Being Creative at Flagstone
Experience 4.0 Helderberg Wine 4.0

Being Creative at Flagstone

FLAGSTONE WINES
Wednesday 19 June 2019
http://www.flagstonewines.com/

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

It has been a few weeks since wine tasting due to final Cape Wine Academy Diploma Theory and Tasting exams. I was looking forwards to a break from having my nose deep in books for revision but that was not to be the case. I have aspirations to enrol for WSET Diploma (Level 4) which meant that I had first to pass WSET Level. Thus, my break has been delayed by 10 days with crash revision for more exams on 25 June, part of which is to learn wine tasting the ‘WSET way’. The language and tasting emphasis differ and so I ventured to Flagstone Wines as the venue for my tasting ‘calibration’ with Elizma Myburgh-Venter (more later) as I had not been to the winery before. It was, to coin the Flagstone marketing strap line, a ‘creative’ decision. The winery is located South-West of Somerset Mall in Somerset West close to Paardevlei. Getting there proved to be a little awkward as my iPhone Maps app took me through the Paardevlei security booth to a dead end the wrong side of a fence. Fortunately, Google maps came to my rescue and I easily found Flagstone a few minutes away.

Flagstone

Flagstone

This was not my usual tasting as Elizma chose the wines to teach me what I needed to know to pass the Tasting Exam next week. The Tasting Room is in an old factory building set apart from other like buildings. The surrounds reminded me of a former military base with potholed approach roads and slightly unkempt grass and old fencing. I read after that the building was previously a dynamite factory which explained. The building had been well converted with a small tasting area with cellar behind. Additional, comfortable seating for tasting and offices were upstairs with a fine view over the cellar beneath.

Flagstone

Flagstone

Flagstone is described as ‘a winery without a vineyard’ and is one of South Africa’s first to do so. The business was founded in 1998 by Bruce Jack, one of the first South African winemakers to study winemaking in Roseworthy, Australia. He started the winery in 1999 in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, buying in grapes from 5 core vineyards ranging from the Swartberg to Elim to the Breede River Valley. The business has been housed in the 1901 dynamite factory since 2002 (save for a few years in Stellenbosch) that was due demolition before it was converted into a winery by Bruce Jack. Flagstone is the top brand (the others being Kumala Wines and Fish Hoek Wines) and part of the global Accolade wine group that is headquartered in South Australia. The company is the largest wine company by volume and value in the UK; Kumala is the UK’s number 1 South African wine brand. Flagstone produces wines in 4 ranges: Super Premium; Premium (R50 tasting fee, 3 wines); Foundation Range (R50, choice from 11 wines); and the entry Poetry Range (R20, choice from 8 wines). Red wines overall outweigh white wines (60% production). Selected international wines are available for tasting, much reduced in number, including a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Da Luca Prosecco from Italy.

Flagstone

Flagstone

My tasting began with 2 Sauvignons Blanc, one from South Africa and one from New Zealand. I shall leave the WSET language and learning for another article. Unsurprisingly, the 2 wines were very different. The Free Run Sauvignon Blanc was familiar with classic cool climate (Elgin and Elim) shiny, pale straw appearance and lemon, lime, green pepper and grassy aromas. The palate was fresh and crisp with well integrated high acidity and moderate length. The New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, from Mudhouse, confused on blind tasting. Deeper in colour than the Flagstone wine, the mostly tropical notes of apple, pineapple, lemon, peach, pineapple, melon, quince and slight white honey reminded me of a white blend, perhaps containing Sémillon albeit unlikely due to the absence of oak. This was not a typical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (nor the quality at R90 a bottle) and without the characteristic pungent gooseberry and tinned pea or asparagus aromas.

Flagstone

Flagstone

Elizma selected 2 white wines for the second tasting flight with differing acidity levels to assist with my palate calibration. The first was a well made, affordable Chardonnay that was lightly oaked (6 months) and made from grapes sourced from Wellington and Stellenbosch. The slight oaking showed in the deep straw colour (pale lemon in WSET language) and the subtle vanilla flavours that emerged more on the palate. The nose showed the warm climate origins with tropical melon, passion fruit and nectarine notes overlaying those of ripe apple and sweet lemon. The acidity was higher than many a Chardonnay I have tasted but not unpleasantly so due to its integration to make a pleasant wine with a decent finish.

