Saturday, 14 May 2016

Brown Brothers wine tasting

Two wine tastings this month! This time, the esteemed Brown Brothers were in town from Australia for a short window of time and so we were lucky enough to try their wines on our home turf. Our host for the evening was the loquacious Andrew Harris, Wine Ambassador for Brown Brothers. What's a wine ambassador? Basically, it means he's done a little bit of everything to do with wine and knows a lot about it!

The evening began with a presentation about the company itself and we were introduced to the four generations of Browns who have owned and operated the winery for the past 125 years in Milawa, about two hours north of Melbourne, Victoria. Innovation is the name of the game with Brown Brothers, who have constantly developed and experimented with different methods and styles of wine making throughout their history, producing multiple ranges across their various vineyards. Their business model involves setting up cellar doors in collaboration with other local businesses and constantly looking for new ways to experiment with wine. It works!

We got to taste nine samples during the evening. Some were variations on a theme and several were additions to our wine list.

Yes yes yes!
  • 2015 Moscato. My favourite wine of the evening came in several different iterations. Moscato is to Australia what sauvignon blanc is to New Zealand wine. Its very sharp, fresh and crisp flavour actually only has a 5% alcohol count as less sugar is extracted during the fermenting process. I bought a bottle of this for our wine rack.
  • 2015 Moscato Rosa. Similar to the plain moscato, this rosa has a pale pink colour while retaining a similar palette. Very light and refreshing with 7% low alcohol content.
  • 2014 Cienna. I had to get my head around several ideas to enjoy this wine: it's a sparkling, sweet red that is served chilled and its name was constantly mispronounced. (Apparently the spelling makes it different from Italian town of Siena, meaning they can get away with IP issues, even Brown Brothers say it the same way ... but this spelling should mean it's pronounced chi-en-na.) Once I got past all this, I really liked the Cienna and bought a bottle for my family to enjoy on Mothers' Day. We had the same conversation about pronunciation (can't argue with an Italian mama), that it could be sparkling, sweet, red and chilled ... a winner with the family.
  • NV  Prosecco. I do like a good prosecco but couldn't warm to this one. It was light, clean and crisp but a tad too sweet.
  • NV Sparkling  Moscato Rosa. Another variation on the moscato theme, this sparling wine had a very crisp, fresh flavour and a litle pink colour. 
  • 2014 Devil's Corner Pinot Noir. A lovely mid-red colour but the flavour way too rugged for me.
  • 2015 Devil's Corner Pinot Grigio. One word came to mind for this Tasmanian wine: asparagus.
  • 2014 18 Eighty Nine Shiraz. A smooth finish and a lovely mid-red colour, this shiraz spent 14 months on French and American oak, with 10% new oak.
  • 2009 Patricia Shiraz. I know it sounds wrong to say that I didn't like the best quality wine of the evening produced under their esteem flagship label, but I'm still not a shiraz drinker. A much smoother finish than the 18 Eighty Nine shiraz but still far too rich and heavy for me.

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