WA wine clearly among Australia’s finest – John Jens


Houghton winemaker Ross Pamment.
Houghton winemaker Ross Pamment.

THE tiny WA red Bordeaux varietal crop has totally dominated the best of varietal trophies on the seven capital city wine show circuit since 2009.

There are two relevant questions here.

Firstly, do the east coast wine writers give due credence to the west’s cabernets and secondly, are the wines worthy of these results?

Since 2009, WA’s 4 per cent of Australia’s red Bordeaux varietal fruit has been awarded 30 of the 48 relevant varietal trophies.

With the exception of James Halliday, none of the national reviewers have mirrored these results.

Note that the Australian show system is both masked and involves the finest palates in the country.

Halliday is WA wine’s greatest national supporter and in his Australian Wine Companion 2015 edition, 16 of his highest ranked 25 red Bordeaux varietals came from here in the west.

In the latest 2016 edition, the west gained seven of the nine pointed cabernet/red Bordeaux varietals at 98 points or above; Halliday’s ratings seem reasonably consistent with the masked capital wine show results.

The Cullen Diana Madeline (19.1 points) and the Houghton Gladstones (19) were the pick of the 2010 vintage releases, with the Wynns John Riddoch and the Cape Mentelle both on 18.9 points.

The 2011 vintage evaluation saw an extraordinary seven out of the 10 wines scoring 18.8 points or above.

The final five wines were probably my highest scoring Australian bracket ever.

The Leeuwin Estate Art Series (19.1) was the room’s selection, almost inseparable from the Cape Mentelle and Houghton Jack Mann (at 19).

The Cherubino Frankland River and Houghton Gladstones were within 0.1 of a point; again, virtually inseparable.

The summary is that the west is clearly producing Australia’s finest cabernets, and the Houghton Wine Company, which gained three of the seven highest ranked wines, is again producing many of Australia’s greatest cabernets.