125 Larcombes Rd Modewarre Victoria 3240
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From Ten Dark Horses 2013
For the first time, this year’s wineries come from ten different regions. A primary qualification was the first time recognition of five stars, although in many instances, the producers have been knocking at the door with 4.5 stars for some years. In many instances the wines are attractively priced.
Brown Magpie Wines, Geelong, Vic
Shane and Loretta Breheny planted their 9ha vineyard over 2001-02, astutely choosing pinot noir, pinot gris and shiraz, all three producing first-class wines at very attractive prices. Loretta looks after the vineyard, and Shane (with help from Chris Sargeant) the winemaking. High quality Pinot and Shiraz are no surprise, but compelling Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are.
Brown Magpie Geelong Pinot Noir 2005 $22
This comparative newcomer, located near the Princes Highway a little to the southwest of Geelong, was established by Shane and Loretta Breheny in 1998. It’s a significant achievement to hit this quality, especially at such a modest (for pinot noir) price, in less than a decade. And it’s a bonus for drinkers that we can still buy the wine four years after vintage. It flicks most of the right pinot switches for fragrance, range of pinot varietal characters, structure and drinkability. I’d love to see this against Curly Flat’s Williams Crossing from Macedon, my top-rated budget pinot to date.
Victoria's Surf Coast -The Grape Ocean Road
The small cellar door at nearby Brown Magpie Wines is, by contrast, purpose-built, modern and open regularly. With just a handful of vintages under their belts, corporate refugees Shane and Loretta Breheny’s vineyard and winery has established itself as one of the burgeoning region’s best; producing earthy, delicate and supple pinot noir, spicy and elegant shiraz and, more recently, ripe, honeyed, dusky pinot gris.
A Magpie Sleeper
An often used adjective in describing wines - particularly on an international stage - is that of a 'sleeper' or specifically, a wine that obtains unexpected recognition or success and as an extension of that, at a much lower than expected price.
It probably goes without saying, given the temperamental nature of the variety, that there aren't too many Pinot Noir 'sleepers' in the market place. We reckon we uncovered one when we introduced the Brown Magpie Pinot Noir from Geelong into the fold a few years ago
The 2004 picking up a Trophy for Best Pinot Noir at its native Geelong Wine Show among other accolades. The follow up 2005 showed it was no fluke taking a Gold Medal at the WineWise Small Vigneron Awards, the publication describing it as "remarkable wine at this price. Excellent value. Outstanding" and scribe Chris Shanahan calling it "my top-rated budget pinot to date". It would be interesting to see how long they could maintain the quality at the modest $24 retail price.
The Brown Magpie Geelong Pinot Noir 2006 is the one to test the theory and it has passed with flying colours. It has also won a Gold Medal at the Geelong Wine, relevant given the strength of the class and being one of only 3 (of 44 wines) to achieve that status.
In the Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide 2009, Nick Stock has it at 91 Points and "one of Australia’s best-value wines $25 and under". For good measure, James Halliday has it at 90 Points and our price drops below the magical twenty dollar barrier.
I wasn't quite sure what to make of this when I opened it. It was darker than expected, riper than expected and wasn't showing oodles of Pinosity - but I loved it. As it warmed, it showed trademark pinot cherry and raspberry flavour but had impeccable balancing acidity and a long, savoury finish.
It pushes the envelope for what Pinotphiles would expect as there is nothing subtle about it but that is exactly what all other red drinkers will appreciate about this. Brilliant value at a tick under twenty and a big recommendation to those that don't generally 'get' Pinot. An Excellent wine ready to go now with a few years age already on it. It is worth pointing out that the total make of this is 1200 cases which is tiny in the overall scheme of things, please be quick if keen! Drink: Now-2014; Quality: Excellent BW; WineStar© October 2010
Gold Medal - 2008 Geelong Wine Show - (Only 3 of 44 Wines awarded Gold)
A juicy approachable pinot with direct fruit characters dried spiced cheery and some earthy notes too. Oak is of little importance, this is all about fruit. Lively juicy cherry and raspberry fruit palate, acidity lifts it high; tannins are soft and supportive, leaving a musky trial. A great every day pinot; 91 Points; One of Australia’s best-value wines $25.00 and under; Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide 2009; Nick Stock
Dense colour; a very rich and plush wine; remarkably, not obviously extractive, though it is very ripe. Rating 90 Points; Drink 2012 Release Price $24 Date Tasted Oct 07 James Halliday Wine Companion
The planning of Brown Magpie Wines started in 1998. Situated in Modewarre, which is just a stone’s throw from Moriac just a few kilometres from Geelong, it is in the hinterland of the Great Ocean Road. The property consists of 20 hectares on a gentle, north facing gentle slope: the cypress trees, planted on the western and southern borders, provide a warm, sheltered site. The name comes from the rare brown and white magpies that live on the site. Like the magpies, this pinot noir is unique. Handpicked, estate produced and aged in French oak barriques, this rich wine of garnet hue, with mocha and spiced maraschino cherry aromas, match the palate, with opulent velvet tannins.
Wine Star Journal