Brown Brothers CEO Ross Brown called by to show some new releases of his family’s Patricia range of wines last week.
He was dapper, tanned and relaxed despite the current difficult trading conditions for the industry.
With Browns very much a spearhead in adapting Italian varieties to their vineyard sites, and several mature brand styles now I thought about new wines in the same theme.
Ross said “We have factored in a two degree temperature rise during the ripening season in the future. This means planting hot and warm climate varieties such as Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola and Vermentino in a cooler vineyard like Heathcote and not Milawa or similar”.
Brown Brothers Vermentino 2009 (AUD 17), 13% alcohol is the stereotype wine Browns wish to make to supersede Sauvignon Banc – a fresh wine, selling under AUD 20, other than riesling as an adjunct to seafood in bistro environments. The high acidity in the Heathcote vineyard renders it suitable.
Brown Brothers Prosecco 2009 (AUD 19) is most appealing, made from the Prosecco grape and able to be called so in Australia, although in Europe the Prosecco growers have outlawed its use as a brand in the trade.
Producers outside the region are forced to use the grape name glera, and in one case with the supermarket Marks and Spencer a pink wine named Rosecco has been embargoed, and held from sale.
Browns Prosecco is outstanding – a strong varietal with some crunch, dry aperitivo style, subtle, fruity, nice low acidity and plenty to enjoy. They have taken the level of imported Proseccos to another height, and put some polish on how this grape can be expressed with tidy winemaking.
The company has a great deal of respect for one native grape of Sicily, Nero d’Avola – so much so that they bought some in 2006 as a bulk shipment and bottled in Australia. That wine was trialed at cellar door, selling with distinction and proving extra interest in another Italian varietal.
Brown Brothers Nero d’Avola 2009 (AUD 17) comes out around Easter, a fresh and lively drink worth the taste of mild texture, savoury acidity, short on chewiness and big on currant flavours. It is a food magnet.
I also tasted Montepulciano, the red grape from the warmer Eastern Italian coastal areas as an experimental wine showing much promise as yet another crunchy, Italian varietal with a good attitude. Constellation’s Banrock Station have recently released the same variety.
Browns five Patricia releases this year-the sixth edition-uphold the iconic status of this company which dispenses value all day – but at night when it wants to, displays a set of top shelf wines named Patricia.
Through this year look for Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2005 13% (AUD 45), long time on lees, very classy autolysis but subtle, mineral chardonnay; Shiraz 2006 14.5% (AUD 56), complex fruit, a total opposite to warm regions like Barossa, much tighter tannins, the spice style; Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 14.5% (AUD 56), deliberately held an extra year, mocha, leafy, well down the aging process, having defining tannin which is drying.
The finale is a delightful Noble Riesling 2006 11.5% (AUD 35) with a string of wine show accomplishments.
And why was Ross Brown so laid back? He had been able to take his first decent holiday in a long time, and the sun tan said he had not spent much of it around the family properties.
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