Regions > South Australia > Adelaide Super Zone > Mt. Lofty Ranges Zone > Clare Valley region

: Jim Barry Wines


Jim Barry Wines

Craig’s Hill Road, Clare, 5453

Cellar Door: Mon-Fri (9-5), weekends/pub hols (9-4)

Ph: (08) 8842 2261

jim barry label

The late Jim Barry was a 1946 Roseworthy graduate (the legendary college’s 17th wine making graduate), and became the first professional winemaker in the region as part of the Clarevale Cooperative.

He was a far-sighted and innovative wine-industry pioneer, who was one of the first to recognise how significantly the Australian wine market was changing in the post-war environment and what steps were necessary to accommodate those changes.

Jim Barry embraced technology, including importing the first Mono pump to the Clare and installing its first modern refrigeration system.

In 1959 be bought a parcel of land from Duncan McRae Wood. Part of that block became The Armagh Vineyard. A couple of years later he planted Riesling vines at Watervale.

After leaving Clarevale in 1969, Jim and wife Nancy established their own winery and cellar door at their north Clare property. It was the first new winery built in the Clare Valley for 70 years.

In 1974, the first "home-made" wines were produced and signalled the beginning of highly awarded Jim Barry brand. They now have access to 200 ha of vines in the Clare valley and also a small vineyard in the Coonawarra.

The famous wine is the premium Armagh Shiraz but the more affordable Lodge Hill Shiraz and Riesling are good value, while the partly Coonawarra-sourced Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the most widely distributed wine.

Jim Barry died in October 2004. Jim is survived by his wife Nancy and their six children. Four of those children — Peter Barry (manager and wine-maker), Mark Barry (winemaker), John Barry (chief viticulturist) and Julie Barry (cellar-door manager) still live in the Clare and are actively involved in the family wine business. Peter is also the Chairman of the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) Export Committee.

cellar door
Jim Barry cellar door (photo: genxywines)
Inside the Jim Barry cellar door (photo: genxywines)
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Latest Reviews

Jim Barry Single Vineyard Riesling 2016

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink:2018 or 2025 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, attractive lime and lychee with rose petal and lavender notes and a touch of lemon curd, talcy and long core of fairly intense fruit, tangy lemon rind acid finish (****(  

Jim Barry Florita Riesling 2016

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2030+

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, floral and intense lime, pear and nectarine with rose petal and lavender notes, long and talcy with a firm acid spine and a slaty finish, long cellaring style (****1/2)

Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz 2013

Purchased: Not ($48)

Drink: 2025

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, plush redcurrants, dark plum and blackberry with anise, white pepper and eucaylptus notes, medium-full bodied palate has some earthiness and a hint of soy, the oak is rather overt with charry mocha/cedar, the tannins are firm (***1/2)

Jim Barry The Veto Riesling 2015

Purchased: Not ($34)

Drink: 2023+

(GXY) Tasting:: Dec 2015, !0% barrel ferment in used French barrels, debut release, heady floral nose, generous and bright granny smith, guava and lime cordial  with ginger spice and a hint of yeasty lees. chalky with racy grapefruit acidity (****1/2)

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2015

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink:  2017

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2015, Gold Medal at Clare Valley Wine Show 2015,  plump and brightly lit lime and granny smith apple with tropical fruit and floral lavender notes, a bit longer than usual with chalky savoury phenolics and vibrant lemony acidity (****)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($23)

Drink:  2019

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2015,  the mild vintage has given this more freshness and length, juicy and bright dark plum, red cherry and redcurrant with white pepper, violet, bay leaf and menthol notes, the oak is restrained to match the more elegant style (***1/2)

Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz 2011

Purchased: Not: ($45)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015,  from a very cold, wet vintage, barely medium bodied blackcurrant and cherry with menthol, pepper and lavender notes, some extractive firmness, rich tobacco, roast coffee, sandalwood and clove oak related features (***1/2)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling 2014

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2015, Silver Medal at National Wine Show 2014, fragrant lime pulp, lemon grass and cumquat and apple with orange blossom florals and musky spices, soft talcy texture but the palate is a bit forward (****)

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2014

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2015, broad, forward and blocky lime and granny smith apple with tropical fruit and lavender notes, soft entry level style with clean phenolics (***)

Jim Barry Brothers Shiraz Cabernet 2013

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, Trophy for Best Shiraz Cabernet Blend at Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2014, the Barry Brothers are Tom and Sam, grandsons of the founder, juicy blackberry pastille, raspberry and cassis with mint and liquorice notes, plump medium-full bodied palate with plenty of coffee/dark chocolate oak notes and pliant, dusty tannins (****)

Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: June 2014, essency blackberry pastille, redcurrant and dark plums with white pepper, thyme, anise and eucalyptus, juicy with graphite minerality, charry sandalwood/vanilla oak with some cigar box and grainy tannins, light feel without huge amounts of depth typical for the region (***1/2)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling 2012

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, Essendon ($18)

Drink: 2013 or 2018 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, Trophy for Best Table Wine at 2012 National Wine Show, Champion Wine at Clare Valley Regional Wine Show 2012, fragrant and dry but shows more ripe fruit sweetness than the 4 gms/l residual sugar would indicate, lime rind and orange blossom with rose water, nectarine and guava nuances, some wet earth on the nose, talcy bathpowder texture with racy lemon rind acidity, tautly balanced and slaty finish, ripe, early developing style reflecting the compressed, hot vintage, a good value wine that I was happy to purchse but I haven't jumped on the industry bandwagon hailing the 2012 as one of the region's greatest ever vintages (****1/2)

