Brown Brothers Patricia Range 2016 - Preview Tasting
Tonight I was able to get along to an evening introducing the latest releases Brown Brothers ‘Patricia’ range, ably led by Caroline Brown, Public Relations Manager for the family operation. The new releases are formally released on Thursday, and remarkably, us Hobartians are among the first to taste these new wines. I tasted these wines non-blind, and with some mutual sharing of thoughts and opinions, so with that in mind, scores are a guide only. I hope you get your hands on some of these fantastic wines, named after a lady who by all accounts, was a sterling character and a lovely woman.
Brown Brothers Patricia Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut 2010, around $48
12.5% alc, made in the traditional method, 5 years on lees, fruit from the top end of the King Valley. Shimmering colour, a really fresh baby of a wine. The rich autolytic notes hit the nose straight off, purring. It actually smells like cut marble on the nose – a kind of smooth, clean, white rock. Smells like a clean and powerful Chardonnay mix in the balance, when in actual fact it’s 80% Pinot Noir. In the mouth, very creamy. You get the brioche, the smooth fruit, the bready characters. But you get delicacy too – soft brioche crust, not the soppy middle. A full-bodied wine (for me), this is best consumed with food rather than as an aperitif, as it’s not dry enough to satisfy those wanting their bones rattled. It will, however, give you superb drinking pleasure over the next 2-3 years.
Brown Brothers Patricia Chardonnay 2011, around $40
12.5% alc, hand picked, whole bunch pressed. 100% barrel fermented, with 5% undergoing malolactic fermentation. 5 months in 31% new oak, 40% 1 year old oak, the remainder older French oak. Continuous lees stirring. Strong butterscotch greeting on first whiff, really high-toned and amped up aroma. Superb intensity from the get-go. Like fine, crumbly cream biscuits in the mouth, this wine also exhibits the marbly character of the sparkling. Tastes resembling something like lanolin, but a great use of new oak in this. A medium-plus bodied wine, this is restrained but with super length and tightly moulded acid. It’s a wine that stirs the imagination.
Brown Brothers Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, around $62
13.5% alc, a multi-region blend from three vineyards: 60% Ray vineyard in King Valley, 34% Moonlight vineyard in Bendigo region, and 6% from Brown Brothers’ own Heathcote vineyard. The wine sees 17 months in 62% new French oak barriques, 11% in 1 year old, and the remainder in older oak. It’s then bottle-aged. A concentrated nose of black and blue fruits – predominantly black. This is an airy wine, like linen curtains billowing on a moderate Spring day. Slight milk chocolate tinges, but the adorable cigar box smell is there. A touch of bramble on the nose, thick-trunked branches, hints of savoury aromas. In the mouth, the black and blue fruits come through. There’s a feeling of low-to-medium acidity in the wine, and medium tannin presence. It’s a quite intense fruit experience, and overall, this is an elegant medium-bodied Cabernet.
Brown Brothers Patricia Shiraz 2012, around $62
14% alc, again a multi-region blend: 32% Malakoff Vineyard (Pyrenees), 24% Ellis Vineyard (Heathcote), 18% from Brown Brothers’ own Heathcote Vineyard, 18% Henty Vineyard, 8% Moonlight Vineyard (Bendigo). The wine spends 18 months in 44% new oak (30% French, 14% American), with the remainder in older barriques and puncheons. Pips the Cabernet as the best red on show. Aromas of blueberries, liquorice and, a first for me, a very particular meal: Xiao Long ‘Juicy Bun’ Pork Dumplings in soy sauce. Precise aroma – call me crazy, but that’s it. On the palette, slightly grainy yet still smooth, viscous but silky, long and perfumed in the mouth. Fine-grained tannins, delicate acidity which emerges on the finish. Not a hint of alcohol warmth here, it’s all smooth sailing. An interesting and very noteworthy Shiraz effort.
I also tasted the 2013 Brown Brothers Noble Riesling but can’t post a tasting note as we all listened to a great but short speech made by Caroline Brown. Kudos to the team at Brown Brothers for marshalling their vast resources into this high quality range of wines. As I said above, scores are a guide only and I do reckon you should give these a go for yourself when they are released on the 17th. For what it’s worth, I took home a Chardonnay for myself for closer scrutiny, naturally.