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FOOD + WINE howard park
constructed under the direct supervision of Professor Cheng Jian-Jun of
the Department of Architecture at the South China University of Technology.
“I knew I would never have the opportunity to build something special like
this ag ain,” says Amy. “I wanted it to harmonise with the landscape as anyone
with Chinese origin wishes to do, and working with architects and Feng Shui
experts was very interesting as we worked towards our goal of synergy with
the environment combined with the best of modern Australian architecture.”
The new winery and cellar door opened on February 6, 2000, an auspicious
date for such an event according to the Chinese calendar.
Amy and Jeff saw potential in the Great Southern region for the supply of
quality fruit for their premium cabernet sauvignon and riesling. They began to
search for a suitable property and, after talking to local farmers, viticulturists
and other vineyard owners, found a sheep station that fitted the bill near the
foothills of the Porongurup Range, near Mount Barker.
They purchased the property in 2004 with the intention of establishing a
super-premium cool-climate vineyard with plantings of chardonnay, riesling,
sauvignon blanc and pinot noir in the ancient ironstone soils. Reaching 380
metres above sea level and receiving less extreme summer temperatures than
the rest of the region, this is one of the highest vineyard sites in Western
Australia. The vineyard, which was named the Mount Barrow vineyard, first
produced grapes in 2008 and has already become the core source of fruit for
the Howard Park Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Experimental plots have also
added complexity to fruit sourcing, not least with the elusive pinot noir.
Always keen to sharpen his viticultural knowledge and skills, Jeff Burch
has been a frequent visitor to France. On one of those visits in 1991 he met
winemaker and biodynamic ambassador Pascal Marchand. They instantly
connected through a mutual passion for pinot noir. Born in Montreal, Pascal
is renowned in wine circles for his success in managing the vineyards of
Burgundy’s Premier Cru ‘Closdes-Epeneaux’ in the villag e of Pommard. He
transformed the little-known vineyards into the most sought after in Burgundy
and eventually took over from his employer Comte Armand as winemaker.
Jeff and Pascal have since established a close working relationship, and
in 2007 a new Howard Park label — Marchand and Burch — was launched
with the release of a chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz, produced in Western
Australia, and a Meursault, Gevrey-Chambertin and Grand Cru Chambertin-
Clos de Bèze, produced in Burgundy. “I’ve really enjoyed the joint venture,”
notes Jeff. “He comes out here to make wine with me and I go to France
to make wine with him.”
At first Jeff wondered why a renowned winemaker such as Pascal,
having made pinot from the Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy, would be
“I’m proud of what
we’ve achieved in
such a short time
and proud that our
children are taking
on the mantle”
– Amy Burch
A golden range
from the West
The success of MadFish inspired
a new range of premium wines
under the MadFish Gold Turtle
label. The first vintage of this
series was the 2004 Gold Turtle
Shiraz, made exclusively from
fr uit in the Frankland River
subregion of Great Southern.
Each of the wines in the Gold
Turtle range is a true varietal
expression sourced from specific
sites in the Great Southern or
Margaret River regions.
Jeff Burch’s father and
mentor, Leston, in 1999.
BELOW Margaret River
winemaker Genevieve Mann.
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