Wine review — Brown Brothers, Jacob’s Creek and Dal Zatto

Brown Brothers Patricia Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut 2005 $40–$50
Patricia comes from the cold Whitlands vineyard on a plateau above the southern end of Victoria’s King Valley. It’s cold enough to produce the intense but delicate flavours essential for top-end bubbly. Patricia 2005 is juicy and fresh but very delicate, with the varietal fruit flavour at the core and the patina of flavours derived from extended maturation on yeast lees way off in the background, as it ought to be. This is a class act, a mile ahead of many non-vintage Champagnes, and therefore worthy of the price. This vintage won the best-sparkling-wine trophy at the National Wine Show.

Jacob’s Creek

  • Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV Brut Cuvee $7.99–$12.99
  • Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2007 $14–$18

The Jacob’s Creek bubblies sit at the top of the quality heap in their price brackets. And because the big retailers chop the prices mercilessly to drive trade, what you pay can vary enormously. But even fully priced they offer very good value for money. Brut Cuvee delivers fresh, lively varietal fruit flavours and is as good as you’ll get for the money. Reserve, though, pushes quality to another level, reflecting the delicacy and purity of chardonnay and pinot noir from the cool Adelaide Hills. Maturation on yeast lees adds a textural richness to the delicate fruit flavours.

Dal Zotto King Valley

  • Pucino Prosecco NV $18.50
  • L’Immigrante Prosecco 2008 $36

For a lighter, more savoury sparkling experience try prosecco, either imported from Italy or one of the local versions. Prosecco’s Italian home is the Valdobbiadene district, near Conegliano in the Veneto region. The variety makes light, delicate aperitif-style sparkling wines, usually tank fermented (Charmat method) and served as young and fresh as possible. Otto Dal Zotto, born in Valdobbiadene, released his first Australian prosecco in 2004 and now offers two versions – the light, delicate, fresh, Charmat-made Pucino NV, with its rush of creamy bubbles; and, with finer bubbles, the more richly textured, but still delicate and fresh, L’Immigrante 2008 ($36).

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010