05/04/2005 - 22:00

Vintage 2005

05/04/2005 - 22:00

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The 2005 vintage will be remembered as one of the warmest vintages ever in the Great Southern, according to Ferngrove Vineyards winemaker Kim Horton.

Vintage 2005

The 2005 vintage will be remembered as one of the warmest vintages ever in the Great Southern, according to Ferngrove Vineyards winemaker Kim Horton.

The lead up to the season was dominated by a very dry spring, but annual rainfall is down by between 10 and 20 per cent depending on what part of the region you analyse.

“Most importantly the total amount of heat is up,” Mr Horton says. “It is hotter than the 2001 season and the warmest I can remember for many years.”

Up until last week that is.

Speaking during a heavy downpour of early April rain, Mr Horton told Gusto that while he is extremely happy with the season so far, he is most thankful to have picked all of Ferngrove’s white varieties before the rain came.

“We’ve got 90mm of rain just recently, but I’ve heard of some producers in the Great Southern getting as much as 170mm.”

The rain will be a problem for anyone who still has whites to pick. White grapes have thinner skins and more tightly fixed bunches, meaning that if moisture penetrates, they are at greater risk of botrytis and infection.

Thankfully that’s not a problem for Mr Horton, who says the whites are showing early promise. Of those already picked, the 2005 chardonnay has an intense spectrum running from fig and melon through to lemon. And the sauvignon blanc, Mr Horton says, “has superb richness on the palate”.

“It is looking very aromatic and showing grassy and passionfruit flavours, which we are very pleased about,” he says.

While late rain is a curse for whites, it is no problem for the reds. In fact a bit of rain is desirable, Mr Horton says.

“Because of the heat, sugar levels in the reds have risen. This is not necessarily flavour ripeness, just high sugar concentration. The late rain will help and give them the time they need to balance out.”

During this vintage period winemakers like Mr Horton will go back into the vineyard and test all the red varieties after the rain.

At Ferngrove, the cabernet, shiraz and merlot will be monitored for the next three to four weeks before more than 2,500 tonnes of red fruit will join 5,300 tonnes of white grapes already picked.

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