Tasting Reviews

Taylor Brown – A Selection of The Best Wines

Taylor Brown is a collaboration between Taylors Wines of the Clare Valley and Brown Brothers of Milawa, Victoria in marketing their wines in New Zealand. Both are multi-generational family businesses with a proud history in Australia, and in New Zealand, as well as the rest of the world, each with a broad and diverse portfolio of wines to suit all segments of the market. The similar synergies were such that Taylor Brown was formed three years ago to be able to positively approach the market as a large international corporate might do with the advantages of economies of scale, but retain the uniqueness of their family operations and associated values. The two brands are quite individual and indeed complementary, and the wines are essentially based on regionality as well as innovation. Both are members of ‘Australia’s First Families of Wine’.

A Visit to New Zealand
In the last week of June, Justin Taylor and Caroline Brown were in New Zealand to conduct a series of promotional events featuring some of their top wines. I’d attended a similar function in 2015, but only of Taylors where the 2012 vintages of super-premium ‘The Pioneer’ Shiraz and ‘The Visionary’ Cabernet Sauvignon were released (click here to see my report). Unfortunately, I had to withdraw my attendance at the last minute, so missed out on catching up with Justin and Caroline, and tasting the wines. However, Taylor Brown had reserved some of the wine for me to review at a time that was convenient. My reviews of the wines delivered to me follow.

Brown Brothers - Milawa
Established in 1889, Brown Brothers has third and fourth generation members running the business. Its base is at Milawa, north-east Victoria, and most of the wines are Victorian in origin, but the company has grown to include wines from other regions such as Tasmania. The company prides itself on introducing innovative varieties and styles. The flagship wines are the ‘Patricia’ range named after the family matriarch. Here, I review one of the fastest growing wines of all the Brown Brothers bottlings, the King Valley Prosecco, along with a selection of ‘Patricia’ wines. www.brownbrothers.com.au

Brown Brothers King Valley Prosecco NV
Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim, the bubbles fine and persistent. The nose is very elegant, but intense and penetrating with aromas of white stonefruits and florals, along with suggestions of fresh herbs, apples and nuts. The aromatics possesses clarity and purity. Off-dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has a fine and moderately taut core with flavours of white stonefruits and apples with an amalgam of florals, herbs and nuts at the core. The flavours show good depth and the mouthfeel is soft with a gentle mousse, revealing a little phenolic texture as they carry to a delicately nuanced, lingering finish. This is a taut and intense Prosecco with good depth of stonefruit and apple flavours, gentle mousse and mouthfeel, and a delicate finish. Serve as an anytime sparkling over the next 2 years. Prosecco fruit from the ‘Bankside’ vineyard, King Valley, made by the Charmat method, fermented to 11.5% alc. and 13 g/L residual sugar, at 5 atmosphere pressure. Winemaker: Geoff Alexander. Lot L 7332 23 26. 17.0+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $16.99

Brown Brothers ‘Patricia’ King Valley Methode Traditionnelle Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Brut 2011
Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim, the bubbles very fine and moderately persistent. The nose is softly full, broad and voluminous with well-packed, harmoniously integrated, complex aromas of yellow stonefruits melded with bready-yeasty autolysis and a suggestion of aldehyde detail. This has a tight and deep core, the aromatics retaining a steely freshness. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a round but deep and concentrated heart of yellow stonefruits harmoniously interwoven with complexing bready-yeasty autolysis and hints of aldehyde detail. The mouthfeel is very refined and the wine flows smoothly along a fine-textured line with subtle effervescence, leading to an elegant, lingering finish of autolysis. This is a well-concentrated and deep, complex method traditionnelle with yellow stonefruits integrated with bready-yeasty autolysis on a fine-textured palate. Serve with antipasto and with subtle white and red meat dishes over the next 3-4 years. A blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from the Whitlands Plateau, King Valley, fermented to 12.0% alc. and dosage 10 g/L RS, the wine spending 6 years on lees. Winemaker: Cate Looney. Lot111215. 18.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $29.99

Brown Brothers ‘Patricia’ Victoria Shiraz 2013
Dark, deep, black-hued red colour with slight garnet hues on the rim. The bouquet is softly full and voluminous with a gently building core of ripe blackberry fruit along with notes of savoury spices and an amalgam of earth and dark-red florals. Herb elements, hints of secondary game and a subtle layering of sweet and nutty oak adds interest. Full-bodied, the palate has a deeply packed and dense heart with layers of flavour, showing ripe blackberries, savoury spices, earth and nutty, cedary oak, a little eucalyptus and secondary game suggestions. The fruit has sweetness and succulence, and is balanced by fine, grainy tannin extraction lending a firm line and mouthfeel, with lacy acidity providing energy and tension. The wine carries to a very long, lingering finish of spices and cedar. This is a deep and densely concentrated Shiraz with blackberry fruit, spices, earth and cedar with some secondary complexity on a well-structured palate with good acidity. Match with casseroles and game meat over the next 6-8+ years. Fruit from Victoria, 41% from Henty, 22% from Heathcote, 21% Stratbogie Ranges and 16% Dinnings in the King Valley, fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 35% new American and 25% new French oak. Winemaker: Geoff Alexander. 18.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $54.99

