Vintage Cellars

Meet The Maker Behind Australia’s Best Riesling

When you think of Riesling in Australia, it’s likely you think of Jim Barry.

A leading name in the Clare Valley wine scene – despite only celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – the family business has gained a global reputation for its bright, fresh and vibrant varietal, that’s intensity of fruit flavour and strong acid backbone give it great ageing potential. 

The best part? Their wines are surprisingly affordable. Recently, Jim Barry ‘Barry & Sons’ Riesling was chosen by a panel of experts under blind tasting conditions as the Best Lighter White in the under $25 category at Vintage Cellars’ Best of Awards

Here, we sit down with vineyards’ commercial manager Sam Barry (the late and great Jim Barry’s grandson) to find out what makes a cracker riesling, and what he’ll be cooking up and uncorking for the women in his life this Mother’s Day. 

What makes Barry & Sons’ Riesling so good? 

The Barry & Sons Riesling is made in a crisp, approachable style. It’s equally enjoyable for consumers starting out on their Riesling journey or Riesling lovers.

Tell us a bit about where your Riesling grapes are grown.

The Clare Valley is arguably the home of Riesling in Australia. Our warm days, cool nights and high altitudes provide the perfect conditions to grow Riesling grapes with zingy citrus characters and fresh acidity. The Barry & Sons Riesling is made with grapes from our Watervale vineyards which has a soil profile of Terra Rossa over limestone. This structure has excellent water-holding capacity, which means that the vines have plenty of water in reserve for the growing season.

What makes a cracker Riesling?

I think great Rieslings can be enjoyed young but also have the ability to age. Finding that balance is what sets a cracker Riesling apart.

Barry & Sons’ Riesling goes perfectly with…

It goes especially well with Asian food, but a good rule of thumb is to enjoy Riesling with any food that you would squeeze a lemon over – think oysters, halloumi, schnitzel…

If you could have a glass of Barry & Sons’ Riesling with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

My favourite person to have a glass of Barry & Sons Riesling with is the great Erni Loosen from Dr Loosen in the Mosel. His knowledge and appreciation of Riesling are legendary- as are his wines. We are fortunate to collaborate with Erni on our LoosenBarry ‘Wolta Wolta’ Riesling, so I do get to have a glass with him about once a year.

My favourite place to have a glass of Barry & Sons’ Riesling is…

At home in Clare on the deck.

I’m serving these Barry and Sons wines on Mother’s Day:

Barry & Sons Cabernet, which won a stack of awards last year. It’s juicy and refreshing- a perfect pairing for the roast lamb I’ll be cooking.

My go-to Barry & Sons’ Riesling and cheese pairing is…

A nice creamy cheese, like a brie. My favourite soft cheese is Délice des Crémiers, which apparently translates to ‘delight of the cheese-maker.’ This definitely makes sense once you try it!

I never turn up to a dinner party without a bottle of…

Champagne R. Pouillon, an outstanding grower of Champagne.

If I wasn’t making winning wines I’d be… 

A chef! I absolutely love food and cooking over an open fire.