03/05/2005 - 22:00

Vintage 2005

03/05/2005 - 22:00

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If ever proof was needed that vintage can vary dramatically from sub-region to sub-region, Fonty’s Pool winemaker Mark Morton provided it when he gave Gusto an insight into Pemberton’s growing season.

If ever proof was needed that vintage can vary dramatically from sub-region to sub-region, Fonty’s Pool winemaker Mark Morton provided it when he gave Gusto an insight into Pemberton’s growing season.

Describing 2005 generally as “quite trying”, Mr Morton cites Pemberton’s heavy mid-vintage rainfall as the year’s most significant challenge.

“We were fortunate enough to make some good calls with picking, avoiding the worst of the rain,” he says.

Against the trend of other growing regions, Mr Morton says Pemberton’s rainfall totals increased from last year, and while many locations further south experienced a dry season, Pemberton stayed true to form with persistent late falls.

Mr Morton predicts the white varieties to outperform the rest.

“I would have to say the stand out varieties from this vintage would have to be the aromatic whites – verdelho, sauvignon blanc and semillon,” he says.

 “[The] whites are exceptional and the shiraz has some wonderfully ripe tannins that I am very excited about.”

But it is not only the proven formulas that have occupied Mr Morton’s attention this season. Among other projects, he is producing a premium marsanne for the first time.

A variety native to the Hermitage region in the Rhone Valley, the Fonty’s Pool version is blended with a touch of barrel fermented viognier and marks a new direction for the winery.

“We are also producing a straight verdelho for the first time [this year], which I am very excited about,” he says. “As for the reds, we have tackled a malbec for the first time, which has just gone to barrel.”

As with most Great Southern wine producers at this time, Mr Morton and his team are finishing pressing the last of the reds and progressing on to the ‘clean-up and recover’ stage of vintage.

And with most of the technically complex winemaking done, Mr Morton and his peers are trying to maximise the potential of their fruit. Thoughts also turn to preparing reds for barrel aging and getting the early drinking whites ready for bottle.

Mr Morton believes fans of Fonty’s Pool can look forward to great whites with “heaps of lift and sweet fruit”, and reds showing “ripe tannins and good depth of colour”.

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