Mon Tout range and one from Oregon
There is no denying that almost every wine that TKR receives from the Burch family portfolio gets high marks.
The questions asked of TKR could be: “Are you receiving envelopes full of sticky used notes each month?” “Has the Burch family paid for your house renovations?” “Do you go on luxury holidays paid for by the Burch family?”
Sadly, despite many a hint from TKR, the Burch family has remained honest and upright in its dealings, either in cash or kind. Though TK did attend the Burch 30th birthday cerebrations in Brisbane, and the family paid for dinner and accommodation.
The Burch portfolio is extensive, so about once a month, a wine (or three or six) arrives. The retail price is on the bottle and there are accompanying notes on vintage and production as well as tasting notes.
Recently, a pack of wines arrived with the moniker Mon Tout (French for “my all”). All the basic information was there, with the difference being that the wines came from Richard Burch. It raised the question: “What’s the story?”
“Mon Tout is an offshoot of HPW [Howard Park Wines]. I started Mon Tout in 2013 as a small batch winemaking project dedicated to making wine in a more natural way (basically minimal chemicals, sulphur, filtration and fining). I have always had a keen interest in wines made this way and persuaded Dad [Jeff Burch] to let me have a go making the wines (under a new brand) in collaboration with our senior winemaker Janice McDonald.
“I get a lot of help from the winemaking team in Margaret River as I am not a winemaker, and even more in recent years as I have now six months to go for an MBA which started in 2016 at Monash University full-time.
“The first few vintages of Mon Tout (which included a shiraz and chardonnay only) were exclusively from the Leston and Allingham vineyards in Margaret River. Janice McDonald and I used some of the fruit that was specially grown for Pascal Marchand for the Marchand & Burch Shiraz, which stopped production due to poor sales. Shiraz didn’t really fit in with the whole Burgundian connection, I think Pascal just wanted to play with some shiraz. It was really nice fruit, and although it was not certified organic or biodynamic, it had a lot of biodynamic treatment in the vineyard, which was Pascal Marchand’s influence on our viticultural team since the M&B partnership began in 2007.
“The winemaking styles for Howard Park have always been very traditional and Mon Tout has been an opportunity for the winemaking team and myself to experiment making wines in a totally different way. We all have a lot of fun with the wines and enjoy trying new things [with] the wines each year, which results in a lot of vintage variation from year to year. This year we added a rosé to the list, which has been very popular.”
Mon Tout Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2016: This has 9 per cent semillon, which tames the aggressive SB, both on nose and palate. It pleases from start to finish; the balance is superb. 93 points and value at $23.
Mon Tout Margaret River Chardonnay 2016: A light, perfumed nose to start that deepens as chardonnay aromas come into play the longer one lingers. It’s also light on entry, but don’t be deceived. It opens one beautiful chardonnay petal after another as it travels. Stops short of being great, but it’s damn good. 94 points and value at $29.
Mon Tout Margaret River Rosé 2016: A mix of pinot noir (77.5 per cent), shiraz (18 per cent) and pinot gris (4.5 per cent). The notes say the wine includes 4 per cent from Manjimup, but not which 4 per cent. A fragrant nose, light on the palate, but flavours come through. It’s sound enough but also disjointed; the flow is interrupted and a hard edge creeps in. 89 points and there are plenty of rosé wines around at $25 or less.
Mon Tout Great Southern Shiraz 2016: A beautiful, long, winding road of gentle flavours that, though soft, make an impression. The journey is not only enjoyable but worthwhile. Soft red fruits with savoury edges would also describe it. The journey is one thing, but the arrival is another, and this is very impressive as it terminates. 94 points and worth $29.
The Truffle & Wine Co Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir 2014: In the fruit aspect and the balance of acid and tannin, this wine is spot on. The only part I find lacking: there aren’t enough savoury characters, but that could just be a personal preference. It’s a 94-point wine but very much at the top end of a suitable price at $100.
The wine is made for the Truffle Company by the Ponzi family, who settled in the Willamette Valley in the 1960s. They make a range of pinot noir that in Australian terms retails from $38 to $135, so perhaps the $100 mark is not out of the ball park. I haven’t visited Oregon since the 1980s, but I have admired their pinots since the ’70s. On one visit I asked why they weren’t better known, why the Oregon PN reputation wasn’t being enhanced. The reply was simple: at the time, 90 per cent of Oregon wine, and probably more of pinot noir, was being sold in the state. Also, at that time interstate shipping was almost non-existent, and what was sold outside the state went through wholesalers, so there was no need to “blow the horn”, I was told.