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Margaret River, Western Australia
Part 5: Howard Park 


Miamup Road PO Box 283 Cowaramup WA 6284, Australia
Phone: (618) 9756 5200 Fax: (618) 9756 5222
E-mail: margaretriver@hpw.com.au
Website: www.howardparkwines.com.au


Tony Davis and Nathalie Burch


Last visit of the day was at Howard Park. The cellar door here is striking: itís modern and spacious with a bit of a sense of corporate extravagance to it. I wouldnít go so far as call it ostentatious, but it gives the impression of a well funded, ambitious venture.


But despite first impressions, Howard Park isnít a show property for some corporate wine giant. Itís a family-owned business, and I met with Nathalie Burch, daughter owners Amy and Jeff, together with new chief winemaker Tony Davis, who recently (January 2007) replaced Michael Kerrigan at the helm here.


Letís look at the figures. There are two bases in Western Australia. The first here in Margaret River processes 2000 tons a year; the second, in Denmark, does 1000 tons. Thereís a 60:40 split white to red, and roughly 15% of production goes through the prestige Howard Park label, with 85% under the Madfish label. 40% of production is exported.


But letís focus primarily on the wines. Itís an impressive portfolio, with the Madfish label over-delivering and quality and the Howard Park wines hitting some real heights. The two Cabernets are among Australiaís very best.   


Madfish Riesling 2006
Very bright and limey on the nose with a touch of honey, too. The palate is quite generous with fresh, crisp fruit. This is fermented to dryness and then adjusted with a portion of juice that is held for backblending, and the result is a very attractive wine. 88/100


Howard Park Riesling 2006
Quite refined, and less showy on the nose than the Madfish. Tight, savoury and herby with good acidity. Concentrated with nice fruit and good acidity. Lots of power here, but itís refined. Tony says that he is not looking for characters that are going to get oily or keroseney with age. 90/100


Madfish Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006
Very bright and fresh with a limey nose and a bright, fresh, crisp palate. Really attractive and balanced. Stylish wine. 89/100


Madfish Unwooded Chardonnay 2006
Slightly honeyed, with soft, clean fruit. Palate shows tropical fruit underpinned with a bit of minerality. Some complexity here, but itís mostly about the fruit. 88/100

Howard Park Chardonnay 2005
Focused ripe tropical fruit nose: clean, fruity with nice toastiness, some herbs and the fruit to the fore. The palate is complex and rich with spicy toastiness, some herbal notes and high acidity keeping things fresh (no malolactic here). Complex and long Ė a sophisticated style. 91/100


Madfish Pinot Noir 2005
Until recently there had only been two clones of Pinot Noir to choose from in Western Australia , one of which is a Champagne clone. Now, Dijon clones have become available. This Pinot is sourced from Great Southern and Pemberton. Very bright and rich, with fresh cherry fruit and a herby edge. Lovely cherryish, spicy palate which is fruity and delicious. Strawberry and cream texture. A good-time wine. 88/100


Madfish Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2004
Pure blackcurrant fruit nose with some red berry fruit. Forward and bright. The palate has nice supple berry fruit thatís quite bright and juicy. I get some leafy Cabernet characters, but they are ripe. Lots of fruit; quite fine. 88/100  


Madfish Shiraz 2004
Sweet liqueur-like spicy nose. The palate has lovely dense spicy fruit. Ripe and full with great concentration of sweet ripe berry and black fruits. Lively with good acidity and a vivid, spicy tarriness. An attractive modern-styled wine. Quite a bit of Great Southern material in here along with Shiraz from selected sites in Margaret River. 90/100


Howard Park Leston Shiraz 2004 Margaret River
Focused nose of dark, spicy blackcurrant fruit with a smoky, spicy edge. The palate is generous and concentrated with masses of dark spicy blackcurrant fruit showing a spicy edge. The palate is generous and concentrated with masses of dark spicy fruit backed with high acidity, giving it a lively feel. Nice focus and weight to this pure, dark wine. 93/100


Howard Park Scotsdale Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Great Southern
From north-facing gravelly well-drained soils. Pure intense blackcurrant fruit nose is smooth and elegant with some chocolatey richness and brooding spicy minerally gravelly focus. The palate is concentrated and full with pure, smooth blackcurrant fruit. Supple and quite elegant with a lovely purity to the fruit and a nice spicy structure. Superb stuff. 94/100

Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2003 Western Australia
Smooth blackcurrant fruit nose is quite stylish: itís fresh with some chocolatey richness. The palate is concentrated, dense and smooth with lovely spiciness and well integrated oak. Still youthful and primary with firm tannic structure. Should be a long-lived wine. 94/100


UK agent: Bibendum Wine (www.bibendum-wine.co.uk

Wines tasted 04/07
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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