8th October 2014
Stuart Pym may not be a household name, but he has made wine (and beer) that many of us have enjoyed over the years. After a stint at Matilda Bay Brewery making beer, Stuart returned to Margaret River to pursue winemaking as a career.
Stuart spent time at Voyager Estate, before moving on to Devil’s Lair and then Suckfizzle/Stella Bella. Whilst still consulting to Suckfizzle, Stuart has now struck out on his own under the Flowstone label.
The winery is located in Forrest Grove, south of the Margaret River township, with the vineyard planted in 2004 and 2008. Fruit has been sourced from established vineyards around the region, selected for the style of wine that Stuart is trying to craft.
Early results are excellent. The wines tasted here are the second vintage released by the winery and, refreshingly, it is great to see both the whites and reds being released with a little bottle age, at a time when the likes of Penfolds are bringing forward the release of their premium wines.
I found the Chardonnays to be particularly interesting as they have been produced in quite different styles. The standard wine is rich and textured, with immediate appeal, whereas the Queen of the Earth is finer and more restrained. Again, the extra time in bottle is helping here.
Flowstone – Chardonnay – 2011 (18). Opens with a lovely nose that balances ripe fruit notes with complex, barrel-ferment characters. Complex, worked, textured and chewy on the palate, with struck-match complexity. Very long and powerful, this is a dense and expansive wine that is complemented by the barrel-ferment characters and the inclusion of 20% new oak. (RRP $35).
Flowstone – Chardonnay – Queen of the Earth – 2011 (18 – 18.5). Subtle and restrained by comparison to the standard wine. Very fine and long, with underlying power that is tightly controlled. There is clearly very high quality oak here, but this does not dominate the fruit. Citrus characters to close. Will improve with another year or two in bottle. From the wineries “Home Vineyard”, the oak is 50% new and 50% 1 year old. (RRP $55).
Flowstone – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2009 (18). More fruit intensity on the nose compared to the red blend. The palate is textured, chewy and vibrant, with ample tannins coating the finish. Quite a powerful wine that needs a big steak or a few years in the cellar, but does benefit from the extra couple of years in bottle. A serious wine that spent 3 years in oak (100% new). (RRP $75).