By Fergal Gleeson
They’ve cracked open the bubbles at Howard Park! Chief Winemaker Janice McDonald may even have allowed herself a ‘jeté like’ jump for joy. Howard Park Jeté Brut Blanc NV has won Best Australian Sparkling Wine at the 2017 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in London.
This placed it ahead of hallowed Australian sparkling makers such as House of Arras, Chandon and Clover Hill including their vintage releases. Jeté also collected a Gold Medal at the event alongside prestigious Champagne houses such as Dom Perignon, Laurent Perrier and Lanson.
Janice McDonald takes Jeté’s success as proof of how good Western Australian sparkling wine can be.
“By global standards, our venture is fledgling. Our challenge is always to make sparkling from this very special place in the Great Southern that could come close in quality to Champagne, while showcasing our individual site and style.”
“We believe we’re at the beginning of something very special and our recent international accolades affirm this for us – it’s incredibly satisfying.”
“There is some tough competition in the Australian Sparkling space so it really is an honour to have won the trophy, and as a Western Australian winery, not famed for their sparkling, it is a fantastic achievement” Janice says.
“In 2009 Howard Park founder Jeff Burch invested in making méthode traditionelle from the Great Southern Region. That’s where Jeté has come from since 2009. There was a little bit of trial and error to begin with because there’s a lot of technique involved in making méthode traditionelle.”
“Perfecting it comes with time and more familiarity. Jeté Brut Blanc NV is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The fruit is sourced from the cooler parts of the state in the Mount Barrow Vineyard in Mount Barker which faces the Southern Ocean. It’s a cool site. We make a bright style, not using any oak. It is all tank fermented wine, keeping it fresh and vibrant.”
Howard Park also make two other sparkling wines- Jeté Sparkling Rosé NV and Grand Jeté 2012 which is a little richer as it has a higher ratio of Pinot Noir and is fermented in old oak.
“Sparkling wine is a growing part of our portfolio now and is gaining momentum,” says Janice. “Most of our sparkling is consumed within the state though Sydney is also a good market. It’s about making enough sparkling wine so that people get to see and taste it. We are committed to it.”
NV Howard Park Jeté Brut Blanc NV
An effervescent sparkling that zings with freshness. Jeté has a real acid crunch in the mouth that leads to a long, long finish. Despite 36 months on lees, it has a little less of the toasty yeast characters of Champagne. It’s all about the electrifying mouthfeel.
Clear to see why this wine took 2 trophies in the Sparkling Wine World Championships. Great Southern can now add world class sparkling wine to it’s resume. The searing citrus, the balance, the persistence are compelling. Buy a case. Buy many. Because at $34 this wine is outstanding value.
RRP $34 Rating: 4.5 stars
NV Howard Park Jeté Rosé
My wife, the eternal ballet girl, loved the Jeté label. Jeté means ‘to leap’ and is named in honour of David Burch who was a principal dancer for the Australian Ballet Company and brother of Howard Park founder Jeff Burch.
Pale salmon colour this 100% Pinot Noir sparkling rosé comes from the cool Mount Barrow vineyard in Mount Barker. The early picked Pinot shows characteristic varietal strawberry and sour cherry flavours. Refreshing and savoury, there is nothing frivolous about it.
The NV Jetés are priced just a little below NV Champagnes. Of course Great Southern doesn’t have the heritage, brand power or critical mass of Champagne but Howard Park show that it certainly has the style and quality.
RRP $35 Rating: 4 stars
More at: www.burchfamilywines.com.au
This is a modified excerpt from an article, which appeared in the spring edition of Your Margaret River Region Magazine. For more Wine Reviews read and follow www.greatwineblog.com Drink and be merry!