Blue Poles Vineyard
The month of September is characterized by the completion of budburst through the vineyard and the last of the winter rains. All the various varieties have now completed budburst with the average date being one to two weeks earlier than normal. Below are the various varieties that are in production at Blue Poles and their budburst for 2005 and 2006:
Merlot: 12th Sept 2005 3rd Sept 2006
Marsanne: 25th August 2005 25th August 2006
Viognier: - 6th Sept 2006
Shiraz: 18th Sept 2005 9th Sept 2006
Cab Franc: 28th Sept 2005 20th Sept 2006
The reason for the “jump start” can be attributed to an earlier pruning campaign and a warmer September than in 2005, we hope that the weather remains “average” for the season and we should be able to take advantage of this excellent start to the year. Below is a photo along a Shiraz cane (all Rhône varieties in our vineyard are cane pruned), and you can see the excellent even set that we are achieving out amongst the vines.
The removal of “doubles” (ie where two canes come out of a single bud, one is removed), and all other buds that have popped out in the wrong spots has commenced in the vineyard. This is a time consuming job and is best done while the plants have only just started pushing out the canes as this gives the set canes an opportunity to grow evenly and without stress during the next 3-4 months.
With vineyard work being steady steady, we took the time to bottle our 2005 Blue Poles Merlot / Cabernet Franc and we are extremely happy with the quality of the wine. Our winemakers Sharna and Matt have done a great job with our fruit and have made a wine that is both characteristic of our site and points out the direction we are heading with these varieties. A quick tasting note is as below:
2005 Blue Poles Merlot / Cabernet Franc: A deep plum red wine with a wonderful fragrance rich with plums, cherry and chocolate with a hint of allspice. The palate has the balance of fruit and tannins that fill the mouth and gives into a delicious length.
The wine will be released in November once the bottle shock subsides (the wine hasn’t got the “richness” that it had prior to bottling, but every week this mouth filling habit is coming back into the bottle), and when we have decided how we’ll get the wine out to you all. We know this wine will make a statement with regards to the quality of our estate and we look forward to seeing others enjoy the fruits of our labor.
On top of this changing of the season amongst the vines and the bottling of our wines, there is an air of expectation with the commencement of building of our house on the estate, with the road to our house site completed over the past fortnight. This is an exciting development as we have been waiting for many months for a builder to make themselves available and finally all the stars have been aligned. In the months ahead we’ll provide some up dates and once complete we can look forward to meeting some of our clients and friends on the estate in a lovely setting, rather than in the shed!
Spring is in the air…
Unlike last year where we were still burning fires and dreaming of sunny days, this year spring has been glorious with a few rainy days dispersed between lovely clear mild days. The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:
September 2006: Avg Maximum Temp 17.8oC (Daily Max recorded 24.5oC)
Avg Minimum Temp 9.6oC (Daily Min recorded 2.7oC)
In comparison to 2005 the maximum temperatures were quite a bit higher, with minimum temperatures quite similar. Rainfall is less this year, and to date it has been a very dry winter in the South West of WA.
September 2005: Avg Maximum Temp 16.6oC (Daily Max recorded 20.0oC)
Avg Minimum Temp 9.7oC (Daily Min recorded 5.0oC)
As with last month I’ve included below the weather values for Bordeaux during their equivalent of the first month of spring.
March 2006: Avg Maximum Temp 14.2oC (Daily Max recorded 22.7oC)
Avg Minimum Temp 6.3oC (Daily Min recorded -1.0oC)
Unlike last month the average values are now starting to align with our vineyards, but the rainfall over the period really was positively torrential. A couple of frosty days occurred at the start of the month but bud burst would have only just started so I doubt they would have had major problems there.
Detail, detail, detail…
The work done at the start of every growing season is simply an opportunity to make the vintage ahead much smoother and the grape quality that much better. The shoot thinning will continue this month and should be finished by mid-October, mulching of all the mid-rows will be completed also during the month as well as the first of our protective sprays (powdery mildew). An active eye will be rummaging through the vines on the alert for weevil activity and once spotted we can deal with this pest in a single spray pass using a systemic insecticide that protects all the “good” insects in the vineyard. It is a month of walking and checking, and the result of this work is critical in the making of fine wine.
I’m also hoping to catch a few blue swimmer crabs in Geographe Bay this month so I’ll provide an update on how I went in November.
All the best everyone.
Blue Poles Vineyard