100% Cabernet Sauvignon
30% Margaret River and 70% Mount Barker
More than a decade
‘Abercrombie’ is the definitive Cabernet Sauvignon of Howard Park Wines. Since the first release in 1986, a multi-region five-vineyard Western Australian blend, this wine has been a true reflection of the best fruit chosen from a selection of the oldest vineyards in Western Australia’s Margaret River region and cool climate Mount Barker and Porongurup sub-regions of the Great Southern. Produced from the top 1% of available Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and then only in the years when grapes of extraordinarily high quality are available.
Named after Jeff Burch’s Great-Grandfather Walter Abercrombie, this Howard Park flagship Cabernet Sauvignon is noted for its outstanding structural complexity and exceptional elegance. It combines the austere dusty earth and blackcurrant aromas from Mount Barker, with the classic rich fruit and chocolaty palette of Margaret River. Together they produce an elegantly balanced cabernet sauvignon with mature ripe tannins backed up by quality French oak. Careful long term cellaring will realize this wine’s full potential.
In Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, the Abercrombie has an ‘Excellent’ rating, spanning back since Classification III in 2000.
“This is a wonderful expression of cabernet having been sourced from vineyards in Margaret River and the Great Southern. Whether it’s a style shift or a vintage thing, the restraint and seamless effortlessness that stamp this is a little different from previous vintages. Such elegance and poise, yet still with all that underlying power and fruit intensity. Just love the balance and beautiful, almost pretty, palate.”
Ray Jordan, The West Australian
“The warm 2012 season in Great Southern and Margaret River has built an Abercrombie of impressive black fruit depth, yet retaining the control and determination to see out a very long life. A beautifully focused, exquisite bouquet of blackcurrant, cassis, black cherries, cedar and tobacco announces a generous yet compact palate, with a focused and deep core of blackcurrant and cassis fruit. Notes of liquorice and dark chocolate linger long through a honed finish, sustained by fine, sinewy, tightly structured tannins. Another great in the lineage of Abercrombie.”
Tyson Stelzer, Wine Press
“This release of Howard Park’s Abercrombie is a stunner. It’s one out of the box. It pours on the flavour and the tannin and the charm, and it’s about as persistent as you could ever hope a wine to be. Blackcurrant, a light coat of milk chocolate, bay leaves and assorted olives and spices. The flavours aren’t really the thing, it’s the power, the length, the irrepressibility of it. You could cellar this for just about ever.”
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
“From Great Southern and Margaret River; wild-fermented and extended post-fermentation maceration; matured in French barriques (60% new) for 20 months. This is Burch Family Wines' big dog, immensely powerful and deeply structured, blackcurrant, dried herbs and grainy tannins all competing for space and attention. Demands time, and will be very long lived.”
James Halliday, James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion 2014 Edition
The 2012 Season
The growing season in the south west of Western Australia was favourable for the production of great wine.
After a winter of sufficient rain, the spring to autumn period was warm to hot, dry and characterised by less than average summer rain or humidity.
The Cabernet Sauvignon wines produced from the 2012 vintage are full of ripe fruit flavours, bright acidity and supple tannins.
The vintage was without significant heat spikes or summer rains. Diurnal temperature variations were below average which meant the nights remained warm. The maritime cooling influences and retained soil moisture allowed the vines to maintain good condition until harvest. While the characteristic afternoon southerlies appeared less grating, the lack of humidity and warm conditions keep disease pressure low and vine function high.
Mount Barker and Porongurup
The Mount Barker and Porongurup regions experienced warm to hot conditions throughout the vintage. Hot spells throughout March magnified the effect of little spring or summer rain. With soil moisture very low, the cooler south facing vineyard sites did receive some reprieve off the southern ocean. These warmer than average conditions did accelerate ripeness and allowed red varieties to mature earlier.
All grapes selected for Abercrombie are handpicked, destemmed and sorted before fermentation in a mix of small static fermenters and open stainless steel vats. The grapes are hand-plunged and pumped over as required to balance the extraction of colour, tannin and flavour. Each fermenter is basket-pressed to French oak barriques for 18 months of maturation to achieve thorough integration of oak and grape tannins. The wine is minimally fined then filtered prior to bottling.
Alcohol: 14% v/v | pH: 3.53 | Acidity: 6.5 g/lt
A dark ruby red with purple hues and a translucent edge, all of which imply youth, intensity and promise. The bouquet is dense in dark berry fruits with hints of sweet, talcy and spicey French oak. Rich in classic Cabernet notes of sweet blackberry and blackcurrant, savoury dried herbs and softening cocoa and mocha, the palate’s opulence is shaped by a supple and fine tannin structure.
This wine has a powerful presence, a sweet core and lasting flavours that with reveal and reward with time.
Date tasted: 28 January 2015, Janice McDonald Winemaker
Download Tasting Notes
The 2012 is an outstanding vintage of Abercrombie that will take time it’s time to reach maturity yet will cellar well for more than a decade. This wine will drink at its best from 2017.