Still in WA, we are now in Swan Valley, drinking a wine made in honor of the legendary Jack Mann. Jack Mann served Houghton for 51 consecutive vintages. His determination to create wines of intensity, elegance and regional character have inspired a generation of Australian winemakers to achieve great things. The Houghton Jack Mann is recognised under the Langton’s Distinguished classification and known to be one of Australia’s great Cabernet.

Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

This guy is a single vineyard wine from the Justin Vineyard at Frankland River. Running in at 14% alc and at $85 to $100 a bottle, one cannot go into this wine without high expectations especially following some of WA’s premier Cabernets in Cullen, Moss Wood and Vasse Felix. We aerated this into a decanter for about an 1.5 to 2 hours. Lets go.

The nose is of dried leafs, pencil shavings, maybe some tobacco leafs and some gum nuts. Very much reminds me of the dry Aussie outback. There is very little fruit and the sweetness comes from black fruits, milk duds and a roast vegetable type sweetness in the background.

The initial taste is quite mellow, balanced and a bit dusty. There are firm tannins and black olives. Initially there was also an odd cracked pepper and lime aspect which really wrecked the wine. At the second glass, perhaps after more air, this harsh sharpness dissipated and actually worked well with the tannins. The oak comes out in the mid palate adding some richness to the wine. The wine opens up a but more, showing some further complexity and red fruits, some chinese cabbage and violets. The finnish completes the wine well, very calm and restrained, not flashy at all. The acidity comes out here, think mushed strawberries with some wood chips, leaving a slightly dry mouth.

Overall, my initial impression of the wine was not great from the lime and crack pepper flavour. Afterwards, my impression changed and I think the wine became quite beautiful, very multi dimensional but not ready for drinking at this time. If you can sit on this wine for maybe another 5-7 years, it will become more polished, add more dimensions to the wine and hopefully with more time and air, you wont get the sharp unbalanced acid. The more you wait the better, it feels that this time is made more for cellering.

Now, does it gets Kenny’s stamp of approval? At this price range, I think no. I would spend my money on Moss Wood or Diana Madeline. I have a feeling that most of the people in the know who rate this wine has an emotional attachment to it and may be adding points for nostalgia. Please do not get me wrong, it’s a personal presence how I rate this wine, as it should be, but in terms of quality vs price, it if this say at $60 dollars, this tight ass would have bought every bottle in the state. It is that good (though I don’t think it’s as good as even the Vasse Felix though they are different wines). When you put the extra $20-$40 and compare it to its counterparts, it juuuuusssttt comes up short in my books.

Overall, a very impressive expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. Worthy of a special occasion.

Kenny

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