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2012

Purchased: Not ($14)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, fairly open blocky structure but showing varietal lime and apple with a modest dusting of spice and lavender and a sliver of tropical fruit sweetness, talcy with fresh lemon rind acidity, straightforward but varietal entry level (***)

Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz 2006

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: May 2012, dense and tarry entry showing cranberry , dark plum and blackberry with liquorice and dried oregano notes, lush and full bodied palate, ample smoky mocha/vanilla/nutmeg from the American oak, spine of firmish tannins, with bottle age muting the primary fruits slightly the spirity 15.5% alcohol sticks out even more (***1/2)

Jim Barry Florita Riesling 2010

Purchased: Randalls, Albert Park ($45)

Drink: 2012 or 2020+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: May 2011, long, taut and tangy lemon sherbert, pear and kaffir lime with dried herb and lavender notes, cleanly defined minerally palate that builds intensity, fine chalky minerality with tightly wound grapefruit acidity and a wet slate finish (****1/2)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: May 2011, rather ripe, forward, intense and sweet blackberry jube and prune with spearmint and pepper notes, firm edged and slightly baked fruit with overt vanilla-chocolate oak, loose knit coarse tannins (***)

Jim Barry Florita Riesling 2007

Purchased: Cellar Door ($40)

Drink: 2022

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, long, shapely and tangy kaffir lime leaf, apple and mandarin with herbal notes, underlain with zesty grapefruit acidity, fine web of chalky minerality, a touch of emerging toastiness, slightly lower alcohol, will last a long time in the cellar for those who like aged Rieslings (****1/2)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Dry Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2010 or 2018 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, fragrant and long lime and orange blossom with some rose water and passionfruit nuances, talcy bathpowder texture with some bracing lemon rind acidity, taut and slaty finish (****)

Jim Barry The Benbournie Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

Purchased: Not ($90)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, quite dense, long and extractive core of fruit showing ripe blackcurrant and liquorice contrasting with savoury capsicum and menthol aspects, lingering oak tannins, the range of American oaking brings ceder, marizipan and cigar box features to the finish (****)

Jim Barry The McRae Wood Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, ripe and briary blackberry and raspberry with liquorice, pepper and nutmeg notes, the full bodied palate becomes more savoury before the mocha-coffee and cedar from the American oak cuts in, fruit finishes fractionally hollow with some alcohol heat from the 15.5% alcohol (***1/2)

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2009

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, intensely flavoured but rather broad palate showing lime and lemongrass with some mandarin acidity and a touch of musk, slightly waxy palate with chalky wet slate finish, good value entry wine for those who enjoy the flavours of the Watervale region even if it not the most tightly structured wine from the region (***1/2)

Jim Barry Lavender Hill Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, late picked passionfruit, red apple and lemon custard with some brown spices, dry and minerally finish, just needs some more acid, the winery suggests mixing it with soda water and ice (***1/2)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz 2007

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, from one of the highest vineyards in the region (480m), ripe and tarry blackberry with cinnamon, black pepper and a touch of spearmint, rather oaky with plenty of mocha-choc, powdery oak tannins, fresh acids with good length (***1/2)

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2010 or 2018 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, bright, flavoursome and vibrant kaffir lime leaf and grapefruit with musk and ginger notes, lingering slaty finish with orange rind notes, a little blocky in structure compared to the very best from the region but at the price represents outstanding value (****)

Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, I find this a slightly schizophrenic medium bodied blend of warm spiky Clare Valley fruit and mild climate Coonawarra fruit, ripe cassis with spicy red fruits such as mulberry and raspberry, there are some violet and oregano notes, the palate is infused with plenty of cedar and some firmish tannins and acids, a hint of choc-mint but restrained given the regions (***1/2)

Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, St. Kilda ($18)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, sourced from the Clare Valley and Coonawarra, a big choc-mint nose, spicy and earthy blackcurrant and raspberry with fennel and oregano notes, medium-full bodied palate has some leafy and under-ripe vegetal notes, rounded chalky tannins with a creamy choc-mint finish (***1/2)

Jim Barry Lavendar Hill Riesling 2006

Purchased: Not ($14)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2008, sweet late harvest style, attractive interplay between lemon custard smoothness and lime citrus acids, chalky minerally underpinning, crisp balanced finish (***1/2)

Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Not ($150+)

Drink: 2022

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, super dense core of sweet blackberry and dark plums wrapped with dark chocolate and liquorice, spicy, briary and full bodied, almost excessive but holds the alcohol well, cinnamon, clove and menthol aspects, big chewy tannins hold it in balance (****1/2)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling 2006

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, vibrant and fresh lime and tropical fruit, well structured palate unfolds herb, spice and slate aspects, long and zesty lime citrus finish (****)

Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: June 2007, sourced from Clare and Coonawarra, ripe mulberry and blackberry with plenty of tobacco, black pepper and liquorice nuances, generally smooth and medium-full-bodied with some spiky herbaceous edges from the Coonawarra component, some grippy acid and dusty tannins, a bit two faced the interaction creates some complex interplay (***1/2)

Jim Barry Lavendar Hill Riesling 2004

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2006

(GXY) Tasting: March 2006, late harvest style, lime and lemon custard flavours with herbal minerality, slatey palate, crisp finish but not as lively as the Lodge Hill (***1/2)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz 2003

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2006, ripe black berry and vanilla nose, lots of cassis and black cherry on the front of the palate, is quickly overpowered by the massive vanilla oaking and tails off a touch too quickly, pleasant drink soon style but a bit of a tease, palate doesn’t linger enough to meet the promise of the nose (***)

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling 2005

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2006, limey showing vibrant herb, spice and slate aromas, crisp on the palate, long and zesty finish but needs time (****)