Welcome to Smithbrook: Pemberton's Pioneering Estate
Pemberton Wine Region
With just 466 hectares of vines in total, Pemberton is a small up and coming wine region in Western Australia, hidden away amongst towering Karri forests and rolling valleys.
The region has long been known for its jaw-dropping natural beauty, rich history and a myriad of outdoor activities attracting visitors from around the world, and it is now being heralded as one of the country’s most exciting cool climate wine regions.
Pemberton is situated at a higher altitude than other nearby wine regions lending a lower annual temperature and longer ripening period before harvest.
The region is also influenced by ancient soils made up of red loam and gravely ironstone from three billion years of weathering of the world's most ancient rock formation – The Yilgarn. Fruit grown in this region reflects this ancient and distinctive terroir producing exquisite cool climate wines of high acclaim.
Smithbrook was born from the combined passions of two of Australia’s most highly regarded winemakers, Dr Bill Pannell and Brian Croser, who recognised the winemaking potential of the area very early on, in the late 1970s.
With the first vines planted on the 100-hectare property in the 1980s, this was one of the first established vineyards in the Pemberton region and Smithbrook is now highly regarded as one of Pemberton’s pioneering estates.
Smithbrook became part of the Fogarty Wine Group portfolio in 2010 and it continues to grow from strength to strength under the tutelage of Winemaker Ben Rector. Ben’s winemaking career spans the better part of three decades and his knowledge and passion for Pemberton and cool climate winemaking is unparalleled in Western Australia. Through his expertise, Smithbrook wines encompass the unique microclimate and ancient topography that influences the estate’s vineyard.
Offering a fruit-driven Estate Range that captures the heart of Smithbrook terroir, Ben also crafts elegant and artisanal single varietal expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo, which make up the Smithbrook Single Vineyard range.
These wines are often described as cool climate varietals due to the fact that their most pure and finessed expression occurs when grown in colder climates. Cooler regional temperatures allow these delicate grapes to ripen slowly, developing deep flavours whilst retaining crucial acidity. Due to this, cool climate varietals can often be described as fickle and careful vineyard management and winemaking must be taken to ensure optimum fruit ripening.
Single Vineyard Range
“Hand-picked Gingin fruit, whole-bunch pressed direct to French hogsheads for wild ferment. Regular lees stirring during and after ferment. $25 doesn't usually get you the whole 'hand picked, wild ferment, barrel maturation' gambit, but here it does. Fruit feels on the slim side initially, but this has texture and flavour and interest...” Halliday Wine Companion 2022
The most recent Smithbrook release, this wine is a bright and earthy expression of cool climate Pinot Noir. Singing with red berries, cherries and wild strawberries, there is also savoury forest floor character and stalky, bramble aromas from partial (20%) whole bunch fermentation.
“Hand-picked, crushed and destemmed 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!” Halliday Wine Companion 2021
“A plush, medium-bodied merlot. Red berry and fruitcake aromas with a little prune juice addition. The palate is soft, supported with fine tannins and understated vanillin oak. Rounded and fruit driven, ideal for current drinking.” The West Australian Wine Guide 2022