Houghton Jack Mann and his beloved cabernet

Winemaker Rob Bowen

WHEN YOU DRINK THE HOUGHTON JACK MANN reds, sourced solely from Western Australia’s Great Southern region, you taste significant fruit power matched to a dusty, stretching, stalker-like length. It’s a great tribute to the bloke who was Jack Mann. He used to travel from the Swan Valley to Great Southern to play cricket, and between sending down leg-cutters he’d salivate at the wine potential of the place.

He spent 51 consecutive years as winemaker at Houghton’s home base in the Swan Valley, and in the process he put his state on the winemaking map – to the enduring benefit of the wine-loving world. He also had a saying: ‘The greatest grape is the noble cabernet. Cabernet sauvignon is the only grape that would be tolerated in heaven.’

The Houghton Jack Mann cabernet-based wine, which he never got to taste, was first produced from the 1994 vintage, and was made by Paul Lapsley. Jack Mann himself died in 1989. His name adorns a wine whose pedigree is largely, shamefully, ignored: it is

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