2011 Reserve Merlot
The nose is aromatic, but not of
any single aroma, with the oak a bit more forward and coming across as spice (5
spice / aniseed) and smoke, and the palate a bit more than mid-weight this
year. Tannins smooth and resolved, and very Blue Poles; and this assures us of
years and years of capacity in the bottle. The vintage was meant to be a warm
one, bringing the wines into the soft and cuddly zone – but with the ever
increasing vine age, and our low yields and low irrigation rates it is not
really a soft wine at all – it is a strong willed wine that looks back at you.
If drunk with food (which is one
of life's greater pleasures), we certainly recommend the classic combination of
roast beef with all the trimmings with this wine. Other combinations that
should delight include any game bird (use truffle oil for basting), ox-tail in a
reduced stock, and even classic Hungarian goulash.
under screwcap to ensure the wine made by us arrives to you as we intended it
INDAILY 4 June 2014
who liked the outrageous fru fru floral fragrances of the deadly
Blue Poles Reserve 2010 (94+; reviewed here in April) may find this
bigger, more muscular sweetheart not quite so alluring at first. It
has the same deep reek of prunes and black cherries welling below,
but the top notes here are more along the lines of pale coffee-coloured,
slightly sweaty flesh. Not stale, off sweat, mind you. I mean the
slightly crusty, salty, fresh sort you’ll find on a Tahiti beach. Or
Margaret River, for that matter, duh. It’s a Margaret River thing.
Specially when the Indian Ocean’s deliverin’ big. [Nail your terroir,
Whitey.] And it has a slight white-pepper tingle, too.
When it tumbles
over the little waterfall of your front teeth it turns your mouth
into a very dark pool of swirling mystery. Blackcurrant pressings
and juniper tannins well up across the tongue and just sit there.
Like for five minutes. They don’t even look at you.
It’s so far
removed from the 2010 you could be fooled into thinking this was
made by a different person. Nope. It was made by a different, warmer
vintage. And it serves to rule several bold underlines beneath my
previous assertion that if you look closely into Blue Poles you’ll
see pretty much all the Merlot goalposts in this country, staggering
through that crazy swirl of colour. This is very good wine. Cellar.”
Rated : 93+++ Points
Tasted : Jun2014
Alcohol : 13.9%
Price : $40
Closure : Screwcap
2011 was a warm vintage and
the Merlot vines were under a bit of stress for most of the summer (as was the
whole of Margaret River). The Merlot area with the shallower clay to the east
was holding up well, but the section closer to the Cabernet Franc was
approaching full ripeness. I waited as long as I could to resolve the tannins,
and then picked off half of the grapes near the Cabernet Franc in one tranche
(stopping the pick by 9.45am as temperatures were already creeping up to 30°C),
and then a few days later picked off the other half. Surprisingly the sugar and
acid was pretty similar from both batches, and they were made separately so as
to be able to follow their evolution.
When the blends were made in late 2012 it became apparent that both batches had
come back to the Blue Poles taste, but with the better aromatics from the first
pick, and the better depth of flavor in the second. After much juggling a total
of 5 barrels were selected for the blend, and they comprised of 3 from the early
pick and 2 from the latter.
So in summary: Picked on the
18 & 22 March, the fruit came off in excellent condition and went through
fermentation and malolactic fermentation like a dream. With a selection of new
and 1-2yo oak the wine was kept in barrel for 18 months before bottling in
November 2012. Only 5 barrels were selected in June 2012 blending trials for
this Reserve wine.