2018 Ulithorne Frux Frugis Shiraz
The 2018 Ulithorne 'Frux Frugis' (pronounced Frucks Frou-gis) Shiraz is 1000% a success...even without the name meaning so! We're feeling the love this September, not only from the back label, but in our glasses. With Peter Flewellyn at the helm, this 2018 vintage of the Ulithorne Frux Frugis, is something of beauty.
This premium shiraz has been delicately handcrafted by the team at Ulithorne Wines, in Blewitt Springs, a sub-region of the McLaren Vale, in South Australia. Looking for only the finest, select parcels (parcels are specific rows of vines, viticulturists/vignerons isolate, name and proceed to worship) of their 50-year-old, old-vine shiraz. Having already spent 12-months in French oak (60/40: new/old respectively), the team then blended only the exceptional barrels, and allowed them to mature in oak, for a further 12-months.
The name, meaning fruit of the earth (Latin), had us marvelling at the decadent depth of colour, vibrant fruit aromas and seductive legs falling inside the glass. Hand-harvested, hand-sorted, and with meticulous eyes watching over the full 24-months in oak, each bottle of this shiraz has been honoured with patience and love. Only available in limited quantities, we've been very lucky to share this special wine with you this month.
In McLaren Vale, shiraz is still key, with grenache taking some of the limelight these past few years, it's allowed Peter and his team breathing space to further nurture the wine to its exceptional best. The Blewitt Springs subregion, where this single vineyard fruit grows, allows these 50-year-old vines to flourish. The vines grow unirrigated, with sand-over-clay soils. The sand allows for easy drainage, and the roots to grow deeper into the sub-soil. Originally bush vines, Peter and the team have encouraged the old vines up, onto trellis. This allows for a greater, and more even, fruit ripening across these special few rows. Encouraging the greatest level of concentration and depth of flavour these old vines can produce.
The 2018 vintage was perfectly warm, not too hot, and dry. Allowing the fruit a longer, even, growing season. Ensuring a perfection of fruit ripeness, and fully-developed tannins. When comparing an earlier vintage of the wine, Peter remarks "The 2016 vintage was a much warmer, and dryer year" relative to the longer, and milder 2018 season. He continues "we find the 2018 fruit is lifted, more fragrant and perfumed. The power, structure and overall balance has evolved into a more complete and exceptional wine. There has been every effort gone into the making of this special wine, the care of tasting each and every barrel, to select only the best, in order to deliver this finished wine".
Settle into the armchair
Enchanted by the colour and depth of the wine, you too, will be captivated by the romance of decanting and enjoying this shiraz. Not convinced? When was the last time you did something for the first time? If nothing jumps to mind from the last seven days, Frux' is here for you. You’re welcome!
With leading aromas of ripe blue and juicy red berries, the clove, cedar and pepper spice take a slight backseat, with a gentle vanilla overlay. The ripe fruit and tannin dance together on the palate, offering rich dark plum, blackberry and spice. The delicate tannins carry the length, and coat the mouth with dark chocolate, cedar box, and pepper. You'll revel in the way the wine continues to reveal more with every sip. Enjoyed with a little time open in the bottle, or after decanting, this wine will have your attention and invite you back for more. You won't be disappointed.
"Blewitt Springs fruit. Micro-fermented in new and used French wood after hand harvesting. The right portions of each, judging by a finely hewn bridle if tannins, controlling and directing the fray. As far as warm-climate shiraz goes, this is good. Contemporary in terms of lifted florals and a modicum of tension. Avuncular in terms of weight, power and the armchair you'll need to settle into after drinking it. Finishes with a dose of heat."
– 95 points
As mentioned, the wine has been lovingly nurtured in French oak for 24-months, so we really want to allow it to open up, and unravel its full spectrum of beauty…As they say, with great power, comes great responsibility. One quick way to not only add romance to the wine experience, but speed up the ‘unravelling’ is to decant the wine. Peter suggests, "It would benefit from decanting. I'd allow 30-40 minutes after you've decanted it to then check how it's opening up." Revisiting the wine whilst in the glass, we found it a great way to discover the many layers of fruit complexity this shiraz offers.
The wine has such opulence, delivering rich fruit ripeness of dark plum, black cherry, mulberry and blackberry notes, it proceeds to share gentle vanilla and toasted cedar aromas. After decanting, the wines fine tannins become even more welcoming. Supremely delicate, clove, cedar box, dark chocolate and blueberries dance on the palate for what seems like a lifetime. This queen is ready for the ball.
Patience and love
You'll notice this wine is wax-sealed. Wax-sealing wines (cork or diam closures) isn't new, but it’s fast becoming the go-to for smaller, premium, single-vineyard wines. Often a beautiful point of difference, finesse, and romance, it allows wine lovers to appreciate that each bottle has been hand-dipped. Signalling the wine is not only for special occasions but also offers an extra level of cork-protection should you be cellaring this wine (Drink-to date: 2034).
We'll let you in on a wax-seal life-hack...Grab your corkscrew, don't be scared, you can simply dive right into the wax over the cork. The corkscrew will pierce the wax perfectly, whilst you continue to twist as per normal. As you begin to lift the cork, the wax cap will split easily from the top of the bottle, cleanly tearing and allowing the cork to pull through easily. Once you've successfully removed the cork, please allow yourself a quality-control-splash in your glass. You need to make sure the wine is showcasing the ripe fruits of the earth remember – just as the winemaker intended.
"The wine has such opulence, delivering rich fruit ripeness of dark plum, black cherry, mulberry and blackberry notes, it proceeds to share gentle vanilla and toasted cedar aromas. After decanting, the wines fine tannins become even more welcoming. Supremely delicate, clove, cedar box, dark chocolate and blueberries dance on the palate for what seems like a lifetime."
What we're eating
When asked, the team at Ulithorne were quick to mention that this wine is very well suited to roasted meats, as the structure and tannins of the wine, will cut through the fats, and texture of the meat. So, head to your local butcher immediately, because you're going to need a fatty Tomahawk steak with this one.
What is a Tomahawk you ask? We left this one to the experts at Meatsmith:
Possibly one of the most favoured cuts if you ask any butcher, a Tomahawk is a large rib eye, carved straight from the rib. A part of the animal that is rarely worked, the marbling of this steak produces a rich and buttery flavour with a satisfyingly tender texture.
Cook the steak to your liking and serve with roasted beetroot, hasselback style potatoes, and a good chop salad.
Learn how to cook the perfect Tomahawk steak below.
This month's wine is all about sipping back and relaxing into this luxe velvet glass. Our September playlist is best described as dinner party music with enough familiarty to groove along too, balanced by lo-fi beats.