Our top wine pick of the week – LoosenBarry

Opus One, the collaboration between Robert Mondavi in the Napa Valley and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild of Bordeaux, is probably the most famous joint venture in the world of wine. It has long been a leading operation in the Napa. There have been many since.

One of the most recent is between Riesling specialists, Jim Barry from the Clare Valley in South Australia and Ernie Loosen from Dr Loosen in the Mosel, Germany. This dates back to a friendship which began back in 1995 and has certainly taken a while to reach fruition. No matter, the first couple of wines are out and the intention is that they be released every year. 

LoosenBarry Walhalla Riesling 2016 and Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Dry Riesling 2017

Naturally, the wines are Riesling, but the way they have decided to construct them is a rather unique method. For the first wine, they have used fruit from the Mosel and made the wine in the Aussie way – in stainless steel and as close to bone dry as they could manage. Meanwhile, back here, Clare Valley fruit has been made in the Germanic style, in large fuder (giant old oak casks) with some residual sweetness (around 7 grams). 

The names? For the German fruit, ‘Walhalla’ – meaning the ‘garden of the gods’. For the Clare Valley wine, ‘Wolta Wolta’, an Aboriginal word which means ‘place of abundant water’.

The LoosenBarry Walhalla Riesling 2016, from Mosel fruit, is as close to bone dry as they could manage. It has enjoyed a lengthy period of ageing on lees in stainless steel. The wine is beautifully perfumed with spices, citrus, lavender and more. A pear note emerged in the second half. The structure is a tight wine with what might be termed ‘white wine grip’. If it has a failing, there is no great length, but the appeal is the gorgeous aromatics. Nicely balanced and fine aromatics. Fine acidity. 90. Apparently, it spent 24 months on lees in tanks. It was intended to be 12 months, but no one told the winemaker at the time. $55 RRP

From the other side of the world, the Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Riesling 2017, Clare Valley fruit orchestrated by Tom and Sam Barry, using the 2,800 litre German fuder for 12 months, with another 12 in stainless steel. It has around 7 grams/litre residual sweetness. For me, this exhibited more finesse and elegance. Steely, with a hint of lime and slightly crunchy acidity. Good length, nicely focused and lingers well. A lovely refined style. Still very young. 92. $120 RRP

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