I don’t know when it’s too early to reminisce on the origins of a classic. Probably depends how long it takes to qualify as a classic in the first place.
Rob and Gen Mann’s Cabernet Sauvignon from their Calgardup Vineyard in Redgate Beach made its debut from the 2018 harvest.
That’s recent in anyone’s language. Certainly, recent enough for the first taste to be crystal clear in the memory; as crystal clear as that blackcurrant-accented grape-pure fruit with is tapenade and nori accents, its rippling, fluid body and berry-fresh, tensile tannins.
But as Erin Larkin says, this is already “a routinely beautiful wine”.
That it should be so is testament to the Manns’ confidence in the vineyard and their manner of stepping out of its way. Dry-grown, organic viticulture through whole-berry fermentation and no new oak help to deliver the message with mouth-watering, whistle-clean clarity.
That form has won them a nod as Gourmet Traveller WINE Winemaker of the Year finalist. While we champion this latest Cabernet release, no one can ignore the statement coming loud and clear from their newly certified organic Rocket’s Vineyard in the Swan Valley, too.
True to Tony Mann’s nickname, both the Chenin Blanc and Tempranillo/Malbec have rocketed to the top of the rankings among modern, stylish, sophisticated and beguilingly delicious Australian wines. They have flair, intrigue, zip and swagger. They are lovely to drink.
We commend all three of these excellent 2021s to you.
2021 Corymbia Calgardup Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River $71
This wine is the realisation of a dream seeded by Rob’s grandfather, Jack Mann, a departure from the orthodox, to achieve a unique expression of Margaret River Cabernet. Variety, place and experience are woven together to redefine what’s possible.
Western Australia still cocooned from Covid – yep. Cyclone – just missed it. Rain – just enough. Pickers – not enough. Fruit – almost perfect. Wine – pretty tasty. Holidays – still waiting. That was another challenging year.
The great thing about Cabernet is, after one sip, you get to forget all that. You appreciate joy in the anticipation of drinking Cabernet, enlightenment as it dances across your palate and satisfaction after that glass is emptied. We’ll drink to that.
The fourth release from our dry-grown, organically farmed Calgardup Vineyard. Located just 2km inland from the famous Redgate Beach in Margaret River. The fruit was harvested by hand in early April and individually berry sorted prior to natural, whole-berry fermentation in a single French-oak vat. Maturation followed in seasoned French-oak demi-muids and barriques for 10 months.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon (126 clone planted in 2002) from the Calgardup vineyard in Redgate, Margaret River. Planting density is 1785 vines per hectare on Keenan gravelly loam. The fruit was picked on 6th and 9th April 2021. Alcohol 13.5%; pH 3.74; total acidity 4.81g/L. Bottled 17th February 2022.
We love wines with spine and structure that comes from the grape and not from an oak tree grown on the other side of the world. No fancy winemaking or oak influence, just a relentless pursuit of perfection in the vineyard. This wine tastes of the grape, the dirt and the season without pretention, which is exactly what we want. Crème de cassis, Kalamata olives, dried thyme and salt bush excite the senses while the characteristic spine of fine tannins underpin the luminous, expressive fruit flavours that linger against a backdrop of briny, savoury and mouth-filling texture. – Rob & Gen Mann
It’s a graceful style of Cabernet, fine boned and fresh. Blackberry, strawberry, redcurrant, potpourri, slight smoky bacon bone character, and a sea spray/brine kind of thing. Tannin is tight with an emery board texture, subtle tobacco/leafy perfume, and a cool red fruited finish of excellent length, those high quality tannins really stretching it out. Subtle. Lovely.95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
This is a routinely beautiful wine and a difficult wine to describe: they (Rob and Gen Mann) really make us work for it… The 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of rose petals, lead pencil shavings, cassis, red apple skins, lavender on the breeze, saltbush, kalamata olives and iodine on the nose. In the mouth, the wine is a spicy, ever-evolving, supple Cabernet from the Mann’s Calgardup vineyard. There is a harmony and peace in this wine that remains through each of the vintages. Modern and a little bit thrilling.94 points. Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate
2021 Corymbia Rocket’s Vineyard Chenin Blanc $36
2021 Corymbia Rocket’s Vineyard Chenin Blanc is named in tribute to Rob’s late father and former Australian Test Cricketer Tony “Rocket” Mann. Tony and Rob planted Rocket’s Vineyard together on their family property in the Swan Valley more than 35 years ago, on what was an old currant vineyard. The fruit is dry grown and organically farmed. In 2021 we proudly achieved certified “in conversion” status with ACO Certification.
100% Chenin Blanc (Noack massal selection planted in 1992) grown on soils of Houghton loam. The grapes were harvested by hand and whole bunch-pressed prior to natural fermentation. A portion was fermented and matured in seasoned French oak barriques for seven months prior to blending and bottling. Alcohol 12.7%; RS 0.8g/L; pH 3.29; TA 5.42g/L.
The wine smells of new season grapefruit, fresh fennel fronds and bath salts. Blackcurrant leaf, crispy pear and saltbush flood the palate. The wine is textural with its trademark Rocket’s Vineyard chalky grip. The wine grabs your full attention with its juicy saline tang.- Rob and Gen Mann
Delicate, as usual, with a flood of green apple, white flowers, Turkish apricots, cheesecloth and beeswax. This has Australian bush, and wide open summer air, and saltbush, too. The phenolics have a bitter little kick in them through the finish … but that’s ok, I was waiting for it. The waxy, lanolin character is exactly en pointe for the variety.95 points. Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion
2021 Corymbia Rocket’s Vineyard Tempranillo / Malbec $43
2021 Corymbia Rocket’s Vineyard Tempranillo/Malbec is named in tribute to Rob’s late father and former Australian Test Cricketer Tony “Rocket” Mann. Tony and Rob began planting Rocket’s Vineyard together on the Herne Hill loam of their family property in the Swan Valley more than 35 years ago, on what was an old currant vineyard. The fruit is dry grown and organically farmed. In 2021 we proudly achieved certified “in conversion” status with ACO Certification.
The grapes (55% Tempranillo and 45% Malbec) were harvested by hand on 6th February 2021. Organic farming with acute attention to detail enabled us to pull off the impossible: Tempranillo and Malbec ready for harvest on the same day. The grapes were individually berry sorted and combined prior to carbonic maceration and natural co-fermentation in a single French oak vat. Maturation followed in the same French oak vat for 10 months.
That deep magenta colour grabs you from the outset, then lively aromatics of mulberry, poached rhubarb and all spice pull you in closer. The senses are filled with a slightly tart, slightly salty, slightly sweet sensation akin to the first bite of a perfectly ripe blood plum. Freshly picked blueberries and squid ink umami weave through this crunchy, vibrant, juicy, fleshy, turgid, lip-smacking and moreish wine. – Rob and Gen Mann
Cherry, plum, a pleasing whiff of bitumen, anise and spice, slight dried flower thing, maybe. It’s medium-bodied, but dense and rich, also very ‘mineral’ feeling with a beautiful spread of cocoa powder tannin, ample fruit, but tastes quite savoury, almost pencilly sort of thing. Acidity is cool and clean, and the finish is long, again those wonderful ferrous tannins trailing. Gee, I really like this.96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front