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Brown Brothers

www.brownbrothers.com.au

Millawa-Bobinawarrah Rd, Millawa, 3678

Cellar Door: Daily (9-5)

Ph: (03) 5720 5547

Brown Brothers wines from the Rutherglen region (Vic)

label

Brown Brothers is the region's historic winery and features a wide portfolio of reasonably priced alternative varieties.

It is also the King Valley's only large winery with extensive retail and export distribution.

The first vines were established at Millawa property some time after a Scot called John Graham purchased the property in 1857.

The first commercial wine was not released until 1889 by which time John's son-in-law, George Brown was in charge.

Apart from a brief disruption when phylloxera meant the vines and to be ripped out and drafted on resistant root stock the Brown family have been putting out their wines.

A second disruption when the 1967 vintage was destroyed by frost led the family to purchase new vineyards. There is a cold climate one on the Whitlands plateau and a warm climate one at Mystic Park near Swan Hill.

The range of vineyards has allowed Brown Brothers to develop an extremely broad portfolio and to experiment with rare and unusual varieties such as Prosecco and the CSIRO- developed Tarrango and Cienna.

The high country Whitlands vineyard provides sparkling wine base (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and crisp, aromatic white varietals are produced like Riesling, the pungent Sauvignon Blanc and delicate Pinot Grigio.

The Millawa propertry provides cool to mild climate conditions for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It also provides the longer ripening conditions needed to get the best out of Italian red varieties such as Durif and Barbera.

The mild to warm Milawa vineyard produces robust reds like Shiraz, Mondeuse and Cabernet and winery's most outstanding wine - the Patricia Noble Riesling. Muscat, Tokay and Shiraz are also grown for fortified winemaking.

The restaurant (Epicuran centre) is open at Millawa from 9-4 with a la carte meals between 11-3.

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Brown Brothers Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier NV

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2016, fragrant and crisp with hints of green apple, pear and a hint of strawberry, nougat and a light touch of yeasty lees, fresh citrus acidity (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Limited Release Prosecco 2013

Purchased: Vintage Cellars, Toorak ($22)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2014, earlier picked than the standard NV Prosecco so this has some extra vibrancy and drive,  quite dry showing granny smith apple, white nectarine and pear with a touch of lemon sherbert and yeasty complexity, lingering lemon acidity, not particularly complex but a well balanced aperitif (****)

Brown Brothers Patricia Noble Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($35 for 375 ml)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2012, this has been produced since 1962 and is Australia’s oldest continuously produced botrytis sticky, bright golden colour, 215 gms/l residual sugar, lush cumquat, lemon barley, lime marmalade with flashes of pineapple, tangerine, bitterscotch and dried apricot, but has a waxy nectar-like mouth-feel, vibrant and tangy lemon acids that balance the sweetness, still evolving so try and put at least one away in the cellar (****1/2)

Brown Brothers Sparkling Prosecco NV

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink:

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2012, from the Banksdale vineyard in the Upper King Valley, zippy, light, rounded and dry with residual citrus, green apple and pear flavours with almond nuances, creamy mousse with crisp acidity and enough length (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Victoria Tempranillo 2010

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink:

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2012, third release, mainly from the Banksdale vineyard in the Upper King Valley with some riper Heathcote input to add depth, juicy, medium bodied dark plum and redcurrant with white pepper and olive nuances, the savoury finish has a touch of mocha-coffee from the mainly US oak, as usual it is good value entry style (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Pinot Grigio 2011

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink:

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2012, from the Banksdale vineyard in the Upper King Valley, lean and crisp pear, peach and citrus with savoury phenolics notes and lemony acidity (***)

Brown Brothers King Valley Sparkling NV

Purchased: Not ($23)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2010, 53% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, Trophy for Best Sparkling at National Wine Show 2009, half sourced from the alpine Whitlands sub-region, balanced, delicate, toasty residual green apple, nectarine and citrus flavours with complex brioche notes, well integrated dosage and acidity, excellent value (****1/2)

Brown Brothers Tempranillo 2008

Purchased: Dan Murphys, Melb CBD ($18)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, juicy, medium bodied with a plump mid-palate, plum and redcurrant with white pepper, olive and toasty brown spices, the savoury finish has a touch of mocha-coffee from the mainly US oak, good value entry style (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Sparkling Prosecco 2009

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, light and dry with residual citrus, green apple and pear flavours with nougat and almond nuances with balanced acids and respectable length (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Cienna Rosso 2010

Purchased: Not ($17)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, light and frothy frizzante (Charmat method) with sweet blueberry and raspberry and some flat cola, apparently its very popular in some Asian export markets, drink as soon as possible (***)

Brown Brothers Savagnin 2009

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: July 2010, mainly from the King Valley Banksdale Vineyard (455m), lightly spiced and musky pear and cut grass with some citrus acids but a bit demure and broad even by the standards of the (now correctly identified) variety (***)

Brown Brothers Crouchen Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Purchased: Not ($12)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2010, first release of this unique blend of 51% Crouchen and 49% Sauvignon Blanc, semi-sweet and minerally pear, brown lime and passionfruit with the Sauvignon Blanc bringing the snowpea and green capsicum notes, surprisingly complex and unexpected synergy, designed to match spicy Asian dishes, this good value blend deserves a future (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Victoria Crouchen Riesling Rose 2009

Purchased: Safeways, St. Kilda ($12)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2010, I was gobsmacked when I saw a bottle of Crouchen Riesling with a bright salmon orange colour, Crouchen is closely related to Riesling and usually is seen as a medium sweet wine from Clare Valley, the source of the colours come from the Cienna, fresh, broad and medium sweet lime, yellow peach, candied watermelon and rose petal leads to a dry finish although some residual sugar is showing, soft talcy backbone gives some needed structure, reminds me a bit of California’s sweet White Zin Rose, the low 10.5% alcohol is a plus (***)

