By James Atkinson

Houghton’s current top tier wine releases demonstrate a more refined style that can be attributed to a more ‘hands off’ approach in the winery, according to senior winemaker Ross Pamment.

Pamment said the 2011 releases of the West Australian winery's top tier Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon and Gladstones Cabernet Sauvignon were the first produced by way of wild fermentation, using only indigenous yeast.

“At the time when I was encouraged to do it, it was fairly nerve-wracking given the value of the fruit and ferments,” he said.

“But having seen the end result, which is the more textural aspect of the wines, we haven’t looked back, to the point where we are now extending it into our commercial ranges as well.”

Houghton senior winemaker Ross Pamment addressing media in WA

At the release function in Swan Valley for the 2011 Jack Mann, Pamment said he had also not added any acid in his last three vintages.

“As a technical winemaker your first instinct is to change it, and probably the biggest learning curve is to know when to leave it alone,” he said.

With a greater approachability in their youth but no less ageing potential, the 2011 wines compared very favourably in a vertical tasting of Gladstones from 1999, 2004 and 2008, and Jack Mann from 1994, 1999 and 2004.

“I like to think there’s a greater refinement in the younger wines,” Pamment commented.

The Shout Team

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