International focus at Fermoy

IT has been a number of years since I have tasted through the wines of Fermoy Estate. It seemed the winery suffered from a period of hibernation for a few years and only recently has awoken and begun to stir in the local market.

In reality, Fermoy has been as active as ever during the past few years, perhaps concentrating more on the eastern states restaurant market and the export market, particularly Europe.

Winemaker Michael Kelly said Fermoy had just sent its 14th container into Europe and another to the United Kingdom, its first. Despite its international presence, however, Fermoy has been fairly quiet on the local scene since picking up the SGIO award for best semillon and best overall wine in 1996.

Fermoy Estate is situated on the opposite side of the road to the Sandalford vineyards in Margaret River, next to Moss Wood, so you’d have to assume original owner John Anderson was on to something when he planted Fermoy’s first vines in 1985. In fact, many of the original cuttings planted came from neighbours Moss Wood, Evans and Tate and Pierro.

After completing a wine science degree and spending some time at Mount Mary, Leeuwin Estate, Sandalford and in Burgundy making wine, Michael Kelly joined Fermoy in 1987.

In 1999, Swiss businessman Hans Hulsbergen was looking for a property to invest in and had heard that Fermoy Estate was ‘on the market’. Michael said that Hans apparently had made up his mind before he had even left the winery on his first visit. Hans took full control of the winery and has been instrumental in opening up European markets for Fermoy wines. Hans has interests in wineries in Tuscany and Switzerland, but also runs a successful wholesaling and liquor store business.

I think you could say he has covered all the bases.

Fermoy has two ranges of wine, not two labels, Michael tells me. The first label is recognised under the names Sentinel for the white wines and Navigator for the reds, which originally was developed for the export market. The other label is the Estate label.

Fermoy Estate Sentinel Verdelho 2001 rrp $19.00 rating 17/20

Slight spice entwined with the ripe tropical fruit aromas. This wine has a very sound palate structure, citrus lemon and pineapple, grapefruit and nectarine characters with good acidity and length of palate. You will see this wine develop in the bottle over the next few months and it will make for perfect summer drinking.

Fermoy Estate Sentinel Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2000 rrp $19.00 rating 16.5/20

This has not been produced to the standards most are used to seeing from Margaret River. It doesn’t have the pungent and explosive fruit usual for this style of wine out of the region. Having said that, this wine displays clean fruit with mineral, citrus and grapefruit flavours that are backed up with integrated acidity and a little spice on the back palate. The 30 per cent semillon component of this wine sees between four and six months in oak and shows some complexity because of it. I don’t like saying it, but this wine is made to consume with food. Enjoy.

Fermoy Estate Semillon 2000 rrp $24.00 rating 17.25/20

Coming from 15-year old vines, this is not far from the benchmark Fermoy wine. The restrained nose showed fig, blossom and broad bean characters. There was some attractiveness coming through with secondary lees characters that hinted at some complexity on the palate. Viscous, ripe fruit with hints of cashew nuts, there was a degree of roundness to the fruit on the palate and it was packed full of flavour with plenty of length. It is interesting to note that Fermoy insists on at least six months bottle age before release.

Fermoy Estate Navigator Shiraz 1999 rrp $26.00 rating 16.75/20

This wine has spicy, funky aromas with some chocolate and briary characters. The palate shows ripe flavours with briary, savory blackcurrant flavours. There is plenty of generosity to the fruit with a whole gamut of flavours. There is integration of the acidity and tannins with a spicy finish and a degree of length.

Fermoy Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon rrp $40.00 rating 17.5/20

There is no need to drink this in a hurry, another 10 years will still see this wine singing. Tobacco leaf, cigar box and red fruit aromas dominate this wine. The structured and elegant palate shows recurrent fruits with raspberry and touches of pastel fruits in the background. Talcum powder-like tannins with attractive acidity. Classy oak use is shown throughout this wine and the finish is long and a delight.

Fermoy Estate

Metricup Road, Willyabrup

Cellar door sales daily 11am – 4.30pm

Telephone 08 9755 6285


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