Here we go, the second release of this cross-continental Riesling collaboration between two tireless, fearless pioneers. These estates have been pushing boundaries and flying the Riesling flag for decades. They don’t stop.
The first release allayed any concerns that this was just a marketing novelty. Nick Stock declared the inaugural release a “Blazingly good Riesling collaboration!”. Walhalla made it into jamessuckling.com’s Top 100 German Wines of the Year, while Wolta Wolta made it into the Top 100 Australian Wines of the Year.
Writing in The Australian, Nick Ryan said of the former: “Few places in the wine world can match the electric energy of the acidity in Mosel wines and this wine hums with it. Heaven for the acid freaks.” Huon Hooke called it: “A tense, taut, mouth-wateringly delicious wine.”
As for its Aussie counterpart, James Halliday called the ’17 Wolta Wolta, “Magic in the mouth; simply beautiful”. “This is a mind flip,” said Nick Stock, “showing perfectly placed reduction and such completely ripe fruit. Smoothly honed, long and seamless.” Gary Walsh extolled its “Wonderful texture and […] high level of complexity”. “Wolta Wolta is unlike anything produced in Clare before,” said Nick Ryan, totally hitting the nail on the head. “It’s incredibly complex and utterly compelling.” And Huon Hooke found it: “A thoroughly delicious, beguiling, mouth-watering Riesling that totally belies its Clare Valley origins. An exciting wine. A real stunner.”
To rewind a little, the friendship between Erni Loosen of the Dr. Loosen Estate in Germany and Peter Barry of Jim Barry Wines in Australia’s Clare Valley, began in London in 1995. Forged out of a mutual respect for the noble variety, Riesling, this collaboration of ideas pays homage to the winemaking techniques used in their respective homes of the Mosel and Clare.
So it is that we have Walhalla, Erni’s tribute to Clare made in a pure, bone-dry style from grapes grown on the grand-cru Treppchen vineyard in the village of Erden. And from brothers Tom and Sam Barry, an “Aussie GG” to perhaps surpass any other Riesling grown on Australian soil. Wolta Wolta comes from a very special parcel on the high-altitude (480m) Lodge Hill vineyard. The juice was wild fermented in a traditional German oak Fuder provided by Dr Loosen and raised in the fashion of the Grosses Gewächs wines of the great Mosel estate.
We often talk about the mind-blowing versatility of Riesling. If you’re after a passport to explore, the queue starts here.
2017 Loosen Barry Walhalla Riesling Mosel Valley $51
The wine is made from Mosel Riesling grapes grown on the Treppchen grand-cru vineyard in the village of Erden in the Mosel Valley, raised in the Australian style. By this we mean it’s bone dry, with long aging on the fine lees in stainless steel tanks. Walhalla is German for “Garden of the Gods” where the souls of heroes slain in battle were received by Odin and where they celebrated with all-day feasts and drinking sprees.
Perfumed with a juicy burst of flavour. I’m thinking sweet and sour green apple, fresh mint, green mango tang, tight feel to it too, slight cheesy savoury edge, with fetching stony and chalky grip, and a quinine-like bitterness to the finish, with a good squeeze of fresh lime and stony dryness. Great drink. Refreshing and complex.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
2018 Loosen Barry Wolta Wolta Riesling Clare Valley $110
On 3rd March 2018, five tonnes of Riesling was 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
Very light, bright colour, with a reductive aroma at first with lemon-citrus peeping through underneath, detailed and aromatic, the palate intense and rich, as well as very lively and almost racy at the same time, with a faint patina of nuttiness over the top. The palate is dry and concentrated, and it has gorgeous texture, tremendous length and a winning combination of delicacy and richness. Most impressive. Dare we say, almost Germanic!97 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review
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
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?17.5+/20 Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com