James Kellie arrived in Western Australia’s Great Southern Region in 1998, intending to make a pit stop on the way to settling in Tasmania to make wine. He landed his dream winemaking at the renowned Howard Park, hoping to fine-tune his skills and learn as much as he could before making the move to Tasmania. It’s safe to say, after discovering the quality and diversity that the Great Southern region had to offer, he never made it to Tassie. While at Howard Park, James Kellie started making wine on contract for Harewood Estate, and when the winery came on the market in 2003, James saw the opportunity to secure one of the region’s best vineyards and the chance to develop his ideas for a brand that exclusively encapsulated the entire region, so he took the plunge and purchased Harewood.
In 2017, James introduced the FLUX range as a home for his experimental wine projects, which have the freedom to come and go with each vintage. The term ‘flux’ indicates a state of continuous movement, flow and frequent change, which is the goal of this experimental range. James’ wines in his Harewood range are hallmarks of restraint, purity of fruit and clean expressions of acidity, while his varietal choices are classics in the region, so when he was approached with some diverse grape varieties, at least by the standards of Western Australia, he felt compelled to work with these parcels. These varieties were outside the bounds of what Harewood Estate normally does, and while James wanted to work with them, he knew they needed their own platform.
With the FLUX range you really can judge a book by its cover. What is in the bottle and what’s on the label are the intriguing result of an experimental process. In these wines there is more freedom, but an equal attention to detail as can be found in James’ other wines. The mystique of the wine’s production is encoded within the label itself. In what may be a world first for wine label design, the FLUX labels are created using a printing technology where each successive label is transformed by an algorithm that is loaded with vineyard and wine numerical data. This is a collection of unique numbers: date and time of harvest, tonnes harvested, GPS coordinates, volume of the wine and much more. This algorithm developed 10,000 one-of-a-kind wine labels as in nature, each design is unique, unrepeatable and endless- Flux by name, Flux by nature.
95 pts – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): Fruit from Frankland River and Denmark. The classic sauvignon blanc/semillon is bookended by gewürtz and riesling – this is a proper white blend. All the varieties are like passengers on a carousel, gently bobbing up and down, taking it in turns to go in and out of view. Lovely, lyrical, spicy and refreshing. The gewürtztraminer is the last to leave the palate, leaving a wisp of lychee, rosewater and crushed pistachio in its wake.
The free run juice was fermented in powerful French oak coopered in Burgundy introducing spicey, toasty complexity and rich creamy texture. Additionally, the wine was allowed to go through secondary malolactic fermentation further softening the wine and enhancing the rich savoury textures. Aromas of toasty oak and roasted cashews support rich nectarine fruit with hints of melon complementing a long grapefruit finish.
92 pts – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): This is showing its age on the nose, but in the mouth it translates as minerality: it is an Alka-Seltzer character which is most appealing. Jasmine tea, snow peas, cloudy apple, cleansing … it is quite a surprise. Wet rocks and shale, graphite and beach sand … These are odd characters to write down, but they come from the wine, not from thin air. There’s a lot going on. I like it.
A light crimson with hints of purple. An intense nose of black cherry and dark fruits supported by complex hints of liquorice and spice. Rich flavours of blackberry and ripe plum are complemented by more complex notes of spice and aniseed on the mid palate. The wine finishes with hints of black cherry and coffee bean supported by velvety tannins and toasty French oak.