A stunning new Chardonnay release
With more than 20 years experience across some of Australia's premier winemaking regions, Smithbrook winemaker Ben Rector knows exactly what to look for in grape quality, no matter the climate.
But since finding his new home in Pemberton, he believes varietals suited to the cool-climate, high-altitude region are great cellaring wines, particularly Chardonnay.
"The Pemberton wines seem to hold their age really well, and there's no better exception than Chardonnay," he says.
Ben is an unabashed fan of Chardonnay and revels in the chance to make the variety in a state renowned for producing some of the world's best.
"Chardonnay is red-hot in WA right now, we just cannot get enough," Ben says.
"When there are so many amazing Chardonnays in the (Fogarty Wine Group) portfolio, it was important to consider making a style that stands out from the others, something that's a little unique.
"A lot of us just like a nice, creamy, full-bodied, soft chardonnay with the complexity of oak but not too much oak, and I feel like the 2020 Single Vineyard Chardonnay hits that brief: it's nice and ripe, we never have any issues getting the chardonnay ripe.
"The trick is probably picking the Chardonnay before it gets too ripe and while it's keeping a really fresh, crisp, acid structure and doesn't get too fat and blousey."
The next careful step for Ben is ensuring the wine is not too over-oaked.
"One extra barrel in a small batch like this could probably take it over the edge," Ben admits.
"I'm probably looking at about 25-30% new oak. We ferment the wine in the new barrels, with lots of lees stirring through our fermentation.
"By stirring the lees and getting the yeast lees into suspension, it helps contribute to the creaminess and complexity also on the palate."
Single Vineyard Range
The Smithbrook Single Vineyard range encompasses the unique microclimate and ancient topography that influences the estate's vineyard, with Ben crafting elegant and artisanal single varietal expressions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Merlot.
Earn 100 bonus points on your membership when purchasing any bottle from the Smithbrook Single Vineyard range.
“Hand-picked fruit from a single site, Gingin clone, whole-bunch pressed. Wild ferment in French oak, regular bâtonnage. Crushed almond, walnut, salted white peach and curry leaf. In the mouth the texture is creamy and fine. The acidity is coiled and the fruit intense. A lovely wine, especially for the price."
91 points, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
"It’s a joy to see this label thriving. This wine is packed with ripe Pinot characters from rhubarb to raspberry with a dusting of whole bunch spice and regional smoky notes. The palate is well calibrated to be plush and warming with precise fine tannins. Top Rated."
93 points, The West Australian Wine Guide 2023
“Hand-picked, crushed and de-stemmed into a small open fermenter, 4 weeks on skins. Special care to manage tannin extraction and promote fruit retention was an unqualified success. It's not full-bodied, but the flavours and wild forest fruits and red cherries come through well. And the price!”
94 points, Halliday Wine Companion 2021
"Deep ruby with a purple tint at the rim. Nose lifts with ripe blood plum and graphite aromas. Palate fills with ripe plums, leafy hints and a dark slate minerality that adds interest to the flow. Tannins are fine-grained to caress and drive it long. Very good value here."
91 points, The Real Review 2022
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