Sisters are doin' it for themselves
- Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin (1985)
If you've had a Brown Brothers' wine, chances are it was their sticky Rutherglen Muscat; this was certainly the only wine of this Victoria-based family-owned company that I had previously tried.
The observant may detect a Scottish ancestry to Brown Brothers - the family has been making wine in Australia since 1889.
Hot off the press is that they have bought up the majority of winemaking in Tasmania.
Family businesses take a different view of things - they work to longer timescales and accept smaller returns in the short term in order to maintain long term sustainability.
To avoid company groupthink, owner-manager Katherine Brown spent four years working outside the family company and is part of a leadership network of utterly unrelated businesses where she finds common challenges around recruitment and leadership.
The Patricia Range is not a group of hills; it is the flagship range of Brown Brothers' wines, named after Katherine's Grandmother under a promise that they would be "bloody good".
Over dinner at The Cut, we started with a traditional-method fizz.
Fizz on arrival
Patricia Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut 2010
From a cool vintage and grown at altitude with 80% Pinot. Yeasty and autolytic, clean and pure with orchard fruits and linear freshness. Rich and full.
Patricia Chardonnay 2008 from a warm year, higher-altitude fruit was used. Incredibly youthful for its age - perhaps due to screwcapping. Musky-oaky with ripe tropical citrus, minerality and zip. Long and complex.
Patricia Chardonnay 2011 from a cool, wet year, this feels lighter and fresher.
Patricia Shiraz 2012 more cool-climate maritime fruit in the blend. White pepper and florality with cool mint and pencil shavings; sweet ripe fruit and oaky spice, vibrant, plump and long. Elegant, fresh and compelling with good underpinnings.
Patricia Shiraz 2008 earthy aged character, dark fruits and freshness; supple, elegant and adept but not quite as substantial or complex as the 2012 or 2002.
Patricia Shiraz 2002 sweet vanilla and leathery-mushroomy aged character; vibrant with ripe dark fruits and cool mint; minerality, freshness and a muscular core. Long and complex. My wine of the night.
Patricia Noble Riesling 2002 black and treacly with flowers, sweet spices and salted caramel popcorn. Savoury and mineral with fabulous underpinnings.
Patricia Noble Riesling 2013 fresh roasted peaches and sweet spices, savoury roasted chestnuts, butterscotch, caramel and oakiness. Substantial, mineral and full.