Howard Park 2011 Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon, Western Australia

BURCH FAMILY WINES of Western Australia
Howard Park Wines 2011 Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon

Howard Park Wines is one of Western Australia’s leading boutique family owned wineries, responsible for brands Howard Park, MadFish and Marchand & Burch. They are also Western Australia’s largest boutique family-owned winery producing a range of handcrafted fine Australian wines from the state’s premier grape growing regions of Margaret River and the Great Southern.

I tasted three wines from Howard Park at an industry tasting promotion showcasing Australia’s First Families of Wine. I was not familiar with Howard Park prior to this event and I did not know what to expect before trying their wine. Needless to say I was very impressed and am now a huge fan. There is more information on Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) available at the end of this review.

From the Winery:
‘Abercrombie’ is the definitive Cabernet Sauvignon of Howard Park Wines. Since the first release in 1986, a multi-region five-vineyard Western Australian blend, this wine has been a true reflection of the best fruit chosen from a selection of the oldest vineyards in Western Australia’s Margaret River region and cool climate Mount Barker and Porongurup sub-regions of the Great Southern. Produced from the top 1% of available Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and then only in the years when grapes of extraordinarily high quality are available.

Named after Jeff Burch’s Great-Grandfather Walter Abercrombie, this Howard Park flagship Cabernet Sauvignon is noted for its outstanding structural complexity and exceptional elegance. It combines the austere dusty earth and blackcurrant aromas from Mount Barker, with the classic rich fruit and chocolaty palette of Margaret River. Together they produce an elegantly balanced cabernet sauvignon with mature ripe tannins backed up by quality French oak. Careful long term cellaring will realize this wine’s full potential.

In Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, the Abercrombie has an ‘Excellent’ rating, spanning back since Classification III in 2000.

Winemaking:
All grapes selected for Abercrombie are handpicked, destemmed and sorted before fermentation in a mix of small static fermenters and open stainless steel vats. The grapes are hand-plunged and pumped over as required to balance the extraction of colour, tannin and flavour. Each fermenter is basket-pressed to French oak barriques for 18 months of maturation to achieve thorough integration of oak and grape tannins. The wine is minimally fined then filtered prior to bottling.

My Tasting Notes:
The Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the top five wines tasted at the AFFW event. This Cabernet is old-world, Bordeaux-esque in its display of dark berry aromas with integrated ripe blackberry and currant fruit flavours with an herbaceous element in the finish. There is also a feeling of refinement, tannin structure and balance that also remind me of pricey left bank Bordeaux alternatives. This wine will reveal more layers of flavours and minerality, the benefits from additional time aging in the bottle. The winery suggests drinking the Abercrombie from 2017 and can be cellared for more than ten years.

Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellations: Margaret River (30%) – Leston Block 8, Block 29
Mount Baker, Great Southern (70%) – Abercrombie Vineyard
Vintage: 2011
Alcohol: 14%
Total Acid: 6.5 g/L
pH: 3.53
Maturation: 18-months in 70% New French Oak
Sweetness Level: Dry

Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW):
AFFW together represent seventeen wine-growing regions across Australia and forty-eight generations of winemakers. The inaugural twelve-member alliance includes Brown Brothers, Campbells, Taylors, DeBortoli, McWilliam’s, Tahbilk, Tyrell’s, Yalumba, D’Arenberg, Jim Barry, Howard Park, and Henschke. Howard Park Wines is the only representative from Western Australia to be included in AFFW.

The aim of Australia’s First Families of Wine is to showcase a representative and diverse range of the best of Australian wine with a focus on regional and iconic drops. The collective is working to engage and educate consumers, retailers, restaurants and the wine industry across the globe about the real character and personality of Australian wine, and about the unique characters and personalities behind it.

The Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon was tasted on May 28, 2015 in Vancouver, BC.

My Impression: Big, Bold and Beautiful 95-Points (Best from 2017-2035)

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HP Abercrombie 2012