|General Manager/Winemaker Cliff Royle and Winery Manager Julian Scott|
Now ten years young, what makes the Flametree story a little more interesting is that they do not own one vineyard. Sure, there are plenty of producers in the same position nation wide, however, it's the consistently high standard across these wines at varied price points which continues to set an impressive trend.
Royle himself is no slouch having spent 12 years as Chief Winemaker at Voyager Estate. Langton's Master of Wine, Andrew Caillard, says, "Winemaker Cliff Royle is regarded by critics as one of the most gifted winemakers of his generation."
Of all the wines produced, Royle has a soft spot for Chardonnay. "Chardonnay makes the greatest white wines in the world," he says. "Top White Burgundy and Blanc de Blanc Champagnes are the benchmark to which we can all learn valuable lessons with regard to structure, balance and complexity. Am I trying to make these wines? No. I’m learning how to make Margaret River wines more interesting whilst keeping great examples of these wines in the back of my mind. We get so much raw fruit power in Margaret River, I just think we can look harder at making our wines a little less fruit driven whilst more savoury and complex."
Royle is also determined to make wines in the more elegant spectrum. "We’re not looking just at power," he goes on to say. "We want the wines to have a nice line, purity and perfume. We talk a lot about playing to the strengths of the region and harnessing the sub-regional characters within those wines. We like Chardonnay from Wallcliffe/Karridale to have a tight line of grapefruit, citrus and stone fruits." These whites are picked
Not owning a vineyard and sourcing from 20 different sites enables Flametree to find great parcels in any given vintage. Royle adds, "The other advantage to not being locked into your own vineyard fruit is that you’re able to change direction with trends in the market with relative ease. We can make more Chardonnay if we need, whilst pulling back on Sauvignon Blanc Semillon if the market is heading that way." Another added bonus is the ability to monitor stock levels closely and adjust production levels on individual lines quickly. With his General Manager hat on, Royle goes on to say, "In a tight cash flow industry, this is a real advantage for a brand like Flametree. We have good long term grower relationships that provide us with plenty of options for all three levels of our wines."
|Inside the Flametree Cellar Door|
With an ever growing band of loyal members, the future is looking bright. "We’d like to be considered part of the newer brigade who offer great value and quality across our entire range of wines - a reliable producer with a quality product, a strong brand with a good reputation."
The future of Flametree for the next ten years looks to be in very safe hands.