Pat's Palette for Success

Two Thousand and Eighteen is set to be a memorable year for Patrick Carmody.

Not only are the Melbourne Football Club looking optimistic for the AFL finals after a narrow miss last season but Pat, his wife Dianne and their three Border Collie – Coco, Bessie and Rowdy – will be celebrating the 40th vintage of their second generation family farm, Craiglee Vineyards.

  Photos by Jill Haapaniemi

Photos by Jill Haapaniemi

Situated on the outskirts of Sunbury, the property is just 40 minutes from inner city Melbourne and conveniently up the road from Tullamarine Airport. Convenient as next on Pat’s list of production regions to visit is New Zealand. But before he heads across the ditch to test the kiwi Syrah the rest of the year is looking mighty eventful.

On the eve of August the 22nd, guests of Regatta, will join Pat and Executive Chef Logan Campbell on a gastronomic journey over five courses. With each meal lucky attendees will be asked to compare two wines from two separate Craiglee vintages in a bid to taste how the wine is affected by the food.

  Photos by Jill Haapaniemi

Photos by Jill Haapaniemi

This may sound like a fairly elite affair but when asked to explain the science of pairing the right grape with the right bite to those traditionally interested in wine only as a means to get merry, Pat said the equation was really quite simple. The food enhances the flavours of the drop – red with red meat and white with other proteins. With a degree in agriculture and wine science plus four decades of experience, Pat knows what he is on about.

While taste preferences are subjective, when it comes to wine there are some characteristics that can be quantified. These include flavour profiles such as bitterness (wine-tannins), sweetness (residual sugar) or sourness (acidity); all of which can be manipulated and complimented by the meals they accompany.

But Pat never gets too carried away with the flowery language used to describe wine – he’s a fairly pragmatic guy. He knows when the balance is right based on its taste and never leaves the house without his ute keys.

It’s lucky Pat has a knack for simplifying the complex too as, according to him, basically “everything” about being a winemaker is challenging. Crucial decisions must be made daily, like when to pick the grapes or how the wine will be aged. But his ability to think methodically doesn’t denote a lack in motivation or creativity. Pat’s long-term goal is to create a wine that will live for 100 years. Too bad humans can’t live that long.

Although the land never sleeps, good winemakers still need time to pursue their other passions as well. If you don’t catch Pat at the Regatta’s wine dinner this month you can always spot him at the MCG. Here’s to hoping the Demons are as cohesive and domineering as Craiglee wines this season.

  Photo by Jill Haapaniemi

Photo by Jill Haapaniemi

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