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EXPLORING BAROSSA FLAVOURS

Friday, January 19, 2018
This week I have news of a slightly different nature, in that a wee while before Christmas I popped up to the Barossa, to visit Jb Wines and found some interestingly different Barossa flavours. Greg and Lenore Barritt have been growing grapes not far off the road to Bethany for a very long time. In fact the family has being doing so since the 1850s. A few years ago their son, Joe (sixth generation), came back home after working vintages in Australia, California and France, and as a result Jb Wines was established.

Apart from the staple Barossa varieties of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, they have an eclectic mix of other varieties including Pinot Blanc (one of only a dozen or so growers in Australia), the Rhône white variety, Clairette (which is very rare here in Australia), White Frontignac (which used to be very popular in the Barossa until the early 1980s) and Zinfandel (one of the first growers of Zin in the Barossa). All of their white grapes and the Pinot Meunier are grown in their vineyard on the hills just behind Rowland Flat, which is around 350-400 metres above sea level and thus cooler than the valley floor. 

So on to their wines:

The mainstream varietals were all excellent (mid-90s for the score obsessed) especially the JB WINES 2014 ‘CHURCH ROAD’ CHARDONNAY – lovely to see a Chardy with a smidge of maturation on it. This wine is DIVINE with great creaminess and flavour. Exactly the way I like my Chardy’s and a bargain at $20 a bottle.

 

JB WINES 2017 ‘JOSEPH’S’ PINOT BLANC: As I am currently writing an article on Pinot Blanc for WBM magazine I won’t review this wine here, other than to say the three vintages (2017, 2013 and 2012) we tasted were all cracker wines.

 

JB WINES 2016 ‘JOSEPH’S’ CLAIRETTE: Native to France, Clairette is a white variety that used to be widely planted in the Hunter Valley, but there are currently only four producers of a varietal Clairette in Australia. It is a tough old grape that ripens after most red grapes and produces an interesting wine. This one has hints of cocoa on the beguiling bouquet, gorgeous flavour, including just a hint of fruit sweetness on the front palate and a delightful, refreshing finish. We tried the 2016, 2013 and 2012 which showed remarkable consistency as the wine goes aging, developing a cheesy/leesy aroma as it becomes a brilliant accompaniment to hard cheeses. They describe it as “A red wine drinker’s white wine”, which I think is quite apt.

 

JB WINES 2016 ‘SNOWY & RINGO’ WHITE FRONTIGNAC: This wine brought memories flooding back of the early 1980s Barossa Spätlese or even some of the lighter Auslese wines that were popular in those days (they were mainly made from late picked Fronti). This wine was actually picked earlyish and as a result is a modest 10.6% in alc/vol . It has gorgeous varietal aromas, a delightful sweet palate before finishing crisp and dry. A very dangerous wine as it would be ever so easy to consume lots of it on a warm summer’s evening.

 

JB WINES 2013 ‘LOLA’ ZINFANDEL: This lovely wine was reviewed in my Zinfandel article, “Ama-Zin!” in the Nov/Dec 2017 edition of WBM, page 68.

 

JB WINES 2011 ‘BARRITT’S ROAD’ SHIRAZ CLAIRETTEAn experimental batch to see the impact of the Clairette, which softens the Shiraz off a smidge and enhances the wines aromatics a tad. At six-years-old it is just hitting its straps and will keep for eons more. This is a very elegant and graceful wine that is equally at home on its own or with food. A CLASS ACT! 

So if you would like to try something slightly different from the Barossa get in touch with Jb Wines at www.jbwines.com or better still come and see them at the Adelaide Convention Centre on the weekend of March 3-4, 2018, for the fabulous Adelaide Cellar Door Festival which you can check out at www.cellardoorfestival.com – It is really worth the effort. Cheers!