Burch Family Wines: a new umbrella name for Howard Park et al, plus some new wines

When ex-Wynns’ man John Wade ventured west from Coonawarra to Great Southern and founded Howard Park in 1986 he explained“I don’t know any other region where you can produce both Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon as premium wines”.

Since current owners Jeff and Amy Burch came on board in 1993 the business has grown from two Howard Park wines to over 80 wines made under several labels so, says Amy, “it was time to update the name to reflect the changes.”  New umbrella name Burch Family Wines encompasses the Howard Park, MadFish, Marchand & Burch, Allegory and Jeté brands.

The sparkling (méthode traditionelle) Jeté range is the most recent addition. Jeff told me that the project started almost 7 years ago. His motivation? “I believed that as Western Australia is the economic powerhouse of Australia (mining) it deserved to celebrate the State’s success with its own local sparkling wine.” Here are my notes on two wines from the sparkling range (they also make a rosé) plus the latest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir releases under the Marchand & Burch label.

And don’t forget it’s the last day of Bibendum’s sale which features a couple of great Cabernets from Howard Park – click here for details.

Madfish Vera’s Cuvée

Like the Jeté wines, this new addition to the Madfish range is a méthode traditionelle sparkling, which spent 18 months on lees. Pale straw with green glints and hints of brioche this blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from Great Southern is super fresh on the palate, indeed slightly tart, with limey, grapefruity acidity. Good. 12.5%/12 grams sugar. In the future, it will be 100% Chardonnay.

Jeté N.V. Blanc

This blend of 70% (part-barrel fermented) Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir spent 24 months on lees and is correspondingly richer and more complex. Yellowish straw, it shows attractive marzipan and nougat notes to the nose with shortbread on a peachy palate, though it maintains good tension and line with crisp, mineral acidity to its dry, juicy long  finish. Well done. 12.5%/10 grams sugar.

Marchand & Burch Porongurup Chardonnay 2010

A gentle style of Chardonnay, long and rolling in the mouth with beautifully integrated oak and lovely fresh acidity to its nougat-edged white peach and citrus fruit. Still young, but very promising.

Marchand & Burch Mount Barker Mount Barrow Pinot Noir 2010

Pale ruby, its creamy yet fresh strawberry and raspberry fruit, sweet yet earthy, is gently anchored by a web of tannins. Violet top notes and oak spice add lift to a long, fine finish. 13%

Marchand & Burch Gibraltar Rock Porongurup Pinot Noir 2010

Fruit is sourced from an older, biodynamically cultivated vineyard. An attractive ruddy sheen to this and, in the mouth, it’s similarly layered, floral, yet more serious and savoury than the Mount Barrow with charcuterie, five spice and earthy beetroot to its sweet, velvety red cherry, cassis and berry fruits. A ripe but present tannin and acid structure both buoys and embeds the flavours. Very good.



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