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JOHN ROZENTALS looks at the legacy of one of the Australian wine industry’s greatest .. and longest serving.

March 23, 2020 Beverage No Comments Email Email

Jack Mann, a truly legendary Australian winemaker, would have turned 114 this month (March 19) and, to celebrate, his former employer has launched the Houghton 2017 Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon, the seventeenth release of its flagship wine.

He produced an incredible 51 consecutive vintages and Jack’s winemaking passion, creative genius and influence extended far beyond Houghton’s winery walls in Western Australia and the Australian wine industry.

Current Houghton Senior Winemaker Ross Pamment — who has been with Houghton for over 20 years, 10 of which he has held his current title — continues in the footsteps of Jack Mann, honouring his predecessor’s significant contribution to the Australian wine industry.

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

“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 amongst Western Australia’s finest vineyards. This wine is the pinnacle of a Houghton vintage and an absolute privilege to craft as a winemaker.”

Mann mainly worked for Houghton when it was based in the Swan Valley, and created such historic drops as its famous White Burgundy, known these days as White Classic but then typically made from an unfashionable — these days anyway — blend including chenin blanc.

His son, Dorham Mann, has continued the family’s Western Australian winemaking tradition and runs Mann Winery in the Swan Valley.

Another son, the late Tony Mann, played Test cricket for Australia and scored a century against India as night watchman.

WINE REVIEWS

Natural Wine Co 2019 Chardonnay ($15): Don’t drink this unless you like lemon-acid bombs. It definitely offers pleny in the way of acidity. The lack of sulphur become obvious as the wine tends to oxidise in the glass and develop a characteristic appley aroma, and it will certainly cut through the creamiest pasta sauce. I think I’d prefer it, though, with fresh oysters. Just forget about the squeeze of lemon.

Natural Wine Co 2019 Shiraz ($15): This juicy dry red has oodles of age on its side. Perhaps the lack of protectve sulphur dioxide demands youth. But I really like it. It has plenty of plummy flavour and goes well with a slice or two of good, meaty pizza. Anyway, enjoy it young with simple food and don’t think too hard about the food or wine..

WINE OF THE WEEK

Houghton 2017 Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon ($175): This wine has enough class to almost convert a committed shiraz man. It’s rich, it’s intense, it’s powerful … but it’s just the wrong variety to win over this palate. Oh, and the tannins and oak are excellent, and I’m sure that it will live a couple of decades or more in the cellar if you have the patience and lifespan. I have neither. If you’re like me, scrape together the loose change and buy some good steak — good lamb fillets are just too expensive, even for this red — but just don’t overcook it.

Written by JOHN ROZENTALS

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