Jancis Robinson’s rave review for Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta

“Yes! Really beautifully balanced, appetising, mature Riesling,” was Jancis Robinson’s emphatic response to tasting the 2018 Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Riesling. “Just delightful. How do they do it?”

Those thoughts were expressed in an article entitled Erni & Friends, looking at the various collaborations Herr Loosen is involved with around the world. “Erni, short for Ernst, is a quintessential extrovert who travels all over the world and is much appreciated by wine lovers and wine producers everywhere,” Robinson wrote. “He’s curious and cosmopolitan with a deep understanding of non-German wines as well as of the history of his own extraordinary Mosel wine region.”

It was that understanding of international wines – informed by a 25-year friendship with the Barry family and the consumption of a not insignificant amount of their Riesling – that led Erni to get involved in the project that yielded, from 2018, the second edition of the excellent Wolta Wolta from a special plot of the Lodge Hill vineyard in Clare Valley.

2018 Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Riesling $120

On 3rd March 2018, five tonnes of Riesling were hand harvested and sorted from Block 18 (planted in 1979) at our Lodge Hill vineyard. We harvested the fruit at 12.2 Baumé.

Fruit was stored in a cold room overnight to bring the temperature below 10˚C. Once destemmed and crushed, the fruit was then pressed into stainless steel for 12 hours to settle, before being racked into the 2,800-litre German oak ‘Fuder’ cask. The light lees were racked which assisted a wild ferment to take place after five days. Fermentation took four weeks with the temperature maintained at 18˚C. When residual sugar was below 10g/L, cooling was turned on to arrest the fermentation at 6g/L, achieving sugar-acid balance. The wine then rested on full yeast lees for 12 months at 10˚C before being transferred to stainless steel where it sat on fine lees at 4˚C for a further 11 months.  

Our 2018 Wolta Wolta was bottled on 17th February 2020 and, after spending a year in bottle, was released on 9th March 2021. – The Barry family

Apple, lime, lavender and spice. Smooth, glossy feel, but with a chalky grip, juicy apple acidity, good length with it. A fresh sorbet kind of thing happening in the aftertaste. Quite different to your run-of-the-mill Clare Riesling.

95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front March 2021

Great evolution on the nose – really zesty, lime marmalade flavours. Yes! Really beautifully balanced, appetising, mature Riesling. Steely but not austere. Doesn’t taste at all sweet though there may be a little residual sugar in here to counterbalance this very fine acidity. Composed and salivatory. Hmm, but I see from Wine-Searcher.com that the Barrys do not undervalue it and charge the equivalent of about £65 a bottle in Australia. Shame. I thought I had spotted a bargain here. Just delightful. How do they do it? 12.5%. Drink 2021 – 2028.

17.5/20 Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com April 2020

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