This past Friday I attended the 2014 Flam Noble launch event at the winery. Sometimes they do this with a full dinner – other times it’s wines and cheese to start with the current Blanc and Rose and then a tasting of selected library wines with the pre-release Noble. This year was the latter – which is just fine as both the Blanc and Rosé are very nice its a really an enjoyable light fun mid-morning tasting .
This year, in addition to the Noble, the library wines selected were the 2010 Merlot, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (both served out of magnums) and the 2012 Noble (served out of a double mag). Lastly, I decide to finish up the morning by tasting the other 2018 Reserve releases – namely the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Here are my notes in the order of tasting :
2017 Flam Rosé – Made of Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot, the wine comes in at 13% ABV. Nice bright nose with juicy red cherries and spice. Great acid – but not overdone. Nose carries through to the mouth. Well done. Nice rebound from last year which was underwhelming. This is perennially my wife’s favorite Rose – so we stock up – even though it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum. This year, it’s worth it.
2017 Flam Blanc – As always, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, the wine also clocks in at 13% ABV. A nice hit of lemon on the nose, in the mouth citrus and saline with some flint. Very refreshing.
2010 Merlot Reserve – This was served out of a magnum and was predictably showing younger than the last regular format bottle that I had about a year ago. All of the development was there – those nice earthy aromas, but where as with the regular format bottle the tannin has been very well integrated and the leaving the fruit more exposed (which I guess some people perceive as sweet) here, the tannin is till very firm with great acid to prop up the ripe dark fruit. While this bottle is still in it’s prime and has a couple of years ahead of it, it’s a magnum – so if you are holding a regular bottle – time to drink….
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – WOW – This was also served out of a magnum and was by far the star of the day for me. On the nose tons of earth and warm spice. In the mouth an old word monster with earth, tobacco, dark red ripe fruit. There is a healthy amount of acid here with still very firm tannin and a medium + body. Really this wine is a work of art and is probably my favorite single varietal Flam wine to date. As opposed to the 2010 Merlot mentioned above, this wine has time ahead of it even in regular format bottles – but is drinking beautifully now.
2012 Flam Noble – This was served out of a double-magnum. To date this actually my least favorite of the Nobles though that doesn’t mean it’s a bad wine. The wine even in the double magnum shows ready. Dark red and blue ripe fruit still up front – but unfolding nicely. A bit of tobacco and spice on the long finish. Very nice. This wine is ready but should hold for while too.
2014 Flam Noble – Pre-Release – I have to assume the selection of the ’12 to immediately precede it was intentional as the ’14 is closest in style to it of all the other Nobles. The tannin here is super-soft with medium+ acidity. The wine is well made and nicely balanced. With dark red and blue fruits – though slightly less ripe than the ’12 IMHO. It’s a really nice drink – that will be fully ready earlier than previous Nobles. Hard to tell what exactly what the window is here as I really wasn’t expecting the core to be that soft. Interesting indeed. I actually like it bit better than the ’12 flavor-wise I guess.
2016 Flam Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – If 2014 Noble showed a pretty direct line to the 2012, the 2016 CS shows and even closer link to the aforementioned 2011 CS. This wine is a blockbuster. Super psyched. Very young and far from, ready. Beautiful dirty wine with tobacco spice and red and dark ripe fruit. Mouth coating tannin and medium plus acidity should have this one going for quite a while. Most old-world release since the ’11 Noble. This is a wine to stock up on. Like it so much that I ended up spending more time than I should have sitting with it. Michal started losing patience with me.
2016 Flam Merlot Reserve – On the opposite side of the spectrum, the 2016 Merlot shows very fruit forward with bright red juicy fruit good acid and tannin. Didn’t have a lot of time left to spend with it – worth revisiting again.
2016 Flam Syrah Reserve – This was the weakest wine by far – and the only one that I would really pass on. There was something about it that felt disjointed. The body was thinner than I would’ve expected as well. Very ripe up front. As noted just above, I was out of time so i didn’t type much more – but it was the only wine that day that I felt really didn’t impress at all.
Just to make things complete for the 2018 releases, even though not sampled at this tasting, my notes for the 2016 Flam Classico can be found here.
My thanks to Flam for a really wonderful tasting!