Flor, Spanish for Flower and Marché, French for Market, the name Flor Marché pays homage to owner and winemaker Elizabeth Reed’s winemaking background. Elizabeth started Flor Marché with one tonne of riesling and two barrels of shiraz from the Porongurup and Mount Barker sub-regions of the Great Southern in 2010. For the last 7 years, she has continued to source high quality, single vineyard grapes in small batches to craft her wines. Current varietals include; sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon from Wilyabrup, Margaret River; riesling, pinot noir and shiraz from the Great Southern; and grenache and trebbiano from the Swan Valley.
Flor Marché wines are considered, balanced and beautiful. Perhaps most interesting about them is that owner and winemaker Elizabeth Reed does not shy away from transparency. The event’s wine descriptions were detailed timelines of the wine’s coming into being. A refreshing take when so many wineries label their wines with hyperbole or forced impressions.
Elizabeth was lovely and massively informative. She mentioned that she would always find herself more comfortable back at the winery or vineyard than out promoting her wines in the city but this sentiment did not, however, come across in her conversation, both with us, and the crowd of Grape to Glass.
When telling us about her journey in winemaking Elizabeth made clear that central to her is the building and cultivating of relationships, both professionally and personally. Small batch winemaking can very often be glorified as a solo effort, but Elizabeth is forward and thankful to the range of people who have helped her along her journey as a winemaker.
The first of these influences was university professor Tom Stannage, an inspirational teacher who Elizabeth said “Made me look deep within to evaluate my career path going forwards,” and ultimately prompted her move from studying Arts to Viticulture & Oenology. Elizabeth feels that she has always been “Very split between the Arts and Sciences, and winemaking has been the perfect embodiment and expression of both.” She offered a quote from her favourite author, Tom Robbins, which she believed perfectly, embodied her beliefs that "The scientist keeps the romantic honest and the romantic keeps the scientist human”.
Further along her winemaking journey, Elizabeth credits winemakers Marco Capelli and Ricard Rofes for influence and inspiration. Elizabeth worked for Marco in Napa, California in 2002, Marco “…taught me to approach wine intuitively and trust my senses of smell and taste rather than rely on laboratory analysis. He remains one of my greatest inspirations to this day.’ Ricard, another winemaking influence, established the Can Blau project with Elizabeth in the Montsant DO of Spain in 2004. The project to select the best fruit from vineyards in the Masroig sub-region saw them working for a number of years to create a wine which has become internationally lauded. Elizabeth and Ricard continue to collaborate on projects, working together to produce wine from the Priorat DO for their Catalitzador wine label.
In her current winemaking for Flor Marché, Elizabeth credits the excellent growers from whom she sources fruit, including Eugenio Valenti, an 85-year-old grape grower based in the Swan Valley. Eugenio planted his grapes in 1958, which Elizabeth uses to make her grenache and trebbiano. Such old grapes are a rarity in WA, and Elizabeth is incredibly fond of both the vines and of Eugenio. She is also working with a local potter in Wilyabrup, who has invited her to set up a cellar door in his pottery and gallery space. The two are researching different local clays and techniques to craft locally made amphorae: clay vessels used for wine fermentation. This will be an exciting innovation as the majority of amphorae currently used in Australia are imported from Europe.
Flor Marché wines are approachable and beautiful, all in the same sentence. They are nuanced, exciting wines which I have no doubt would be crowd pleasing enough to bring to a party or housewarming without hesitation.
On top of the four wines included in the tasting, Elizabeth brought up three extra wines: ‘Rizzante’ a riesling Pet Nat, her new release trebbiano, and a naturally fortified grenache.
Between Elizabeth’s special additions, we tried her 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, a beautiful, balanced wine with extended skin contact which gave it chalky tannins. Following this the 2016 Grenache from Eugenio’s 60-year-old grape vines. The Grenache had been left on skins for three weeks after fermenting, and had no contact with oak, leaving an expression of just the fruit with nothing else in the way. The resulting wine felt fruity with a little bit of bite. We're told this isn't a tasting note, but to us the wine felt very 'Red'. We think Red is good.
We continued on to the 2014 Longley Pinot Noir, a crowd favourite which was balanced, and lively. We finished on our personal favourite, the 2015 Elsie Cabernet Sauvignon. Elizabeth tells us the Cabernet Sauvignon was given structure from a subtle use of French oak. It felt warm and inviting. A quintessential, elegant Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon.
Grape To Glass
Hauling over to North Fremantle, this Grape To Glass brought us for our first time to Habitué. A warm, cozy and welcoming refuge from the cool, rainy night.
We met a bunch of fascinating people. nibbled on beautiful appetisers and heard great stories and learned a lot about winemaking from Elizabeth. Again the wines showed up wonderfully in Riedel glasses which we were invited to take home, and in a beautiful touch, this time around the wines were poured by Elizabeth herself and by Neighbourhood Event Co.’s Josh Starick