“This one is the rosé,” says Cathy, pouring a delicate waterfall of pale pink bubbles that is the Howard Park Jeté Rosé NV into my emptied tasting glass. “This is raspberries.”
And the rosé is. But it’s also there, that nose of ‘delicate wafer with a smear of cream patisserie’ so evocatively described in the wine’s tasting notes.
“We believe we’re at the beginning of something very special,” McDonald muses across international datelines, her strength carrying the weight of the State’s largest sparkling wine production, “and our recent international accolades affirm this for us – it’s incredibly satisfying.”
As one of the only West Australian wineries to champion the methode traditionelle, Howard Park’s sparkling program has been built over more than a decade of concerted effort and hard graft. Grapes for the sparkling wines are predominantly grown in Howard Park’s Great Southern allotments, where cooler weather is sympathetic to pinot and chardonnay grapes.
Recent construction of the Margaret River winery’s own in-house sparkling bottling line, a first for West Australian wineries, is evidence of Howard Park’s dedication to the style. And the style takes time: the fastest production of methode traditionelle from vine to sale-ready bottle is executed in two years, with the longest timeframe extending to more than three years. It is a laborious, intricate though ultimately rewarding process, with more potential for error than with any other style of wine.