Blue Poles Vineyard
Here we go!
The release of the Blue Poles 2015 Reserve wines to all the mailing list happened this month with the loading of the monthly report. As you know we have discussed these wines a number of times and we are very excited with the quality and the consistency of the Reserves. So here is the run down:
2015 Reserve Merlot and 2015 Reserve Cabernet Franc
2015 Reserve Merlot
Let me start by saying this, the Reserve Merlots that I have selected are my proudest single achievements over the 16 years of the vineyard. It can be argued that the Allouran is our “best” wine, but much of that wine’s beauty comes from the natural synergy between Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and in a way, I was following a French template that was well understood. But the making of a stand-alone Merlot was my choice and I backed the quality of the wine from the first “great” vintage we had back in 2007. All the components of the wine are from but a few barrels, there is no manipulation, no hedging bets – I select the barrels that make the most balanced and “pitch perfect” wine that I can with the variety.
Earlier winemakers played no role in the selections and often simply walked away – no interest at all – and selling these more expensive wines at the start was hard work. But I knew. I knew that they would age beautifully. I knew that their complexity would grow. And, I knew that they represented something of value. Thus, opening one of those earlier vintages grown on vines that were 6-7 years old at the time is a real buzz for me.
This 2015 Reserve Merlot is special – not because it is so much better than the previous vintages – but because the vintage allowed these grapes to be ripened perfectly and with the increasing age of the vines we are now seeing some real depth and gravitas. It tells me I have done the right thing, and it tells me it will age with a grace that we haven’t seen before.
We have had a series of reviews come in over the past month or so to provide some support for the wine – and they are all uniformly positive.
Gary Walsh, Wine Front– August 2017 (full review here - subscription required)
"Supple and sensual, with velour tannin, and a thickness and density that’s delivered with a light touch. Plum and red fruits, baking spices and ginger biscuits, dried mint and aniseed, and perhaps a little sweet tobacco too. Pushes through the finish with impressive length, earthy tannin, black olive, and a fresh strawberry vibrancy both in flavour and acidity. There’s not many better Merlots made in this country, I’ll warrant."
Rated: 94+ Points
Max Allen, AFR – August 2017 (find
the review here)
"In Margaret River, Mark Gifford and Tim Markwell of Blue Poles vineyard produce outstanding merlot, both as a single varietal reserve wine, and blended with cabernet franc under the Allouran label.
Give this young wine a good splash into a big glass or a decanter to reveal all its charm. It starts out elegant and gently fragrant, with powdery, fine-grained tannins, but with air it opens beautifully to reveal richer flavours of black olive, bay leaf, blood plums and beef stock. The kind of merlot you want in your cellar."
Philip White, Drinkster – July 2017 (full review here)
“Creamy, slick and syrupy to sniff, the first thought here is about how this variety dances so well blended with Cabernet franc. This is the camembert cream to franc's dry chalk.
While its mouth form is silky-slick, it still has some grainy, dusty velvet in its tannin, but the similarity finishes there. This is a more fine, slim, tender wine. It's willowy and lithe. Solo, it's a different dance again.
The mystery of Merlot lies in its deep earthy mossiness, which seems an unlikely key to such supple elegance. It's something about the fungi of healthy soils, and how the shroomish protein structure is much closer to the animal world than to any plants. That flesh. Like that little hollow of soft scented neck ideally placed for nuzzling right below the human ear. Mmmmmm. Lick. Dribble. Whisper.
But there is always tannin to match the shimmer in the best of the Merlots. Nothing like the big franc's funkier, croaky blues holler, but more that Astrid Gilberto silk with the appropriate hesitance to hit the beat or the note precisely, which is what these brilliant dances revolve around. …
Another thing. Considering the decades of research, drilling holes, planning and effort that's gone into this duo, and then their sublime quality, $40 is piffle.”
2015 Reserve Cabernet Franc
A follow up to the absolutely delicious 2014, the 2015 vintage had sufficient barrels of quality Cabernet Franc to ensure a Reserve wine could be selected without harming the composition of the Merlot / Cabernet Franc blend, of which the Franc is a critical component. It is also important here to note that this wine should be known as “Yuko’s Request”, as this wine was only part of the Blue Poles inventory due to Tim’s wife Yuko insisting that we consider bottling off a unique straight Cabernet Franc. For many years I just wouldn’t do it, the straight Cabernet Franc in barrel was monotone and constrained and I didn’t believe it had the strength of character to be a unique wine. This all changed with the 2014 vintage, and the 2015 vintage has managed to meet this highest standard creating this wine we are releasing this month.
Tim takes over Eldridge Estate at the Blue Poles Pop-up Tasting
The big wet...
August has been rainfall central with good falls occurring throughout the month, with only the last few days of the month having some respite. Over 20 days of the month recorded some rain in the gauge and it was a rare sight to see blue skies overhead.
The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:
Avg Maximum Temp 16.6oC (Daily Max recorded 21.3oC)
Avg Minimum Temp 8.8oC (Daily Min recorded 3.0oC)
The maximum temperature average this month was warmer than last year due to the extra cloud cover, with the minimum average this year being a little higher with no very cold nights. The rainfall total is higher than last years, and combined with July we have had an average amount of winter rainfall after such a dry June to commence the season.
Avg Maximum Temp 15.6oC (Daily Max recorded 19.3oC)
Avg Minimum Temp 7.5oC (Daily Min recorded 1.4oC)
Let’s get started…
September is a busy busy month – so much to do as the vineyard starts coming back to life. It is a month of repair and replace as well with the vineyard 16 years old and many of the posts and steels are starting to wobble and now need replacing, I have done about 300-400 but I reckon there is a further 200 to go which is a good work out over a couple of days. The activated biochar gets spread, as well as some other fertilisers and lime, and the first protective spray might be out by the end of the month as well. On top of this I will be sending out the wines ordered from the Reserve release, and there is nothing more satisfying than posting wines out to fellow friends. I do hope you all get to try the wines as they will be most probably sold out in the coming month or so, so if you would like a few bottles do not delay your order!
As always if you have any queries about what’s been written or about wine in general, do not hesitate to contact us either by email or www.twitter.com/bluepoles and we’ll do our very best to answer any question.
Blue Poles Vineyard