One of the best wines to come out of Australia, The Armagh is a single plot expression from third generation winemakers at Jim Barry in the Clare Valley. There is real finesse here, with juicy, bright fruit and ripe tannins. The Armagh always has a distinct freshness that it retains with age. Quite restrained now but perfumed with layers and depth as it opens in the glass. Cool fermentation and a lack of new oak keeps this approachable, vibrant and floral.
Third year for The Armagh on the Place de Bordeaux, and it's an exceptional vintage, packed full of fragrant aromatics and plump, seductive, spiced and nuanced black cherry and damson fruit. Grilled sandalwood oak, firm tannins, plenty of black chocolate shavings, mandarin peel, the stone fruits edge of fully ripe Shiraz (almost as if it has been vinified with Viognier), tempered by sage and freshly cut rosemary herbs. This grabs you and stretches out through the palate. From a superb vineyard planted in 1968 by Jim Barry, with low yields of around 27hl/h (equivalent to less than two tonnes per acre), this is exceptional, with decades ahead of it. I suggest waiting a few years before opening, but the tannins are polished enough that you don't have to if you are prepared to give it a good long carafe. Made by Peter and Tom Barry. Sandy-gravel soils. 75% new oak, mainly 300l with a few 500l, unfined and unfiltered. Tom Barry winemaker.
This has attractive dark peaches, red cherries, blood oranges and really exotic fruit aromas with such an expressive nose that is swathed in fragrant spices. The palate has strongly defined dark plums and blackberries and mouthwateringly intense dark cherries. Super succulent and deeply flavored with silky, gently sinewy, young-tannin muscle. A great Armagh for sure. Try from 2028 and drink over the following two decades. Screw cap.
Blended and set to be bottled a month after my visit, the 2018 The Armagh Shiraz looks to be a near-repeat of the impressive 2016. It will be given three years in bottle prior to release, so it's still a few years out. That said, it combines luxurious notes of maple syrup with bright red berries in what sounds like a dessert, yet it maintains a sense of savoriness and drinkability. It's full-bodied, richly concentrated and velvety in texture, with a tremendously long, mouthwatering finish.
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Young 2025 - 2045