A Purple Patch

Patch Wines is the joint venture of Kirilly Gordon and Matt Talbot, who met and worked together in a Yarra Valley vineyard in those days before COVID-19, which I can barely remember now.

Kirilly’s been surrounded by vines and wine for decades, with degrees in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne and Wine Science from Charles Sturt University. She’s done vintages in France and Italy, has her own brand (Bowerbird Wines), has another gig as a fulltime winemaker, and also has two kids – busy lady!

Matt grew up in the Yarra Valley, working in vineyards while simultaneously studying for a Viticulture and Wine Production diploma. He then spent some time in hospitality in Melbourne and Sydney, then local and international wine sales, and currently works fulltime at Grapeworks, an equipment dealer for the wine, beer, cider and spirits trade.

They’re guided as much by intuition as by science, working with some top-notch growers to create wines that are “honest, well made, delicious and inspiring to drink”. I think they’ve definitely achieved their goals.

Bottles Patch Wines Marsanne LR

2022 Patch Wines Nagambie Marsanne – $30 – 92 points

Fruit from Mitchelton Vineyard. 1/3 direct pressed to tank, 1/3 on skins for 10 days & 1/3 in egg on skins for 12 days. Pressed and blended back together. Looking to add weight and texture with different skin times and fermentation vessels.

It’s very fragrant upon opening, presenting lemon, wax, orange peel, grass and a hint of lanolin with a touch of honey coming through after some air. It’s silky and waxy on the palate, and when consumed with food (I had gooey cheese), it’s salty and mouth-wateringly delicious.

Patch Gamay jpg

2022 Patch Wines Mornington Peninsula Gamay – $40 – 92 points

Fruit from Eldridge Estate. Hand picked, destemmed and whole-berry fermented. Pressed to old oak for malo and ageing. Bottled in September 2022 without any fining or filtration.

This is a very zippy rendition of Gamay that’s somewhat reminiscent of a Beaujolais nouveau with its playful fruitiness. It announces itself with notes of strawberry, raspberry and cherry, and lashings of confectionery, spice, earth and pepper. There’s some slight alcohol heat but it integrates well when the wine is paired with food, particularly something with some spice, like a curry or noodles.

Patch Barbera jpg

2022 Patch Wines King Valley Barbera – $30 – 92 points

Dal Zotto Vineyard. Whole-berry fermented and pressed just before dryness. 80% to old French oak and the rest to stainless tank. Bottled September 2022 without fining or filtration.

The Barbera opens with lots of fruit – strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherry – and there’s some pleasant spice, black pepper and a touch of green pepper in the background, plus a hint of stems. On the palate, the savouriness comes out to play, as well as its silky, smooth texture. Like its relatives in Piemonte, this Barbera is a great one to pair with food, particularly Italian dishes.

Patch Malbec jpg

2022 Patch Wines Yarra Valley Malbec – $35 – 93 points

Hand picked, destemmed and fermented to dryness. Pressed to old oak with a tiny amount of high-quality oak inserts used for a brief time, more for roundness and length than oak flavours.

This Malbec was a bit of a chameleon, first offering very perfumed red and black fruits – raspberry, strawberry, mulberry, blackcurrant – but after some time in the glass, it became much darker and richer on the palate, especially with food. It’s spicy and peppery with touches of graphite, and like the Barbera, it pairs well with food – I’d be keen to try it with a roast (either chicken, beef or lamb) or even a spicy Indian dish.

Patch Shed Red jpg

2022 Patch Wines Yarra Valley Shed Red – $30 – 94 points

Blend of Cabernet, Bogazkere, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot – Bordeaux-inspired blend with a Turkish twist. Blend changes year to year depending on what volume of fruit comes in to the winery. Shed Red was the wine that started the brand in 2020 as a COVID project. The resulting “mongrel” of a wine got a bit of interest so Patch was born and Shed Red will always be a part of the story. The Bogazkere always has big tannins which can be super aggressive, therefore in 2022 their skins weren’t pressed, to avoid these tannins competing with the other varieties. All five varieties were fermented and pressed to oak separately, then blended back prior to bottling.”

The Shed Red is a stonkingly nice wine, so vibrant, perfumed and absolutely full of life. It has a complex nose of red fruits – red cherry, raspberry, boysenberry, wild strawberry – with a high-toned, confectionery note to them, as well as some darker soy, earth and graphite tinges. The palate shows immense fruit sweetness – your tastebuds might even feel like there’s an abundance of sugar – although the wine (and finish) is dry, with a silky mouthfeel that makes you just want to swish the wine around and enjoy the flavours. A very enjoyable wine.

Patch PetitVerdot jpg

2022 Patch Wines Yarra Valley Petit Verdot – $35 – 95 points

Two rows in the vineyard which have to be worked hard (shoot thinning, fruit dropping) as the vines throw a heap of fruit. Probably the happiest little ferment we have every year. One of my favourites from the day it comes in until the day we bottle. One that always turns heads when we have it open on tasting.” 

I’ve left this wine until last in the list as it was my absolute favourite of the bunch. It has a deep and impenetrable purple colour and this concentration continues onto the nose and palate. The Petit Verdot begins with high-toned red and black fruits – strawberry, mulberry, raspberry, blackcurrant – but these fruits turn darker on the palate. There’s an abundance of spice – pepper, cooking spices – and a smidge of shoe polish, giving it a rich and rewarding scent. The mouthfeel is glorious – very silky – and there’s considerable acidity, so it’s quite vibrant, while the tannins aren’t overbearing. This is a wine you can just sit and sip by itself or have with food, preferably something robust. I very much look forward to the 2023 edition!



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