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The Jack Mann Memorial Medal has been awarded for another year. David Pike takes the opportunity to look into the background of this year’s recipient.

LAST week the West Australian Wine Press Club awarded the prestigious Jack Mann Memorial Medal.

The award is in honour of the legendary Jack Mann MBE who was instrumental in establishing the reputation of the Western Australian wine industry.

The Wine Press Club of WA introduced the ‘Jack Mann Memorial Medal’ in 1990.

It recognises the recipients as those who have made a significant contribution to the WA wine industry, as Jack Mann did during his life-long involvement in the wine industry here in the west. Jack Mann was an innovative and passionate winemaker who presided over 51 consecutive vintages at the Houghton winery in the Swan Valley.

The medal is widely regarded as this State’s most prestigious wine industry award.

The inaugural recipient was Dr John Gladstone and others include Bill Jamieson, Robin Clarke, John Tate, Rod Properjohn, Tony Smith, Dennis and Trish Horgan, Stewart van Raalte, Di Cullen, Pam McGregor, Mike Zekulich and Paul Conti.

Each of these past recipients has played an important part in the development and promotion of the wine industry in this State.

This year’s winner Lloyd Meredith has had a passion for the wine industry for more than 27 years.

He entered the industry at a time when many of the regions we see thriving today were only just being planted and, indeed, in the ensuing years was an instrumental part in helping establish many of those wineries as household names today.

His association with the industry began as a retailer in Gooseberry Hill in the mid-1970s before he set up Brackleys Cellars in Perth. Brackleys was to become a prominent promoter of WA wines through educational tastings and the first (no doubt very serious) wine tours into the South West. At the same time he established the very strong Daily News Wine Club. 

In 1986 he established a wholesale company MGM specialising in representing WA wineries.

It was his commitment to the WA wine industry that led him to establish the concept of the SGIO Wine Awards in 1983.

He organised those awards for 17 years. In fact, Lloyd was chief wine steward for most of those years as well.

He had the forethought to select a high-profile eastern States judge who had not yet (to his loss) been overexposed to WA wines who could offer valuable advice and critical assessment.

Over his 27 years Lloyd has been a dedicated WA wine promoter not only through his businesses but, on many instances, as a wine educator in his own right, travelling the length and breadth of the State to coach young waiters and sommeliers in wine tasting and service.

Houghton 1999 Jack Mann Cabernet Malbec rrp $90 19/20

The 2000 is due for release later this year and after a quick look at the wine the other night there is plenty to look forward to.

This 1999 is a WA gem. A powerful wine that has been artfully crafted by the Houghton winemaking team. Escaping from the glass are intense aromas of ripe blackcurrant fruits, anise or a briary note, chocolate and coffee notes, the dynamic aromas constantly evolve  in the glass. The palate is brooding, with fleshy tannins and powerful fruit weight. A complex and structured wine that will certainly go the distance.

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