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2016 Flametree Margaret River Chardonnay

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Cracka Review

Set your world alight with these impeccable wines from Flametree in the Margaret River. In a short space of time, winemaker Cliff Royle has produced some phenomenal wines from some of the best vineyard sites to create his vision of mod-Oz Chardonnay. This is so typical of the region with aromas of pear, grapefruit and supported by integrated French oak. The palate is restrained but immensely flavoursome with a superb texture. All you need to improve a glass of this is a roast chicken or pan-fried salmon.

Winemaker's Notes

2016 Vintage: The 2016 season will be remembered for the unseasonal rain event in January that meant vintage was pushed back a couple of weeks as the vines self-regulated after the rain. Other than this, the season was regarded as being fairly normal with hot days followed by cool nights, pretty much the usual weather pattern for maritime viticulture. As has now become a part of the Flametree Chardonnay style, we were keen to get in early and pick before the flavours moved into the tropical spectrum.

Vineyards: The 2016 Chardonnay is a blend of three vineyards, two from Wallcliffe sub-region and one from the Karridale sub-region of Margaret River. The two Wallcliffe parcels come from vineyards that were planted from cuttings off the famous Leeuwin Estate block 20 vineyard. The third vineyard in Karridale is planted to the highly acclaimed Gin Gin clone.

Winemaking: A mixture of semi turbid and very turbid juices were wild fermented in French oak puncheons and barriques. Only 20% new oak in total, with the remainder second and third use French oak. We favour the wild ferment with low sugars and turbid juices, as we believe the resultant wines have greater complexity both on the palate and on the nose. The 2016 Chardonnay spent 10 months integrating in barrel. In keeping with the theme of making tighter, fresher Chardonnays we didn’t stir the lees or inoculate for MLF.

Tasting Notes: The 2016 Chardonnay has a nice balance of fine fruit flavours and tight structure, very much in line with the new wave of modern Australian Chardonnays. Dried pear, grapefruit, honeydew melon and fig flavours are well supported by subtle French oak. The palate is textured, yet savoury, a direct result of wild ferments with turbid juices. Drink as a young wine or cellar in the medium term.

Food Pairing Notes: Chardonnay wines can be drunk with a variety of foods from the more full flavoured fish and chicken to the crisper, crunchy array of Aussie seafood options.

Alc/vol: 12.8%

expert reviews about

2016 Flametree Margaret River Chardonnay

Expert Reviews

Tyson Stelzer (2010 Vintage) says
A new star has ascended in the West. Cliff Royle has glowed for every one of the 14 vintages he’s been in Margaret River but his latest creation is about to draw the attention of a supernova. It’s proof that MR chard doesn’t need high alcohol, rich fruit, malolactic fermentation or buckets of new oak to shine. Taut, pure, lively, with sensational texture and a line and length of celestial proportions.
2015-2025
Wine Taste - Edition 31
96
James Halliday (2010 Vintage) says
The grapes were grown in the central Wilyabrup area, and the cooler southern Wallcliffe area.  Light straw-green, this is an exceptionally intese wine, with zesty grapefruit, melon skin and white peach flavours threaded around a high tensile chord of acidity running through the palate; oak did the job required of it, but no more.  Will live for a very long time.
2023
96
James Halliday (2009 Vintage) says
Green-yellow, showing some development; a complex bouquet with cashew/almond nuances (along with the colour) suggests a full-bodied chardonnay, but the palate is in fact medium-bodied; fine, intense and long, it is driven by grapefruit and white peach fruit and a precise, dry finish.
Australian Wine Companion 2012 2011
95

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