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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I shared an interesting discussion with Daniel Vollenweider over the nature of the riesling grape on my second day in the Mosel region. Previously he had spent time working in wineries in New Zealand and the United States, and he couldn’t understand why the New World considered riesling an aromatic variety. Tasting many of the wines from the Mosel and seeing how complex they can be, it isn’t hard to understand his point. But an investigation on Wikipedia classifies the variety as aromatic, and in other regions such as Alsace they may classify it as such too.What then is an aromatic variety. The literal interpretation would be that it has more bouquet than a complex wine, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It is perhaps more pertinent to consider the nature of the winemaking, whereby it is generally fermented in stainless steel tanks, and sees no barrel maturation. The complexity comes in the variety itself, the environment (such as the minerals in the soil), and from bottle age. So in this sense riesling could be considered complex, much like chardonnay (complex variety) from the Chablis region. I guess the difference with riesling wines from the New World is that they are almost always consumed young. This would make them aromatic in nature, as they have little inherent complexity, compared to wines from the Mosel. What are your thoughts on the topic?
|Castle Landshut above Bernkastel