Jim Barry Wines releases Australia's first Assyrtiko

10 November 2016

Australia's Jim Barry Wines is making wine history by producing and releasing Australia's first Assyrtiko.

After 10 years of planning, and following a sampling of the wine at the Australia tastings earlier this year, managing director Peter Barry has decided to release the notable Greek wine variety.

Only 500 cases have currently been made of the wine, with a limited on-trade release happening in Australia.

Assyrtiko grapes in Santorini
Assyrtiko grapes in Santorini

First tasting the variety in 2006 whilst in Santorini, Barry revealed the Assyrtiko immediately stood out to him, and after observing the similarities in the climate in Santorini, he decided Clare Valley would work as a region to grow the variety.

Revealing that the soil and climate have imparted their own unique characteristics to the Assyrtiko, Barry believes they have reproduced some similar characteristics to the Assyrtiko of Santorini, producing a richer wine with a mineral, salty finish.

'The fresh, crisp, acidic qualities of the wine are perfect accompaniments to contemporary Australian food – it is a natural partner for the Australian climate and cuisine,' said Barry.

'While the laborious process of importation and quarantine of cuttings has discouraged many growers in Australia from trying something new, I, like my father, have an interest in growing grapes that have a sustainable future in our region,' he continued.

'Santorini has an arid climate, with an average rainfall of 300mm. With the advent of climate change and global warming, Assyrtiko is a variety that is well suited to the changing landscape of Australian winemaking.'

The wine has already won the Chief of Judge's Wine to Watch Award at the 2016 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show – recognising dynamic, emerging wines.

The production of Assyrtiko is part of a wider trend to plant non-French grapes in Australia, with Spanish and Italian varieties also growing in popularity.


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