Australian Classics: A Virtual Tasting with AWE

AWE in this context is both inspired by the brilliant wines of Australia and also by the Association of Wine Educators (of which I am a proud member).

This week Wine Australia held a webinar with AWE members. Wine samples plus tasting sheets and maps were sent in advance. They were really well packaged! Professional. Cute.

The presentation by Emma Symington from Wine Australia UK was top class. She reminds us to tell EVERYONE that there is a FREE education resource titled Australian Wine Discovered on the Wine Australia web site. Check it out HERE. Simply register and enjoy at your leisure!

The tasting this week showed the following wines as examples of Australian Classics. Each Region is a classic as is each Producer.

First Creek ‘Winemakers Reserve’ Hunter Valley Semillon 2011 (was happy to point out that this is not available in the UK but the 2017 is here in Ireland – Well done O’Briens Wines!)

Jim Barry Wines ‘The Florita’ Clare Valley Riesling 2016

Vasse Felix Margaret River Chardonnay 2018

Thistledown ‘Vagabond’ McLaren Vale Grenache 2017

Penley Estate ‘Steyning’ Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Seppeltsfield Barossa Shiraz 2017

Each wine was fabulous and very representative. As my podcast at Kevin Ecock’s WinePod featured Sam Barry (Listen HERE) earlier this year I will focus on the Jim Barry wine from this tasting. As opportunity arises I will refer back to the rest at another time.

Jim Barry. More than a Lifetime’s Work‘ is a great read. In it we are told that ,

.. exploring uncommon opportunities and pushing forward new ideas was a Barry family trait, as was having the courage of one’s convictions despite the opinions of others.

Jim Barry. More than a Lifetime’s Work

The three sons of Jim Barry ( Sam’s dad Peter plus a couple of uncles) bought the Florita Vineyard of 75 acres in 1986 in the middle of a government sponsored Vine Pull scheme. It was also at a time when Riesling, especially from Australia, had almost no fans aroud the world. Better still they had to borrow 100% of the purchase fund ($176,000) from the bank for a vineyard producing 250 tonnes of premium fruit a year for which there was only a market for 20 tonnes!! Crazy.

Florita now sits as one of the finest Riesling vineyards in the world. Its wines, from 50 year old Clare Valley vines, are in high demand and consistently described as being exceptional. Hey, Wine Australia showed one today as a type example of brilliance!

Low to medium alcohol at 11.3% Exquisite acidity with an immense heart of balancing and dry floral fruit. Age for 20 years plus!

Jim Barry and Vasse Felix are both distributed in Ireland by Cassidy Wines.