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John Charles Brown was the second winemaker at Brown Brothers and considered a legend of Australian wine receiving an OBE for his contribution to the wine industry. One of his favourite wines was the Shiraz Mondeuse and Cabernet, a wine that he first made in 1954. He chose to pick all three varieties at the same time and blend them together during fermentation giving a wine of considerable concentration, depth of flavour and aging capabilities. The wine lives on in the 2013 vintage and is still made utilising John Charles Brown’s methods.
Recommended food pairings: This richly flavoured red wine makes an inspirational accompaniment to full flavoured slow cooked dishes such as robust cassoulet, osso bucco, beef bourguignon or lamb shanks. Equally it would be magnificent with a whole fillet of venison roasted rare and served with crunchy roast vegetables.
Growing Conditions: Mondeuse hails from the south-east France, where it is renowned for its hardy nature, the generous crop it bears and the firm flavours, deep colour and longevity of the wines it produces. It was brought to Australia early last century by the noted viticulturist of the time, Francois de Castella, and has been grown by the Brown family since the 1920s. At Milawa it produces an inky, deep, tannic red wine when made as a single varietal. It needs the spice and sweet fruit of Shiraz and the elegance of Cabernet to transform it into the rich, flavoursome and complete wine that it is.
Winemaker: Cate Looney
Winemaking notes: This wine is still made via the method John C Brown pioneered in the 1950s where Shiraz is first placed into the tanks for fermentation, followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon and then the Mondeuse. This co-fermentation of varieties helps to integrate the flavours of the three and increases colour, flavour and tannin pickup during the process. This wine is made from a blend of 50% Shiraz, 25% Mondeuse, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon fruit sourced from our Milawa Vineyard. The fruit was harvested on the 15th of March 2013 at baumé levels ranging from 14.0º to 15.1º. Following fermentation the wine spent almost two years in 13% new American puncheons and barriques. The balance in one and two year old oak. It was bottled with an alcohol of 14.5% a pH of 3.53 and an acid level of 6.2g/L.
“Rich intense spicy complex fruit flavours. Notes of tar, pepper, fulsome oak structure, built for the long term.”
International Wine Challenge 2019 08/05/2019
“The BB crew call this a “signature and unique blend” and certainly an “SMC” is going to be just that, even more so as it is a co-ferment of all three varieties. (Mondeuse is quite a rarity in Australia, originating in France’s eastern Savoy region, planted at Brown Brothers’ Milawa vineyard more than a century ago, and existing in less than a dozen places around the country.) The first thing you notice here is a distinctive aromatic, somewhat in the same vein as you’d get in a shiraz viognier blend, a black fruit meets peach/apricot/meets an underlying charcoal character, all of which develops further with suggestions of licorice and sarsaparilla as you sip. How much of this is the impact of two years in 13% new American oak – the rest one and two year old barrels – is worth the curiosity as you engage the deeply set, fine tannins that wrap around this generous bag of lingering flavours. It’s big and bold and quite something in its authenticity.”
“This is Brown Brother’s flagship single vineyard wine, made from grapes grown at Milawa: 50% shiraz, 25% mondeuse and 25% cabernet co-fermented to produce a deeply hued, layered and complex red: brooding dark fruits: plum and black cherry compote laced with Christmas pud spice. Intense and rich, American oak tricks the palate into a smoothness and then – pow! – tannin grip and structure, whilst savoury leather and earthy notes hint at its age. The wine is super-spritely now though and has plenty of time to go. I would be drinking this with a fat-rich rib eye, BBQ’d on an open flame, yes sirree Bob.”
Melissa Moore - Merivale
“It pours a brilliant magenta and smells like fresh blackberries, aniseed powder, dried oregano and freshly turned earth. With time a decadent pheromone musky note evolves alongside graphite mountainside, spicy air-dried charcuterie and perfumed porcini mushrooms.
Despite the inky colour, firm tannins and 14.5% alcohol, it still sits surprisingly light on the palate, both concentrated and supple.
There is something both hedonistic and pure about this wine; delicacy dancing with earthy, sensual power. “
Nicole Bilson 01/03/2021
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