Brown Brothers Patricia Noble Riesling 2006

Purchased: Not ($35 for 375 ml bottle)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2009, much awarded wine, a lush but well poised heavily botrytised wine showing cumquat, lemon barley, lime marmalade with a touch of pineapple, surprisingly low alcohol (8.5%) but has a harmonious nectar-like mouth-feel, vibrant lemon acids but I still reckon the acids need to have a bit more cut and thrust to reach the pinnacle of this style (****1/2)

Brown Brothers Limited Release Prosecco 2008

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, their first experimental release of this Northern Italian sparkling variety, grown at the Banksdale vineyard at 485m and picked early to retain high acid levels, fairly muted nose crisp, a dry and light apetitif sparkling showing residual pear, citrus and green apple flavours, needs to be drunk while young and fresh with seafood (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Orange Muscat and Flora 2008

Purchased: Not ($14)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, blend of 80% Orange Muscat and 20% Flora, perfumed, sweet and musky showing orange rind and apricot marmalade notes, spicy with tangy citric acids, the Flora (a cross of Semillon and Gewürztraminer) lifts the nose and deepens the colour (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Victoria Tempranillo 2006

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, savoury blackberry, redcurrant and prune but the overall impression is quite dry, medium bodied with a citric twist on the finish, plenty of coffee-cedar from the mainly American oak (***)

Brown Brothers Victoria Pinot Grigio 2008

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, while definitely in the Grigio rather than Gris camp it is bit fuller flavoured than many of the super-lean Grigios from Victoria, spicy pear, melon and citrus with savoury and honeysuckle notes, soft rounded finish (***)

Brown Brothers Limited Release Cienna 2008

Purchased: Not ($14)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, a sweet low alcohol wine (5%) showing fresh cherry and raspberry flavours, some spritz and minerality add some interest but the overall impression is cloying and flabby (**1/2)

Brown Brothers Vermentino 2007

Purchased: Not ($16)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: May 2008, gentle orange and mandarin with a touch of lime, generously textured with a fresh and dry savoury cut, lingering lemon citrus acids, confident varietal expression (****)

Brown Brothers Dolcetto and Syrah 2007

Purchased: Safeways, St. Kilda ($14)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: May 2008, entry style showing mainly the sweet spritzy raspberry of Dolcetto with the Syrah adding some body and back end tannins, a hint of coffee on the finish (**1/2)

Brown Brothers Patricia Noble Riesling 2000

Purchased: Safeways, St. Kilda ($24)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2008, Trophy Winner at 2002 National Wine Show, intense and complex cumquat, mandarin, honey and lime marmalade, waxy palate with balanced acidity although the acid is just starting to fade now, great length, drink soon (****1/2)

Brown Brothers Patricia Noble Riesling 2002

Purchased: Not ($26)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, brilliant yellow-gold colour, delightfully intense and complex showing lime marmalade, orange peel, cumquat, and ripe apricot flavours, slightly waxy palate is underpinned with a refreshing line of stonefruit acidity that stops it getting cloying, great length, exemplary dessert wine (*****)

Brown Brothers Cellar Door Release Tempranillo 2005

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, spicy plum, redcurrant and blackberry with a touch of tobacco, medium bodied with fine savoury tannins, mocha-coffee oak support (***1/2)

Brown Brothers Cellar Door Release Viognier 2006

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, dry and austere style showing pear and apricot with some ginger bitterness, long minerally finish (***)

Brown Brothers Moscato 2007

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, light and grapey blend of Muscat of Alexandria and Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, low alcohol with some frizzante aspects, musc flavours with some lemon sherbert, basic by itself but works well with fruit salads or chocolate (***)

Brown Brothers Victoria Tarrango 2005

Purchased: Not ($13)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, sweet raspberry and red cherry but a bit drier and more balanced than the 2004, light chocolate oak but still with flabby acid and barely present tannins, work in progress (**1/2)

Brown Brothers King Valley Durif 2004

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, deep blackberry with liquorice and violet notes, a bit more restrained and elegant than the super-heroic Durifs of the Rutherglen, balanced oak handling with coffee, cedar and vanilla features (***1/2)

Brown Brothers King Valley Pinot Grigio 2005

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, fresh pear and citrus, honeyed, buttery and rounded palate, spicy mid-palate with a crisp finish (***)

Brown Brothers Cellar Door Release Tempranillo 2003

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, spicy plum, redcurrant and blackberry aromas, savoury mid palate with fine tannins, mocha coffee oak touches, fairly acidic finish (***)

Brown Brothers Victoria Pinot Gris 2005

Purchased: Not ($16)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, experimental cellar door release, basic varietal style with spicy pear and floral characteristic, crisp acid finish but seem to finish a touch short (**1/2)

Brown Brothers Victoria Tarrango 2004

Purchased: Liquourland, West Brunswick ($12)

Drink: 2005

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2005, sweet raspberry and red cherry, overly weighted to raspberry end, light chocolate oak but no acid counterpoint, tannins hardly noticeable, I was eager to try this unusual variety but was left disappointed at what amounts to alcoholic raspberry cordial (**)

Brown Brothers Moscato 2004

Purchased: St. Kilda Cellars ($15)

Drink: 2005

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2005, blend of Muscat of Alexandria and Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, light and grapey, slightly bubbly (frizzante), musc flavoured wine with a hint of sherbert, best as a summer dessert with fresh fruit (***)