Step back in time
By Andrew Harris, Wine Educator
With the launch of our new Wine Room in the Milawa Epicurean Centre, visitors have the opportunity to buy wine by the glass and enjoy a more casual tapas-style menu. The best news of all is that wines from our Cellar Door Vintage Corner will also be on sale by the glass, giving visitors an opportunity to try wines that have been cellared and are now at their best. Vintage Corner was established to showcase our wines that are great to drink now but after cellaring for several years are outstanding.
If you are visiting Milawa and are a keen fan of Shiraz, you now can buy a glass of the 1998 Brown Brothers Shiraz and the 2002 Brown Brothers Shiraz in the new wine room and bottles of both these wines are on sale in the Vintage Corner of our Cellar Door.
I recently had the chance to pull out of the cellar some back vintage Brown Brothers Shiraz wines to show to some visitors to our winery.
The results were very interesting. These wines had been stored in the Brown Brothers family cellar in very good conditions and hence had every chance to open up and show their true characters. For Shiraz lovers, here are my tasting notes:
1978 Shiraz: Colour still looking good for a 34-year-old wine. Spicy, tar and dried leaves are the immediate aromas. There is still some dark berry fruits hidden underneath. The palate is surprisingly vibrant and spicy. This wine was a real highlight.
1987 Shiraz: I wanted to open the 1988 but unfortunately we have very few bottles of that vintage still in the cellar. The 1987 was showing it’s age and the colour had washed out a bit. The 1987 vintage was quite wet and the Shiraz suffered a bit for that. It still had some interesting leather and spice. However, it lacked the fruit to balance and was thin on the finish.
1998 Shiraz: A big generous colour with a slightly mahogany edge indicating some cellar time. The first thing that jumped out of the glass was a hit of oak. Around this time we were utilising (like most wineries) a lot more new oak. The fruit flavours were excellent with plum and blackberry as well as a white pepper spice. It was a full bodied rich Shiraz that still showed elegance. This wine was drinking really well and I would think is at its peak.
2008 Shiraz: The purchase of the Heathcote vineyard in 1999 gave us a fantastic new playground for Shiraz. And you could see the difference in style. Deep vibrant colour. Very primary fruit flavours and clove spice. The oak is there but certainly in the background unlike the 1998. Great balance on the palate with juicy fruit, spice and drying tannins.
2012 Shiraz (barrel sample): Fantastic vibrant purple colour. This is a real teeth stainer. As you would expect for a very young wine the fruit flavours are exploding out of the glass. There is a plushness of flavour and the hallmark elegance of Victorian Shiraz. It is an exciting year for our Shiraz - not only the estate Shiraz, our Patricia growers have gone to a new level also.