Wine review – Houghton and House of Arras

Houghton Crofters Margaret River Pemberton Chardonnay 2013 $15.70–$19
Western Australia’s Houghton brand was long ago absorbed into Hardys and is now part of the Accolade Wine Group. Under Hardys, Houghton expanded its WA offerings well beyond its Swan Valley base, along the way benefiting from Hardys Australia-wide focus on top-end chardonnay, which ultimately stretched through Tasmania, southern Victoria, high-country South Australia and NSW and the best sites across southern Western Australia. Under the Crofters label Houghton offers a delicious, fresh, modern chardonnay style, featuring generous, crystal clear melon- and stone-fruit-like varietal flavours, seasoned with subtle oak influences.

Houghton Crofters Frankland River Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $15.70–$19
While Western Australia’s Margaret River region ranks among the world’s greatest cabernet sauvignon regions, the variety also performs well further east, and further inland, at Frankland River – an area generally more noted for shiraz. The deep, crimson-rimmed 2012 offers and alluring perfume of ripe berries combined subtly with the sweet spiciness of French oak. The sweet berry and oak characters flow through to the palate. But Frankland River’s characteristic deeper savoury notes and firm tannins push through, giving grip and character, if not finesse, to a most appealing red.

A by Arras Premium Cuvee Tasmania $19.90–$25
Hardys quest for top bubblies led to Tasmania and the creation of House of Arras. Under ownership of Accolade Wines, House of Arras continues to make sparklers of extraordinary quality under winemaker Ed Carr. The top wines sell for $50 to $150 a bottle. But this new release provides an affordable, drink-now introduction to Arras. It’s a blend of pinot noir (60 per cent), chardonnay (33 per cent) and pinot meunier, sourced from Pipers River and the Derwent and Tamar Valleys. The combination gives full flavour, creamy texture, great finesse and a unique acidity that accentuates fruit flavour.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published:

  • 15 November 2014 in
  • 16 November 2014 in the Canberra Times