The flagship wines from House of Arras, Houghton, Grant Burge, St Hallett and Hardys made up the tantalising selection of prestige wines from Accolade Fine Wines, that were showcased at its second Pre-Release Introduction tasting. Part of Accolade’s Global Vintage Release Programme for 2021, the tasting allows key buyers and selected press to assess and confirm their allocation ahead of the release of the wines later in the year. Roger Jones, our retired Michelin Star Chef and Aussie wine lover tastes through the full portfolio.
“The portfolio includes some of the best wineries in Australia, with a wealth of history and expertise, including in my estimation the finest Sparkling Wine producer in the world – House of Arras in Tasmania – under the guidance of Ed Carr,” writes Jones.
The Accolade Fine Wines portfolio tasting was led by Nigel Sneyd MW (global wine director for Accolade) together with Toby Spiers (head of Accolade Fine Wines Europe).
Brut Elite 1601, Tasmania
This Non Vintage is mostly based on the 2016 vintage. Green apple and lemon curd, fresh with white stone fruit and jasmine, sea fresh and a hint of lychee, fresh and vibrant. RRP £29.99
Grand Vintage 2013, Tasmania
One of my favourite sparkling wines – a jump in vintages straight from 2009 to 2013. Perfect balance and intensity, an enticing mouthful of excellent refined bubbles. Lemon curd, berries and cream, white truffles, miso, toasted brioche, beautiful wine. RRP £49.99
Australia’s third-oldest operating vineyard, which celebrates its 185th anniversary this year, hit the big time when Jack Mann their winemaker in 1937 established HWB, or more universally known as Houghton White Burgundy. Today the legendary Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon waves the flag for Jack’s involvement in establishing such a legacy.
Today the winery is under the guidance of Courtney Treacher, who has been the senior winemaker since 2020, having been at the estate since 2005.
Houghton C W Ferguson, Frankland River, 2019 (Cabernet Sauvignon/ Malbec)
Savoury tannins, ripe rich purple fruits, savoury and spiced, coffee beans, mocha, cherries, violets, touch of soft coconut, creamy, elegant, very fine and drinking well, but will evolve beautifully. Restrained balanced and refined. RRP £24.99
Houghton Gladstones Margaret River 2019 (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Named in honour of the renowned viticulturist, Dr John Gladstones, the government advisor who was instrumental in encouraging and establishing Margaret River’s fine Cabernet vineyards. Inky dark, earthy on first approach, could easily be mistaken for Leoville Barton, cassis, leather, tobacco, mint, restrained cocoa, cedar wood, spiced, clean focused flavour, blackcurrants, fresh acidity. A wine that evolves beautifully in the glass – decant or follow its evolution over the next decade. RRP £49.99
Houghton Jack Mann, Frankland River, 2019 (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Sourced from the Justin Vineyard in Frankland River, this has a serious appeal, with a hint of age on the first approach, tobacco, plummy, black fruited, layered and complex, salted caramel from the oak, secondary flavours of bilberries, blueberries, yeasty. Definitely a wine to age for decades, to allow it to evolve. RRP £79.99
Balthasar Shiraz, Eden Valley, 2019
Coconut and polished on the nose, then a luscious fruit hit on the palate, balanced with dried herbs, bay leaf, sweet black fruit, gripping red fruit, concentrated, then a mix of cocoa bean and spice, cinnamon and bark. Evolves in the mouth with a clean blackcurrant finish balanced with a clean earthiness. RRP £24.99
Holy Trinity Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, 2019
Luscious from the start – vanilla, blackberries, raspberries, meringue, delicately soothing, lingering but clean. Then evolves with a plummy crumble with Christmas spices, fresh acidity, then wave after wave of evolving flavours. RRP £25.99
Filsell Old Vine Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2019
Inky, focused, bilberries, precise, lovely intensity balanced with fresh acidity, leaves a perfumed aftertaste, lovely intensity and concentration. Drinking well now but, of course, will develop. RRP £25.99
Corryton Park Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, 2019
Rhubarb and plum crumble, spices, savoury and spiced, rich and luscious, damsons and texture. Love the concentration of small berries that dance on the palate, soft tannins and lingers an age. Decant or keep a year or so. RRP £29.99
Nebu Cabernet Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2018
Delicate and refined, velvety with delicate tannins, deep intensity of precise dark/red berry clusters, juicy and relaxed. There is cedar and vanilla, delicate spices – this is for the long term – refined excellence. RRP £59.99
Abednego Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, 2018
Dark cherries, savoury, and some farmyard in the background, a nod to the Rhône and old-style GSM; inky, saline, sweet-fruited and fleshy. RRP £59.99
Higher Earth Syrah, Eden Valley, 2019
Savoury spiced on the nose, restrained and refined on the palate: bilberries, wild herbs, velvety, perfumed, with a rosemary cedar background balanced with luscious fruit. Dark, black fruits on the finish, layered, concentrated and textured. RRP £28.99
Blackwell Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2019
Black cherries, chocolate and red plums, powerful and concentrated, a touch of eucalyptus, deep intensity, old style Shiraz with plenty of character. RRP £28.99
Mighty Ox Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2019
Wow what a stunning wine! Violets, vanilla, raspberry ripple ice cream, seductive, lingering, fresh, buoyant, on the mid-palate there is cocoa, dark berries – real purity and exciting. RRP £129.99 (magnum)
Eileen Hardy Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2018
Savoury and restrained, on the dark side with dark berries, focused, cedar, a touch of coconut, tannins still at the fore but evolving into a fabulous Shiraz. Really interesting wine with complexity, purity, savoury and fruit all in balance. RRP £48.99
Thomas Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra/Margaret River, 2017
Bright fresh and clean, beautifully poised, focused; blackberry and blueberries with aromatic spices. This will only get better. RRP £49.99
Eileen Hardy Chardonnay, Yarra Valley/Margaret River, 2019
Fresh, textured, clean, delicate stone fruit, mellow, soft spices, lingering long finish, quince and a touch of tropical fruits, beeswax, honey and lemon curd. Decant or age for a year or two. RRP £48.99