Playing a merry tune at Brookland Valley

MANY visitors to Margaret River will talk about Flutes or about the statue playing the flute, and often are more familiar with Pan the flute player than with Brookland Valley the winery.

The success of the Pan has taken owners Malcolm and Dee Jones a little by surprise and has prompted them to make label changes to the forthcoming Brookland Valley vintage.

It was during a spot of antique shopping while on a trip to Sydney in 1977 that Pan the statue was discovered. For many years Pan adorned the kitchen table, before being relocated to the garden and its present location at the entrance to Brookland Valley.

To set the record straight, Pan is the Greek God of the countryside and country people. He was also a bit of a lusty fellow and, after chasing a nymph called Syrinx into a strand of reeds, was somewhat disappointed to find himself clutching a handful of reeds instead of the desirable nymph. All was not lost and he soon became enchanted with the sounds of the wind blowing through reeds. He gathered a bunch of different lengths of these reeds and, to cut a long myth short, created the Pipes of Pan.

Malcolm and Dee Jones were drawn to the natural beauty of the Margaret River area and established Brookland Valley in 1983. The first vines were planted the following year.

It was to be a long-term project with an aim of producing quality wines with regional characters. Malcolm spent a great deal of time and money setting up the vineyard to take full advantage of the microclimates within the region. Brookland Valley’s use of viticulural management techniques in those formative years has proved to be worth all the initial effort

In 1997, BRL Hardy acquired a 50 per cent interest in Brookland Valley. Malcolm believes that, with the resources and shared passion, the team from BRL Hardy (and in particular the team from Houghtons) enabled the wines of Brookland Valley to move closer to his original vision.

Such is Malcolm’s passion that, together with Houghtons winemaker Larry Cherubino, he has introduced regular growers’ meetings and tastings. It is their aim to highlight exactly what is expected from the growers and to involve the growers as much as possible in the product that all are looking to achieve. This is beginning to show through into the quality of the Verse One range of regional Margaret River wines.

Expect some very exciting wines out of the Brookland Valley portfolio over the next year or so, there is some fantastic fruit that I have tasted in both barrel and in bottle resting before release.

Brookland Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2000 rrp $23.99 rating 16.5/20

Youthful looking wine, with ripe passionfruit and touches of nectarine and guava aromas. The sauvignon blanc wines from Brookland Valley in general display very distinctive Margaret River varietal characters. Pungent aromas and rich fruit weight with integrated acidity combine to show this wine in a very favourable light. A fantastic wine to enjoy while watching the world go by as you tuck into a few freshly shucked oysters.

Brookland Valley Chardonnay 1999 rrp $29.99 rating 16.75/20

This wine has plenty of enticing aromas that are predominantly in the citrus spectrum. Lime, lemon and grapefruit aromas are backed with oak characters. The palate is rich yet the fruit is still quite tight and shows structured acidity and, although a little dominated by the oak, there are supporting fruit flavours that will integrate through the wine in time. The wine should see development over the next few years.

Brookland Valley Cabernet Merlot 1998 rrp $32.99 rating 17.25/20

There are some fantastic aromas leaping out of this wine. Ripe, recurring and briory fruits combine with mocha and a touch of tomato leaf characters. The palate shows plenty of fruit weight and structure. There are ripe, sweet red-berry fruits with soft rounded tannins and complementing acidity. The wine finishes with length and should continue to improve over the next four or five years.

Brookland Valley

Caves Road, Willyabrup

Margaret River 6284

Tasting hours 10am to 5pm daily


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