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Located 2 kilometres northwest of Clare township on the opposite side of the hill on which Jim Barry Winery is located, is home to the famed 'The Armagh Shiraz'. The vineyard derives its name from a nearby hamlet of Armagh, established by Irish settlers in 1849 and named after lush, rolling hills of their homeland.
The 70-acre property was previously owned by Duncan McRae Wood and used to graze dairy cows before being purchased by Jim and Nancy Barry in 1964. That same year, Jim first planted 900 Malbec and 2500 Cabernet Sauvignon vines, followed by a further eight acres of Shiraz vines in 1968. At an elevation of 367 metres, the vines follow the contours of the north-west-facing slopes to prevent soil erosion and ensure winter rains soak in.
The unique soil composition is sandy clay topsoil with a pebbly alluvial layer overlaying mottled clay subsoil. Plush fruit and supple richness are hallmarks of The Armagh style. With oak behind deep, intense fruit and fine, structured tannins, The Armagh is highly prized for its consistency and cellaring potential. From the first vintage in 1985, The Armagh has achieved remarkable success, attaining the maximum possible rating of ‘Exceptional’ in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine.
This wine displays crimson red with a magenta hue in the glass. The nose shows intense, fragrant aromas of ripe black fruits, figs, apricot and wet stone with graphite notes. The palate opens with wet stone, ripe berries, coiled tannins and graphite. As the wine opens and relaxes it shows more black fruits and oak, laced with wet stone. A wine of enormous complexity and longevity.
The winter 2000 in Australia was quite dry and Spring was cold and miserable. Summer and Autumn had a few rainfalls through them, with temperatures were normal. The results were very low crops producing wines of nice fruit character and extremely juicy but not particularly tannic (below average). The wines are lovely fruit wines.