249 Western Ave, Montville, 4560
Cellar Door: Thurs-Mon (10.30-5.30)
Ph: (07) 5478 5920
Flame Hill is an ambitious new winery and restaurant located in the former cellar door of the Settlers Rise just outside of Montville, high up at 420m in the Blackhall Ranges. The change of ownership occurred in December 2007.
The name comes from the local Flame Trees and the red volcanic soils. The only estate grown wine at the moment is the Verdelho (grafted onto the former Chardonnay vines) but the rest is sourced from Queensland vineyards.
There is strong portfolio of seriously good wines, a stylish a la carte restaurant and a range of cultural events including art, jazz and classical shows. This is the sort of ambitious top of the range operation that you would find in the Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills or Margaret River rather than the cheap and cheerful pitch of many Queensland wineries.
No wonder the car park was full when we visited. For groups of there is the option of a 45 minute structured tasting in the VIP Room.
The rich Reserve Chardonnay was a total surprise for me. Those looking for something different will enjoy the Cordon Cut Sylvaner, the only one I have heard of in Australia.
There are three types of Tasting notes:
(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)
(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer
(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)
Flame Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2008
Purchased: Not ($40)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, rich and complex with balanced lees, malo and barrel ferment inputs, creamy nectarine, peach and stonefruit with biscuit and honey notes, spicy cashew-vanilla oak and vibrant lemon acids, lovely balance and drive, a really pleasant surprise that would stand up with good Yarra Valley or Margaret River Chardonnay (****1/2)
Flame Hill Barbera 07/08
Purchased: Not ($32)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, I don’t know the story behind the split vintage but the final blend is pretty good, brightly flavoured but thoroughly varietal, long and savoury plum and redcurrant with white pepper, olive and tobacco notes, medium bodied with well judged acidity and fine chalky tannins (****)
Flame Hill Reserve Shiraz 2007
Purchased: Not ($41)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, dense and briary showing blackberry and mulberry with a rich dusting of black pepper, liquorice and toasty brown spices, balanced French and US oak brings spicy cedar-choc aspects, chewy tannins, really needs some medium term cellaring to show its best but should reward patience (****)
Flame Hill Cordon Cut Sylvaner 2005
Purchased: Not ($25)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, the vines are cordon cut to raisen the fruit, lush lime marmalade, dried apple and melon with developed toasty honeysuckle, brisk and chalky lemon acids provide the necessary counter-point (****)
Flame Hill Shiraz 2004
Purchased: Cellar Door ($30)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, took a while in the glass to open up, silky and medium bodied cherry, raspberry and plum with savoury roast meat notes, handsomely spiced with cinnamon, liquorice and black pepper notes, attractive backbone of grainy minerality, reminds me of some of the good northern Rhone Syrah I have been getting into recently although the oak is bit too overt for such good fruit (****)
Flame Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Purchased: Not ($30)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, savoury and medium-full bodied cassis, redcurrant and plum cake with eucalypt and tobacco notes, creamy and medium char coffee-cedar oak and fine, slightly dusty tannins (***1/2)
Flame Hill Semillon 2008
Purchased: Not ($27)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, has had some lees inputs, smoky, long and taut cut grass, melon and lemon citrus with tobacco and biscuit notes, medium term cellaring potential (***1/2)
Flame Hill Verdelho 2009
Purchased: Not ($23)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, rather dry and austere for the variety showing yellow peach, cut grass and lychee infused with chalky minerality with soft acids, the focus on texture has left this a bit too demure for me (***)
Flame Hill Crimson 2008
Purchased: Not ($21)
(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2010, this is effectively their Rose made from Shiraz, Merlot and “Red Muscat”, bright crimson colour, spicy and sweet raspberry and redcurrant with musky notes, crisp acids (***)