Monday, 2 March 2020

A red to celebrate one of the greats of the Australian wine industry

Jack Mann, who died in 1989, was one of the most influential winemakers in the history of wine in Australia - crafting a remarkable 51 consecutive vintages for Houghton between 1930 and 1972. 


The Houghton Jack Mann - a tribute to Mann's impact - was first released in 1994 and Houghton will unveil the latest vintage of its icon wine, Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, on March 19, which was the winemaker's birthday. 

I was privileged enough to be given a sneak peek - and the new release is an absolute ripper, worthy of playing the role of Houghton's icon cabernet.

Current Houghton senior winemaker Ross Pamment - who has been with the West Australian winery for over two decades, says he tries to continue in the footsteps of Jack Mann, honouring his predecessor’s  contribution to the Australian wine industry.

“It is quite unbelievable there have been only 13 winemakers in Houghton’s 180-year history, each continuing Houghton’s commitment to delivering wine of exceptional consistency and style," Pamment said. 

"The Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon is a truly special drop and a fitting tribute to Jack and his unrelenting search for the very best parcels of fruit among Western Australia’s finest vineyards. This wine is the pinnacle of a Houghton vintage and an absolute privilege to craft as a winemaker.” 

Regarded as one of Australia’s greatest cabernets, the Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon is only made in exceptional vintages and is sourced exclusively from the Justin Vineyard in the heart of the Frankland River region in Western Australia. 

The cabernet grapes for this wine are hand harvested from a small patch of 46-year-old vines - cuttings that were taken from the original vines that Jack Mann himself carefully selected many decades before.

The vineyard is characterised by its cool winters, warm summer days and cool summer nights, as well as its granite gravels that are some of the oldest in the world. 

“With near-perfect weather conditions, the 2017 vintage is a concentrated expression of
cabernet that integrates dense, firm-grained tannins with a fruit and oak full-bodied palate," says Pamment. 

"The result is a decadent wine with a dense bouquet of dark fruits and chocolate characters, along with a subtle overlay of bay leaf, tobacco and wild mint.”

My verdict: A rich and seductive cabernet with a panoply of dark flavours and a glorious softness on the finish. Deep, inky and with a beguiling mixture of power and elegance. One for a special occasion, or the cellar.
 
The 2017 Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon will be released on March 19 with an RRP of $175. It might be worth reserving a bottle or two. 

For more information on Houghton Wines, visit www.houghton-wines.com.au

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