Monday 8 August 2011


VERY special occasion
– you'll certainly not be disappointed.

David Ellis

WHILE wine has been flowing in the Clare Valley since 1851, just two years after the first settlers arrived there from Ireland in 1849, production from the region is still just 1.5% of Australia's total wine output.

But what wines some of these are, particularly the Valley's Rieslings and Shiraz, with one of the latter, Jim Barry Wines' The Armagh up there amongst our true legends.

Those first settlers bestowed the name 'Armagh' on the rolling hills after their homeland, and the late Jim Barry adopted it for a Shiraz he created in 1985, and which quickly earned itself high respect as a Clare and Australian classic.

His successors maintain the tradition, lead by Jim's second son Peter, and in 2007 crafted an Armagh from fruit from the driest growing season in the Clare in 24-years. Its only just been released now and is a true powerhouse for immediate enjoyment or for investment for the future, with wonderful red currant, black cherry and blueberry flavours, and aromas reflecting these as well as suggestions of spearmint, rosemary, cedar and black pepper.

FROM New Zealand to enjoy with
pork loin chops and mushroom sauce.
It carries a $250 price tag for that special celebration; crack a bottle and you'll certainly not be disappointed.

ONE FOR LUNCH: THE Wairu Valley is an interesting sub-region of New Zealand's famed Marlborough wine-growing belt, being an ancient river bed that lays between two mountain ranges and is fronted by Cook Strait.

One local company, Giesen has created an exceptional Pinot Noir from this sub-region, with their latest release, the 2009 The Brothers Pinot Noir a quite intensely flavoured, fruit-driven wine with lots of plum and ripe cherry flavours, fine tannins and a lingering dry finish; at $39.99 team it with grilled pork loin chops and a mushroom sauce.

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