10/05/2005 - 22:00

Vintage 2005

10/05/2005 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Family owned and operated, Lenton Brae established itself on the back of its cabernet. But now, like so many other Margaret River producers, the winery is finding increased success through lighter, aromatic whites.

Vintage 2005

Family owned and operated, Lenton Brae established itself on the back of its cabernet. But now, like so many other Margaret River producers, the winery is finding increased success through lighter, aromatic whites.

Describing the season as “quite buoyant”, chief winemaker Edward Tomlinson labels 2005 a step up from last year.

“In terms of the ’03, which was probably the best show wine vintage we’ve seen for a while, I think this year will compare very well,” he says.

Mr Tomlinson’s predictions are based on a succession of cool February nights and uniform growing conditions, with many other growers in the region of a similar opinion.

Come June and July when the first of the early release whites hit retailers across the state, Margaret River’s new iconic blend, semillon sauvignon blanc, is expected to impress.

This year’s growing season was largely devoid of major heat spikes, which have adverse effects on lighter white varietals. And from sampling right throughout vintage, Mr Tomlinson expects these styles to stand out.

“I was bench-top blending some last week and I’m very encouraged with what we are seeing,” he says.

“It’s essentially a fruit-driven style but with savoury and complex characteristics coming through as well.”

The chardonnay has impressed across the spectrum, yet Mr Tomlinson believes the season will not be as uniformly represented in the reds.

In time, however, Margaret River stalwarts cabernet and merlot will express flattering growing conditions, he says.

Lenton Brae is only now beginning to emerge from self-imposed savage decreases in cropping levels.

“We had no choice to leave the situation as it was,” Mr Tomlinson says of his decision more than four years ago.

“We started at levels that would probably make other companies raise their eyebrows but now we are starting to see the benefits of our actions.”

By dropping his cropping levels, Mr Tomlinson joins many other local winemakers in taking an aggressive approach to current winemaking so as to gain a competitive edge.

Lenton Brae’s current release is the 2001 and the benefits to the quality of the wines will not be full evident until the 2004 vintage is released.

Mr Tomlinson says his focus is to make excellent wine first and worry about volumes later.

“We are lucky here because we don’t have accountants or managing directors to answer to when making the wine. I think this helps us make the best possible product,” he says.

In all, Lenton Brae has crushed more than 130 tonnes of fruit this season. But Mr Tomlinson strongly contends that the most important lesson in winemaking is consistency.

“It is so vital that the consumer can look at something and be able to say, ‘yes its delivering’.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options