Flagstone

Flagstone

Beside the Chardonnay was an aromatic and recognisable Viognier, an uncommon cultivar in South Africa, with pronounced aromas of orange blossom, jasmine, honeysuckle, pear, nectarine, rose, acacia (Hungarian oak), lemon and white pepper. The boldness on the nose reminded me of the Viognier I recently tasted at Kleinood (Tamboerskloof) but with less subtlety. The notes well followed through to the palate that showed typical Viognier weight and oily texture. This was another well priced wine, especially so for the cultivar.

Flagstone

Flagstone

Two Cabernets Sauvignon, of different quality and price, completed the tasting and my initial foray into WSET learning. Both were deep ruby in colour with the Music Room showing a fuller body than the Poetry wine. Ripe fruits of mostly black cherry, plum and blackberry, with a hint of mint, eucalyptus and cedar, showed on the nose and palate of the entry Poetry Cabernet. This was clearly the lower quality, and hence lower priced, wine due to the lower complexity and intensity compared with the Music Room from the Premium Range. The latter showed a slight sweetness of ripe and juicy fruits – including mulberry, bramble, pencil shavings and cigar box, together with those of the Poetry – as well as more rounded tannins for an improved balance and length at the finish.

Flagstone

Flagstone

Flagstone well served my needs today. I visited and tasted wines at a new winery (sadly, the Pinot Noir was sold out) and Elizma gave me excellent guidance for my WSET Tasting Exam. Flagstone is not your typical winery as the grapes are bought in and, unlike Leopard’s Leap whose wines are also made from externally sourced grapes, there are no vineyard surrounds. Nonetheless, I recommend a visit. The wines show a broad range of quality with those at mid-price showing good value for money.

Wines tasted (bought *):

White:

2017 Flagstone Free Run Sauvignon Blanc – R110
2015 Mudhouse Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) – R90
2017 Flagstone Two Roads Chardonnay – R110
2018 Flagstone Word of Mouth Viognier – R110

Red:

2018 Flagstone Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon – R56
2018 Flagstone Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon – R280 FAVOURITE WINE

Flagstone

You Might Also Like

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Iconic Steenberg

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

No Black Marks at Raka

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Blush-endal!

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Wines Made to Stand the Taste of Time

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

No Blues at Hillcrest

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Putting Capelands on the Cape Winelands Map!

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Simple Spier

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Great Value in the Swartland

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

Hazendal Fit for a Tsar, a Hare and a God of Wine

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Idiom Wines Make a Statement

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Morgenhof in the Morning

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Diploma Done and Dusted – But for the Final Result – I Passed!

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Wines to Love on Love Street

View from the E-Skaap-ment

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

It’s High Time Again

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

Beyond Expectation

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

More Still at Tanagra

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Waterf-ord More Ord-inary Than Extra-ord-inary

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

Masses of Fun and a little Chaos at the Ambeloui Harvest Festival

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Individual Quality at Jordan

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Boutique de Brendel

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Red Chair in the Morning

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Altitudes with Wine!

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Au Revoir France!

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Mutual Attraction

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Colmant Sparkled

Late at Lateganskop

All Green at Villiera

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

More than Just a Destination

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Wines Merely to Lust After

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

The Vineyard Hotel a Classic Vehicle to Showcase L’Ormarins Wines

Relaxing Rosendal

2 Comments

  1. Simple Spier – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] be wine tasting again having spent much of the last 6 weeks deep in Cape Wine Academy Diploma and WSET Level 3 revision and […]

  2. Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] established Bemind Wyne, value-for-money volume Leopard’s Leap, global brand Kumala wines at Flagstone, or even blend-specialist Paserene, all of whom buy in all their grapes. I particularly liked the […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *