Howard Park Scotsdale and Leston 2016
Barry Weinman: 4th August 2018
I have written previously about just how good Cabernet can be from the Great Southern. Wines like the Jack Mann and Cherubino speak volumes about the potential.
Another fine producer of Great Southern Cabernet is Howard Park, with their flagship wine (The Abercrombie) having a significant proportion of fruit from the region.
So when the the2016 Shiraz and Cabernet from the Leston & Scotsdale ranges arrived, it was an excellent opportunity to sit back and look at how the regions differ.
At Howard Park, both the Leston Cabernet and Shiraz use fruit from Margaret River, whilst both Scotsdale wines are from the Great Southern.
As with previous vintages, what is most noticeable is how supple and fragrant the wines are from the Great Southern. These are seductive wines that are delicious now, but also eminently age-worthy, By comparison, both the Leston Shiraz and Cabernet are taut and restrained, needing years to show their best.
All four of the wines are excellent and ageworthy, so my suggestion is to drink the Scotsdales, whilst waiting for the Lestons to mature.
Also included in this tasting was the brilliant new Cellar Collection from 2016. This wine seems to combine the best of both regions, and at $35, seems like good value too.
Howard Park – Shiraz – Scotsdale – 2016 (18.5/20 – $50). Sweet, fresh strawberry fruit that is seductive and ripe on the nose, with savoury undertones of cedar and spice. The palate is firm, yet balanced, with fine tannins that frame the plum and redcurrant fruit. Hints of liquorice on a supple, textured finish. Delicious!
Howard Park – Shiraz – Leston – 2016 (18/20pts – $50). Opens with blackcurrant and mint, with hints of chocolate and dark spices. The palate is tight, firm and age-worthy, yet the finish is near seamless. One for the cellar and likely to score higher points in the future.
Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz – Cellar Collection – 2016 (18.5/20pts – $35). Approachable, seductive fruit sets the scene, with a core of dark fruit and tannins that keep the mid palate in check and aid the overall balance. Aromas of mint, blueberry fruit and herbal notes add to the package. An extra half point for being absolutely delicious now, yet this would benefit from 5 years in the cellar.
Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Leston – 2016 (18.5/20pts – $50). Impressive wine where everything is in balance. There is mint and eucalypt highlights to the bright berry fruit on both the nose and palate. It is the way that the palate comes together that is a stand out. The red fruits meld seamlessly with the fine oak and textural components from the mid-palate to the close. At the close, the tannins do shut down the fruit so give it at least 5 – 10 years to start to open up.
Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Scotsdale – 2016 (18+/20pts – $50). Riper, more approachable than the Leston, with the fruit in the red berry spectrum. That said, this is a serious wine with fine oak and silky tannins supporting the fruit nobly. The finish is carried by the acid, allowing this wine to be enjoyed in its youth, but the patient will be rewarded with a splendid wine in 10+ years.