Tag: Brown Brothers

Nov 11 2010

Australian Tempranillo: Coming into its Own!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

My husband had the good fortune to attend the NSW Wine Awards Dinner at Guillaume at Bennelong in October. He came back raving about the Mount Majura Vineyard 2009 Tempranillo (Canberra District), which was among the top 40 best wines of the show.

Mount Majura produced its first vintage of tempranillo in 2003. Since then the wine has garnered so much acclaim that it has become the flagship variety of the winery!

Mount Majura’s Viticulturist and Winemaker Frank van de Loo very much believes that great wine is made in the vineyard, and the volcanic soils on limestone at Mount Majura are in fact quite similar to Artadi’s acclaimed Vina El Pison vineyard, which makes one of the most celebrated Rioja tempranillo wines in Spain.

The Canberra district is in many regards also climatically similar to Rioja and Ribero del Duero, where Spain’s finest tempranillos are made. As British wine critic Oz Clarke observes, “To get elegance and acidity of of Temparnillo, you need a cool climate. But to get high sugar levels and the thick skins that give deep colour you need heat.” Canberra delivers both in spades! (Experimental Grape Varieties in Australia, The Vintage School 2.4, Vintage Direct)

According to The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown, “the best young Tempranillos typically reveal plum, black cherry and blackberry flavours complemented by pepper and spices plus a uniquely earthy/savoury character that is not so dissimilar to great Pinot Noir.  The finest examples can age for twenty years or more.” (Tempranillo Temptations in Asia, eRobertParker.com, May 2009)

Her description of the best young tempranillos sounds remarkably similar to Nick Stock’s recent review of the Mount Majura Tempranillo 2009. “Smells of dark cherry, cassis and brambly berries and baking spices – this is one fine Tempranillo from the Canberra District. … Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

Climate Change and the Wine Industry

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

As recently reported in the press, leading Victorian winery Brown Brothers has acquired Tasmanian producer Tamar Ridge Estates. The reasons for the deal, as stated by Brown Brothers CEO Ross Brown,  highlight how commercial winemakers are now actively developing strategies to accommodate the effects of climate change.

“The Brown Brothers Board has been carefully considering how global warming may impact our vineyards through drought and high temperatures and recently adopted a strategy to source grapes from cooler areas,” Brown stated the company’s media release. Tasmania is fast developing an excellent reputation for pinot noir and sparkling wines in particular, and Brown acknowledges that “[Tamar Ridge] is a very sound business that ticks all our strategic objectives for growth in pinot and sparkling, and at the same time reduces the risk of drought and associated high temperatures and scarcity of water.”

Winemakers are not the only ones trying to assess the possible impact of climate change on future grape production. Dr Leanne Webb from CSIRO, and the University of Melbourne have spent years studying the effects of climate change on wine growing and what this will mean for the growers and consumers.

Climate change is throwing up three main challenges for wine growers: phenology changes, limited water access and rising temperatures. Phenology is the timing of biological events, like bud burst, and evidence suggests that earlier ripening of fruit and a narrower picking window are already occurring in places like the Hunter Valley.

Higher temperatures and the reduced availability to water, especially in inland growing regions which rely on irrigation, are by far the two biggest concerns for Australian winemakers. But according to Dr Webb, climate change actually varies regionally, with temperatures accelerating at a faster rate in the central parts of the country and a lesser rate in coastal … Read the rest