Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1998
Bordeaux Red Blends from Australia
The immediate impression on looking at the wine is one of youth; vibrant red colors with a dark heart indicate that the wine has good concentration. The nose confirms first impressions with concentrated aromas of dark chocolate and rich berry fruits with attractive cedary notes derived from the oak. The palate has intense fruit characters with layers of complexity.
Howard Park Winery
Strangely enough the owners of Howard Park, Jeff and Amy Burch, became involved with wine through Jeff’s love of surfing. It started 15 years ago when they bought a beach shack at Yallingup, near the renowned surfing beaches of the Margaret River area.
Jeff would spend hours surfing on his long board, resembling what the locals call a “shark biscuit”.
Also a lover of golf, Jeff Burch admits he is “still trying to work out how to run a wine business from the golf course”. As some form of consolation he has built a golf hole right outside their Margaret River winery. As well as having a lot of fun, Jeff and Amy work very hard and together inject a great deal of passion into Howard Park. They have recently breathed some new life into the brand with a stunning redesign of the labels. The new labels depict a serpent in the “Tree of Life” and better reflect the truly prestigious nature of the wines.
The founding philosophy of Howard Park is to acquire the finest possible fruit from various distinguished growers from the Margaret River and Great Southern regions of Western Australia. The wine is then made with minimal input in order to reveal the character of the fruit. The key element in this simple philosophy is that premium wines can only come from excellent fruit. The sourcing of this fruit from specific vineyards, and in many cases specific blocks on the vineyard, is the single most important factor in the production of the Howard Park wines. As a result, the riesling, chardonnay and cabernet merlot produced are only ever available in very small quantities, but are noted for their rare balance of elegance and power and a proven history of rewarding ageing with increased complexity and interest.
Howard Park was one of the original pioneers in Western Australia’s Great Southern region and was originally based in the coastal town of Denmark since its conception in 1986. Denmark is a beautiful area where the forest meets the sea and the Howard Park winery there hosts one of the most impressive cellar doors in the Great Southern region, situated on an historical 100-acre property known as “Parkhead”.
The Burches recently constructed their second state of the art winery in Margaret River. The building is surrounded by tall marri and jarrah trees and is a unique presence in the Margaret River region. It was built using the Chinese principles of Feng Shui and has since been awarded by the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture.
Michael Kerrigan is chief winemaker who oversees production in both Margaret River and Denmark. His most recent achievement is the launch of a brand new wine into the Howard Park stable. The new Leston Shiraz is the first single vineyard wine and it exhibits all the hallmarks of quality and regional characteristics you can expect from Howard Park.
View all Howard Park Wines
About Other Australia
With a landmass the size of the US, Australia has just as many appellations. Many wines are simply labeled from their state of origin. Some of these are the most popular:
New South Wales - New South Wales has a variety of smaller wine growing regions. Many wines are a blend of these smaller appellations, leading to the more encompassing designation of New South Wales.
Western Australia – A small percentage of Australia’s winemaking occurs on the West Coast. The largest Australian state, Western Australia, includes the appellations Margaret River and Great Southern.
Southeastern Australia – This appellation encompasses the states of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Grapes are often trucked in from at least 2 of these states for crushing and bottling, giving the wine a more general appellation of origin. This is the broadest appellation in Australia.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale
, Clare Valley
and Barossa Valley
. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley
, while the smaller, southern state of
is best known for theYarra Valley
. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River
at the southern tip.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.