Flowstone Queen of the Earth Spring Releases

History

Flowstone is born from a culmination of Stuart Pym's rich winemaking experience and Phil Giglia's passion for great wine.

Stuart's winemaking career commenced more than 30 years ago when he moved to Margaret River to help his parents produce with their new wine label Sussex Vale. This vineyard has since become the well-respected Hayshed Hill.

His winemaking experience includes some of Margaret River's best loved names including Voyager Estate (1991-2000), Devil's Lair (2000-2008) and Stella Bella (2008-2013). Stuart also worked at Matilda Bay Brewing Company during the peak of their success in the late '80s and was responsible for several vintages abroad and on Australia's east coast.

With his partner Janice, Stuart started Suckfizzle in 1996 and Stella Bella in 1999. In 2013 he handed over the Stella Bella winemaking reins and moved to flowstone in a permanent capacity, completing the 30-year family involvement in winemaking.

Stuart and Phil first met, appropriately, at a Margaret River Great Estates lunch in the late '90s where a joint passion for wine and a firm friendship was born. Ten years later they created flowstone and the first vines were planted in 2004.

While studying at the University of Western Australia, Phil was introduced to the University Wine Club and his love for the drop began. Work at the George Street Cellars in the late 1980s gave him an appreciation for the breadth of world wine and the myriad of styles and stories it contains. It also enabled him to be in close range off the bottles he would never be able to afford! Phil is now a confirmed wine tragic - which is not a bad thing at all.

Vision

Small is good at Flowstone. We aim to keep our vineyard and range to their current size and continue to strive for excellence in the wines we produce.

We will continue to push the boundaries with our wine styles and varieties to excite people who are as interested and passionate about wine as we are and love to discover new varieties.

We love our beautiful part of the world and living on the land - learning from it and appreciating the connection between our vineyards and what lies beneath the soil and how all the elements work together to create our beautiful wines.

Our label tells the Flowstone story. The two flowing brushstrokes represent the Margaret River horizon, and the flows of water through both landscapes. The solid grey brushstroke which appears on all labels represents the cave landscape, and the coloured brushstroke conveys our vineyard landscapes and our wine varieties.

The reflection of the Flowstone name is inspired by the stunning reflection found in Lake Cave - the Queen of the Earth. All labels are printed on a limestone based label stock, which is 81% limestone with no wood fibre or pulp.

Tasting Notes

2017 Queen of the Earth Cabernet Sauvignon

Margaret River is Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Sauvignon is Margaret River. The Flowstone Queen of the Earth Cabernet Sauvignon is from our home block in Forest Grove.

Tasting note

Appearance: deep purple/red, with purple hues.

Aroma: blackcurrant, red berries, mocha, dark chocolate, hints of violet, with underlying cedar notes. Complex and engaging.

Palate: red and blue fruits to start. The flavours build to a beautifully textural mid palate, supported by the spicy oak, and gently fade with finely honed tannins. The length of the palate is a magical combination of the fruit and silky fine tannins. This wine manages to display a beautifully lithe feel, while still retaining the classic Margaret River structure.

Food ideas: braised venison cheeks, classic meatballs, porcini and herb crusted lamb

Drink: Now and over the next 20 years.

Wine Analysis:
Alcohol: 14.0 % vol. Standard Drinks: 8.1 pH: 3.68 Acidity: 5.7g.lt Residual Sugar: < 0.5g.lt

Technical note

Vineyard: this is the first Queen of the Earth Cabernet Sauvignon from our home block in Forest Grove.

The 2017 season: A warm Spring lead to a healthy start to the season. A few Spring storms damaged some of the early growth, but this is the norm in this region. Vine growth was generally strong, and the vines healthy with a good crop.
The ripening period of February and March was cool, with the ripening process slowed. This leads to wines of finesse, purity, and a wonderfully fresh lightness.
A very unusual rain event in late March, lead to 50 - 75mm of rain over 2 days. The whites were well picked by then, so it was not an issue in this regard.. April was long, mild and dry – a godsend for the reds.
This was a bit of a white-knuckle vintage, but the results are stunning. Another great year for Margaret River!!

Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaking: These grapes were hand harvested on the 12th April – one batch only. Fermentation was in a few open 1 tonne fermenters, with thrice daily plunging. There was no temperature control. Following fermentation, the wine remained on skins for two and a half weeks. Mlf occurred during this period. The wine was subsequently pressed. Pressings wine was included. The wine was allowed to settle for 2 weeks, and then transferred to French oak thin stave barriques. It remained in these barrels for 3 years.
Following barrel maturation, the barrels were blended, fined with free range egg whites, and prepared for bottling.
Bottling was done manually on a four head gravity filler.
After bottling, the wine was then allowed to relax in bottle for a further 15 months prior to being made available for sale.

This wine is 100% bottled under screw cap.

Winefront review posted on 21 October 2021 by Campbell Mattinson

'It was a tricky vintage in these parts but you’d never know it from tasting this wine. This is from Flowstone’s home Forest Grove vineyard.

The spread of tannin, the burst of fruit, the obvious class; this is impressive from the outset. Charry oak and clove characters combine hand-in-glove with deep blackcurrant, briar, blackberry jubes and foresty tobacco. There’s oak here for sure but it’s fully integrated and positive. The length though, that’s the thing. It really kicks on through the finish. A long life lies ahead.'

94+ Points

Halliday Wine Companion 2022 review by Erin Larkin

'Stuart Pym is not afraid of pushing boundaries: 3 years in oak! Well ... it's nowhere near as evident in the glass as it should be, thanks to the pedigree of the fruit. Savoury, dense, flavourful and very long, this is built to last. Buy it now, but don't look at it until 2027.'

96 Points

2018 Queen of the Earth Chardonnay

Margaret River and Chardonnay go hand in hand, but the expressions of this variety across the region are many and varied. The Flowstone Queen of the Earth Chardonnay is from one tiny patch of vines in the southern reaches of the region, and marks the beginning of this vineyards history.

Tasting note

Appearance: white-gold, with pale green highlights.

Aroma: Complex aromas of honey baked beurre bosc pears, stonefruit, roasted hazelnuts, brioche, hints of honeysuckle and creamy lees notes. A beautifully complex expression of Margaret River Chardonnay

Palate: Dense, focussed and intense - perfectly aligning the fruit and oak. The powerful fruit flavours are introspective at the moment, but still hold the palate together. Some years will see them blossom. The oak, lees contact and mlf give additional complexity. There is great texture and length, and a chalky acid to finish. The palate has great power and focus, but is not fat or heavy. This is a serious Chardonnay of substance and moment, that needs a little time in the cellar to really show its greatness.

Food ideas: panko crusted Augusta whiting, classic roast chicken, seafood Paella, aged Cheddar cheese.

Drink: Now and over the next 16 years.

Wine Analysis:
Alcohol: 13.1% vol. Standard Drinks: 7.8 pH: 3.34 Acidity: 6.0 g.lt Residual Sugar: < 0.5g.lt

Technical note

Vineyard: The ninth crop from our home vineyard in Forest Grove. This 0.5 ha was planted in 2004, 1 year after buying the property. A subsequent 1.75 ha of vines was planted in 2008. Our vineyard backs in to the Boranup National Park, and is on a gravelly rise looking west to the Leeuwin Naturalist Limestone Ridge. The total crop of Chardonnay was 1.9 tonne.

The 2018 season: The twelfth consecutive good season for Margaret River - and no, we are not getting sick of saying that. A moderately wet winter led into a typically mild Spring, and the rains dried up as summer began. Summer was warm with a few hot spikes, but ample water in the ground kept the vines in good condition. The ripening period of January and February was moderate, with little or no rain - perfect conditions for the vines.
Yields were moderate, and the grapes could be harvested when they were perfectly ripe. The resultant wines have fantastic intensity and purity.
2018 will go down as an all-time classic for Margaret River.

Blend: 100% Chardonnay.

Winemaking: These grapes were hand harvested on the 22nd February, and whole fruit pressed to retain texture and delicacy. Fermentation was in French oak barriques, 50% of them new, 50% one year old. Following fermentation, mlf was allowed to start, and run through to completion. The wines stayed in these barrels for a total of 18 months, with occassional stirring to suspend the lees. This extended barrel residence time helps to integrate the higher proportion of new oak.
The wine was minimally fined and filtered.
Bottling was done manually with a gravity filler in my shed.
The wine was then allowed to relax in bottle for a further 15 months prior to being made available for sale.