Brown Brothers ‘Patricia’ King Valley Noble Riesling 2014
Full, deep, golden-yellow colour with slight orange hues at the heart, lighter on the edge. The nose is a little restrained in volume, but possesses a packed and deeply concentrated core of ripe tropical fruit and citrus fruit melded to orange marmalade, crystallised fruits and a little toffee, unfolding a minerally edge of freshness. Very sweet to taste and light-bodied, the palate has a rich and deep, decadent heart of ripe tropical fruits, apricots and citrus fruit, along with orange marmalade, wild honey and notes of caramel and toffee. The sweetness has restraint and the mouthfeel is harmonious and rounded, with soft, fine textures. The acidity is soft and integrated, and the palate flows smoothly to a lingering finish. This is a rich and flavoursome Noble Riesling with soft and restrained sweetness, but decadent tropical fruit, apricot, marmalade, honeyed and caramel flavours. Match with steamed desserts and crème caramel over the next 4 years. Hand-picked Riesling fruit from the King Valley with significant botrytis infection fermented to 9.0% alc. and 164 g/L RS, with TA 9.2 g/L and pH 3.43. Winemaker: Cate Looney. (375 ml) 18.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $24.99

Taylors – Clare Valley
The Taylor family, Sydney wine merchants partnered the Clare Valley Co-operative to bottle and distribute the Chateau Clare label in 1950, thus beginning the Clare Valley association. In 1969, Bill Taylor purchased land to establish their family winegrowing estate, building a winery in 1973, and releasing their first wines from that vintage. The Taylors have continually expanded the range of varieties grown but remain focussed on the Clare Valley as their home. They are in the third generation of ownership. Here, I review the premium 2015 ‘St Andrews’ Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wines, along with the super-premium 2013 ‘The Pioneer’ Shiraz and ‘The Visionary’ Cabernet Sauvignon, there being the second and fourth releases of these wines respectively. www.taylorswines.com.au

Taylors ‘St Andrews’ Clare Valley Shiraz 2015
Saturated, purple-hued black-red colour. The nose is very bold, full and voluminous with well concentrated and dense aromas of very ripe blackberry fruit with liquorice, black plums and boysenberries, along with fragrant, spicy oak. This unfolds an amalgam of black pepper, Asian spices and earthy complexities. Full-bodied, the palate has rich, plump, bold and up-front flavours of sweetly ripe blackberries and black plums, along with boysenberries and liquorice, unveiling Asian spices and sweet oak. The palate has a succulent and opulent core supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure. The flavours blossom on the finish, growing in spiciness, decadence and opulence. This is a bold, up-front, succulently sweet and opulent Shiraz with ripe blackberry, plum and boysenberry fruit, and sweet oak on a finely structured palate, Match with roasted and grilled game meat over the next 7-10+ years. Fruit from the best blocks of the Taylors estate, fermented to 14.26% alc., the wine aged 20 months in 70% new American oak. 19.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $69.99

Taylors ‘St Andrews’ Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Very dark, deep, black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is very concentrated with intense and deeply penetrating aromas of ripe blackcurrants and cassis liqueur, along with a soft, harmonious layering of mint and fresh herbs and subtle suggestions of eucalyptus and menthol. The fruit is complexed by spicy, cedary and smoky oak providing lift and depth. Full-bodied, the palate has a sweetly rich, deeply concentrated and packed core of generous blackcurrant fruit flavours along with cassis and blackberries, unfolding mint herb and menthol nuances. He fruit is mouthfilling and underlined by considerable fine, grainy tannin structure and grip, with lacy acidity lending tension and energy. The wine carries positively, unveiling cedary, pencilly and smoky oak as it carries to a rich and sustained finish. This is a rich, lusciously concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon with blackcurrant, blackberry and cassis with mint and cedary, smoky oak on a well-structured palate. Serve with lamb, beef and venison over the next 10-12+ years. Fruit from the best blocks of the Taylors estate, fermented to 14.79% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 40% new French oak. 19.0-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $69.99

Taylors ‘The Pioneer’ Clare Valley Shiraz 2013
Full, even, black-red colour, near impenetrable, a little lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is softly packed with a core of ripe blackberry fruit along with black plums, liquorice and earth, with some tar. The aromatics bloom and are ethereal with real volume, unfolding subtle layers of exotic spices and sweet oak from the heart. The aromatics show power with finesse, and are expressed with immense harmony and integration. Full-bodied, the palate has an incredibly rich, smoothly packed and layered core of ripe blackberries, black plums and boysenberries entwined with earth and tar complexities, lifted by sweet, spicy and exotic oak. The flavours fill the mouth, showing opulence, exoticism and decadence, and are supported by plenty of fine-grained, powdery tannin providing great structure and presence. The flavours carry to a very long, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional finish. This is an incredibly rich and opulent Shiraz with exoticism, structure and presence with sensational ethereal oak finesse. Match with game meat and semi-hard cheeses over the next 15+ years. A barrel selection wine. Shiraz fruit fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 40% new American oak, and after selection, given a further 8 months barrel maturation. 20.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $169.99

Taylors ‘The Visionary’ Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Very dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with a suggestion of garnet. The nose is deeply packed and concentrated with very ripe aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries and cassis liqueur, beautifully and harmoniously integrated with ethereal noses of spice, herbs, and cedary, pencilly oak. The volume and detail are allied with complexing nuances, and the aromatics exude finesse. Full-bodied, the palate has a sweetly rich, deep and succulent core of ripe blackcurrant fruit with cassis and blackcurrants, melded with mint herbs and cedary, pencilly oak. The wine has strong linearity and the fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction providing a firm core and plenty of drive. The acidity lends freshness and tension, and the wine carries to a very long, sweet finish of blackcurrants, cassis and cedar. This is a wonderfully rich and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon with deep and sweet flavours of blackcurrant, blackberries , cassis and mint and exotic, cedary oak with plenty of structure, grip and length. Match with roasted lamb or beef over the next 12-15+ years. A barrel selection wine. Fruit from the best blocks including ‘A70’ on the ‘St Andrews’ vineyard and old vine fruit from ‘Wakefield’, fermented to 14.4% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 40% new French oak, and after selection, given a further 6 months barrel maturation. 19.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $169.99
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