder Yarrow from Vinography

Alder Yarrow started his wine blog Vinography back in 2004 when the concept of a blog, let alone a wine blog, was still very unfamiliar. In spite of the fact that he quickly became the biggest wine blogger in the U.S.A. and remains so to this day, he still does it for passion and not as his primary source of income. Based in San Francisco, Alder not only receives samples of wines from all over the world but has had the opportunity to travel as well. In 2014 he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch his book The Essence of Wine, which breaks down various characters of wine through a combination of words and images. He joins me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his journey and passions.

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The Vincast Episode 037 – Brad Hickey AKA Brash Higgins

After working for many years as a sommelier with some of the best lists in New York City, Brad Hickey had a chance to work vintage in Australia, and fell in love not only with the lifestyle but also his eventual partner Nicole Thorpe. He had the opportunity to create his own expression from the Omensetter vineyard that belonged to Nicole’s family, and the name he chose for the brand was a nickname he’d been given by the locals; Brash Higgins. In only a handful of vintages he has gained a reputation for making some of the most interesting wines in the McLaren Vale and beyond, sometimes working with unfamiliar varieties like Nero d’Avola and Zibibbo. He shares his story and how he came to make the wines he does.

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The Intrepid Wino drank things in 2014

Last year was a particularly good year for drinking for me, I have to admit it. Thanks to all the fantastic people I met and venues I discovered, who all work with some beautiful products, I got to both taste and drink (sometimes a bit too much) some amazing stuff. Some of these wines were tasted at events or trade tastings, some at my favourite bars & restaurants, and a few were tasted at wineries I visited (which was too rare in 2014). You’ll notice that many of these wines are Italian which very much reflects where I was at this year working for an importer of Italian wines, and also visiting Italy in June.

Let me know what you think, and tell me in the comments what were your highlight wines for 2014.

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2014 was a momentous year as it was the first time I tasted Claret!

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The Vincast Episode 036 – Jacopo Cossater

In 2007 wIth only an avid interest in wine, Jacopo Cossater decided to chronicle his wine journey and education via a blog called Enoiche Illusioni. Initially it was only a way for him to record his experiences tasting wines, but eventually he began to notice people reading and commenting on his posts. He was asked to become a contributor to a new kind of wine blog – a communal wine blog – called Intravino, that continues to be both popular and controversial. Now Jacopo has set his sights on sharing unique Italian wine stories written by Italians with the rest of the world, which he intends to do with English-translated Settembre. We chatted about his background and what he hopes this new publication will be.

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Bobar – 8/01/2015

Acting as tour guide for some lovely Italians, I visited Tom and Sally Belford in the Yarra Valley and was introduced to their small-batch winemaking and their expression of Syrah and Chardonnay under the Bobar label. Here are my notes from the tasting, the last wine was from the tank the day before it was bottled.

Chardonnay 2013
Nice lean mealy leesy cheese biscuit notes. Full bold fresh ripe citrus peach, good texture and phenolic grip but focused acids too. Light yet brimming with personality and length.

Syrah 2014
Very subtle mushroomy earthy stalk notes, bright tight red cherry. Light fresh delicate yet full of life and energy, juicy but not bold broad extractive or fruit-sweet.

Syrah 2013
Darker more brambly pomegranate beetroot, a crunchy also blood orange note too. Crunchier tighter more intense somehow, pepper bush.

Syrah 2012
Dark herbal almost a naturopathic medicinal note. Bolder fuller on the mid-palate, a nice sharpness to it but nice and soft without being flabby.

Syrah 2010
Like slightly herbal oxidised ribena. In a really charming way.

2014 Chardonnay
Still smells a bit yeasty ferment style, but nice lemon pith. Wonderfully full and rich without being fat, unfocused or fruitful. Contained yet explosive.

Bobar Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2013

Bobar Yarra Valley Syrah 2014

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The Vincast Episode 035 – Peter Scudamore-Smith MW

Peter Scudamore-Smith was Australia’s second ever Master of Wine, the most illustrious title and qualification one can receive in the wine industry. He has led a fascinating life of wine, and he joined me on the first episode of 2015 to discuss his origins in wine, working in both Australian and European wine markets, and how his love of Italy and France has led him to take tours there as part of his business Uncorked and Cultivated.

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