Say the name Houghton to most wine drinkers in Australia over the age of 30 and they’ll immediately reply with “White Burgundy!” Houghton’s White Burgundy, now known as ‘White Classic’ blend of has been a default choice for budget conscious Aussie white wine drinkers for many a year. Based in Western Australia, Houghton also produce one of the most well regarded Cabernets in the land, The Jack Mann, and now the mid tier “Crofters” range has been given a face lift.
The Houghton crest of a pair of facing swans invokes elegance, balance and grace (with a nod to the animal emblem of Western Australia). With the label change for Crofters, the swans are embossed silver and bear semblance to the hood adornment of a stately saloon car. Indeed, the labels with their silver swish, royal blue jacket and tactile font, draw heavily on Art Deco influences. A very sexy looking package indeed.
The whites sourced from Margaret River and Pemberton, (in land and south from Margaret River) and the reds from Frankland River, approximately the same latitude as Pemberton, but further east again.
Crofters, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Pemberton / Margaret River WA, 2013
Lush, grassy and passionfruit nose. Refreshing lemon citrus and soft tropical flavours like just dried pineapple pieces. Straw and lingering green fruits with well-judged acidity. Balanced, adult, serious and carries itself with elegance. An excellent expression of why Western Australia arguably produces the best blends of this style in Australia.
Crofters Chardonnay, Pemberton / Margaret River, WA, 2013
Soft nutty oak leaps from the glass followed quickly, creamy, waxy lemon, briny sea shells and hessian. Peachy stone fruit ghosts interplay with more nutty, earthly presences. Again, the watchword here is elegance. Acid lingers and oak influenced for the now, so a medium term lay down will do it no harm, but pair with grilled blue eye trevalla if drinking for the now
Crofters Shiraz, Frankland River WA, 2013
Glowing purple edged rim in the glass. Inviting nose of soft large ripe raspberries and cherry. Cuddly toasty oak with bittersweet blueberry and white pepper. Medium body. Pepper and spice and all things nice. Ripe blue fruit spectrum with appealing fine tannins, completed by an echo of bitumen savoury essence. Good value.
Crofters Cabernet Sauvignon, Frankland River WA, 2012
Mulberry, plums, black olives and just unwrapped chocolate. Puckering blanket of tannins. Varietal front palate of dark purple fruits, a savoury lilt and capped off with French oak spice. The fruit appears tight and slightly thin for the now, lost amid the tannic wash. Day 2 produces more flavour with black olives and brambles, yet still with the tannin to cover all. Give it air and/or time.