Oh the flame trees will blind the weary driver
And there’s nothing else could set fire to this town
There’s no change, there’s no pace
Everything within its place
Just makes it harder to believe that she won’t be around
Don Walker and Steve Prestwich from Cold Chisel wrote “Flame Trees” 30 years ago. It might be “sentimental bullshit” but at the same time, a wonderfully composed, heartfelt song which captures the imagery of returning to the working class town that they grew up in: With love, loss and friendship all neatly hemmed into 4/4 time. Flametree Wines and Cliff Royle are a relatively newcomer on the vinous landscape, and just continue to kick goals. Nothing seems to stop them on the field. They took out the Jimmy Watson trophy with their first red release in 2008 and recently picked up equal 2nd place in James Halliday’s Chardonnay Challenge. Talk about being multi talented. It’s not hard to believe that they’re going to be around for a long time.
Flametree, Shiraz, Frankland River/Ferguson Valley, 2013
Reaching further afield here for the fruit than just Margaret River. Ferguson Valley is slightly inland and up from Busselton, still part of the Geographe Wine Region.
Old oak, wild ferment. Earthy and jubey red and blue plummy fruit. Some herby sundried tomato with a good meaty depth. Nutty and heady nutmeg spice. Enters the mouth with a silkiness before gravelly tannins interrupt the flow. Red fruit falls away to bittersweet chocolate. A little Vegemite saltiness lingers. A serious shiraz, slightly awkward for the moment. Integration to come, have patience. There’ll be change, there’ll be pace, Everything will be in its place.
Flametree, Cabernet/Merlot, Margaret River , 2013
66% Cabernet, 21% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot. Matured in 30% new French Oak.
Petit Verdot is like a stupidly hot chilli, you don’t need much for it to carry through. Here it really pushes that violet flower and dusty quality. Almost gravitas.
Deep campfire ash, blood plums, blackcurrant, violets and blackberry preserve. Throw in green capsicum and fallen/drying eucalyptus leaves. Cabernet elegance, with fine plentiful tannins wrapping around a lovely dark fruited core. Blackcurrants and black olives mix with riper Merlot and Malbec rich plum and chocolate. The diminuendo of fruit falls to a whisper before the voice of savoury structure reinvigorates the cry, like Barnesy hitting the high notes. Just stinkingly good value and spot on drinking right now. Settle in.
Wine samples courtesy of Flametree Wines