By Fergal Gleeson
One of the strengths of Howard Park Wines is their ownership of high quality vineyards in both Great Southern and Margaret River.
The Scotsdale (Great Southern) and Leston (Margaret River) labels are highly regarded by wine lovers and form the ‘Distinguished Sites’ range designed to allow drinkers to enjoy the differences in terroir when all the other inputs are the same.
Scotsdale 2017 Great Southern Shiraz
Great Southern arguably holds a higher reputation for Shiraz than Margs and Scotsdale Shiraz 2017 comes from the sub regions of Mount Barker and Frankland River. Pretty and aromatic with lifted violets and plums.
There is density and power as you’d expect from premium Great Southern Shiraz with some light webbed tannins on the finish. Also completely different because of cooler climate than South Australian Shiraz.
RRP $50. Rating 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Scotsdale 2017 Great Southern Cabernet Sauvignon
Scotsdale Cabernet 2017 is a humdinger! Lots of bright red, luscious fruit runs like a river through it. There’s less of the leafy, classic cigar notes found in Margaret River Cabernet.
Also much more enjoyable for drinking now than many premium 2017 Margaret River Cabs which will need a few years.
Vigneron Jeff Burch notes that he has been ‘accused of making Cabernet for Pinot drinkers’. Taste the 2017 and you’ll see that that shouldn’t be considered a criticism! The varietal flavours are there but tannins are tempered in a wine that’s so appealing.
RRP $50. Rating 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Both Scotsdales will morph into something more savoury over time. They will amble through 10 years in the cellar effortlessly.
Leston 2017 Margaret River Shiraz
Howard Park Wines Leston Cabernet and Shiraz are well established labels in Australian wine, now on their 20th release.
They are the Margaret River siblings of the Howard Park Scotsdale range. Always interesting to compare the differences in wine from the two regions when the wine making inputs are similar.
2017 Leston Shiraz is full bodied, fresh and spicy. The smooth, earthy tannins give the wine a lovely savoury completeness. McDonald has nursed a bright and glossy wine from a cool vintage.
RRP $50 Rating 4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Leston 2017 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Leston Cabernet is a rich Cabernet with dark, nicely ripened fruit. Tobacco leaf, leather and lots of other sophisticated Cabernet flavours pulsate in the background. It is more classical than the hedonistic Scotsdale. As is the house style Howard Park make smooth Cabernet that can be enjoyed now or later. They’re pretty special!
RRP $50. Ratings 4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
One of the markers of an exceptional wine is how it evolves as you drink. Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 illustrates this. Sometimes you note the freshness, then the fine grip of tannins, then the floral, pretty fruit and so on it goes.
Howard Park consider Abercrombie to be the expression of who they are and where they’ve been. This is because Cabernet was their founding wine.
The fruit is sourced in equal parts from the Leston Vineyard in Margaret River and Abercrombie Vineyard in Great Southern, the two regions that they call home.
Janice McDonald Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year 2018 notes that “Cabernet is about the tannins and the ripeness thereof”.
She gets it just right here as Abercrombie 2017 is drinking beautifully now and is more appealing in its youth than some top shelf 2017 Margaret River Cabernets. Her palate and the ability to blend the best of both regions are the reasons.
However if you want to cellar for 20 years, the density is there to do so. Benchmark Australian Cabernet.
RRP $150. Rating 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