Houghton winery and vineyard are integral parts of the story of viticulture in Western Australia and reflect the beginning of the tradition of Swan Valley wine making. The property was established by a trio of British army officers in 1836 who purchased a large land holding in the Swan Valley and it was named after the senior officer – Lieutenant Colonel Richmond Houghton. Another of the officers, Thomas Yule, oversaw the planting of the first grape vines. Since that time the vineyard has been expanded and the winery has seen many famous winemakers produce some classic Swan Valley wines. I was fortunate to taste this quartet of magnificent wines that reflect the best that WA has to offer from our unique viticultural and winemaking heritage. All these wines are strongly recommended and will reward further cellaring for that special occasion.
2016 C.W. Ferguson Cabernet Malbec
The Iconic series of red wines reflect the breadth and quality of the vineyards in WA. The C.W. Ferguson Cabernet Malbec has fruit sourced from Frankland River, hand-picked and crushed into open fermenters and with a wild yeast ferment. Aged in French oak for 16 months and then the best barrels blended for the final wine. It’s a deep red and purple with cigar box and ripe berry aromas. The palate is full of balanced fruit, savoury, mocha and spice characters with gentle tannins. This is an awesome example of the cool climate Frankland River red wines.
2016 Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2016 Jack Mann is a limited release wine of extraordinary quality. Made from a single vineyard in Frankland River it is hand harvested from 47-year-old vines. In the glass, the wine is a smouldering intense red with notes of aged berries, oak and spice. An amazing palate of rich fruit depth, plummy characters, mocha and a soft, long profile. An excellent wine respecting the masterful winemaking of Jack Mann and his legacy in our state.
2016 Gladstones Cabernet Sauvignon
Travelling to Margaret River, the 2016 Gladstones Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a single vineyard in Wilyabrup from 25-year-old dry grown vines and is a testament to the foresight of Dr John Gladstones in predicting the quality of wines that would eventually come from this region. Another intense wine with a deep crimson colour, aromas of spice, eucalyptus and vanilla. The use of barriques has given the fruit a chance to shine through the delicate tannins. Although without the depth of the Frankland River wines, it is an elegant wine with great balance.
2013 Thomas Yule Frankland River Shiraz
Lastly, the Thomas Yule 2013 Frankland River Shiraz is another hand-crafted wine made with respect to the almost 50-year-old vines. A combination of French oak barriques and puncheons have ensured that the intense shiraz fruit characters shine through. A deep purple wine with amazing spicy, plummy characters with hints of liquorice. A medium-bodied style with a long fruit driven palate and soft, gentle tannins – a wine with a lot left to give with further cellaring.