This wine is 100% bottled under screw cap.

Winefront review posted on 14 October 2021 by Gary Walsh

'QOTE. QOTSA.

Lavish clove spice oak, pineapple and pear, pink grapefruit and some struck match. It’s firm, all the juicy pineapple and pink grapefruit, backed with liberal spicy oak, a flinty texture, with some seaweed flavour, and a finish of good length. Powerful, yes, but a whole heap of oak, which may or may not resolve with bottle age. Anachronistic style. Would be a lot better without all that oak obscuring the fruit. Others may differ in opinion.'

90 Points

Halliday Wine Companion 2022 review by Erin Larkin

'18 months in French oak (50% new). The delicate Dijon clone fruit is outdone by the oak in this instance. While this has piercing intensity of fruit, it isn't quite enough to endure through the finish. A beautiful, fascinating, detailed wine made in tiny quantities, in this instance speaking more loudly of oak, than of fruit.'

94 Points

2019 Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is probably the world's most popular white wine, especially in its brightly fruity expression. The Flowstone Sauvignon Blanc harks back to a more palate focussed wine, free of the nervy pressures of immediacy, and allowing the variety to express itself in a more textural and sophisticated manner. The inspirations behind this wine are more from the old home of Sauvignon Blanc than the new. The Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc is a selection of the grapes from the best parts of the vineyard. This is now possible, as the vineyard is operated by Flowstone.

Tasting note

Appearance: white-gold, with pale green highlights.

Aroma: Elderflowers, guava, whole passionfruit, and a subtle underlying creamy note. There is a purity and restraint about this.

Palate: Focussed, elegant, yet still intense – absolute balance. There is a finesse, but great length of flavour, and the palate continues to build.

Food ideas: pan fried crab cakes, classic roast chicken, seared lobster with wild mushrooms and slow roast tomatoes, aged chevre.

Drink: Now and over the next 12 years.

Wine Analysis:
Alcohol: 12.5% vol Standard Drinks: 7.2 pH: 3.34 Acidity: 7.40 g/lt Residual Sugar: < 0.2g.lt

Technical note

Vineyard: Sauvignon Blanc is widely planted across the Margaret River region, however, the best expressions are found in the southern reaches.
This wine is made from the selection of the grapes from the best portions of our 3.0 ha vineyard in Karridale. Soils are gravelly loam, on a westerly aspect. The rows run north/south, and vine spacings are 3.25 x 1.5m/. This vineyard is now leased, and operated, by Flowstone

The 2019 season: A moderate Spring, with a little untimely rainfall lead to a poor fruit set. This lead into another lovely Margaret River Summer, of warmth and sunshine. A little rain at the end of January provided some needed water to the vines. Marri blossom was sparse this year, so the birds were actively looking at the vines. The result is a season of beautifully ripe grapes, but low yields. Another vintage for great Margaret River wines.

Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

Winemaking: These grapes were hand harvested on the 15th of March, and whole fruit pressed to retain finesse and texture. Fermentation was in 1 only 600 l demi muid. Following fermentation, the wine stayed in this barrel for a further 15 months, with occasional stirring to suspend the lees. The wine was minimally fined, filtered and bottled in May the following year. The wine was then allowed to relax in bottle for a further 12 months prior to being made available for sale.

This wine is 100% bottled under screw cap.

Winefront reviews posted on 14 October 2021 by Gary Walsh

'I see my good mate, Erin Larkin, gave this 97 points. I know this because I could not download a bottle image for the wine from the Flowstone website without that additional baggage! So I had to do some more work to find one that’s unadorned.

Smoky, spicy, roast green capsicum, fresh pineapple and guava. It’s spicy, with a fine chalk dust texture, cinnamon spice oak seasoning and some toasty flavours, pink grapefruit and lime, weight and ample texture, a subtle green herb and chilli bitterness, and a long cool finish. It’s a wine of distinct personality and impact. It’s outstanding.'

95 Points

Halliday Wine Companion 2022 review by Erin Larkin

'This is sensational. Serious layers of flavour and texture on the palate show a reverence for the variety by Stuart Pym. Long, lean and lithe; this shares guava, lychee, red apple skins, white stone fruit, exotic spice and a distinct oriental leaning of anise and pink peppercorn. Serious stuff.'

97 Points

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