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Monthly Report - May 2007

All quiet on the western front…


On the vineyard front everything is very quiet on amongst the vines as the last of the growing season completes itself.  Pruning will commence next month, but we will leave the vines to acquire as much carbohydrates as they can within the root mass for next year’s bud burst.  Therefore if I was to only write down what I have done amongst the vines I may as well stop typing now.  So what better time is there to complete tasting trials of all the wines in barrel as well as get out and meet a few people outside of the closed circle I seem to work in during the year.

200705_Paringa - geese in vines_resized.

Paringa Estate - Mornington Peninsula

In early May, Gail and I went through all our wines with our winemaker Sharna Kowalczuk and her assistant Jane.  It was a very inspiring day as it was the first chance to check the recently fermented 2007 reds and whites as well as see how the 2006 has gone in the past 6 months, and with all the promise it is nice to get confirmation.  I will quickly run through the varieties and provide a quick note:


2006 Merlot / Cabernet Franc:  A nose reminiscent of the 05 (which we had open), but deeper and richer.  Really is a step up with the palate a big step forward as well with lots of rich fruits filling the front and back palate, giving the wine more weight and moving up from an elegant wine to more a wine for all seasons.  Also had open a bottle of Chateau Gigault 2000 which is a 70M/30CF blend and both 05 and 06 were the bigger wines with the nose having many similarities but our wines obviously the more ripe.  The tannin management on the Gigault was awesome and the 06 was closer of the pair to the French example.


Expected release date – April-May 2008.


2007 Tempranillo:  With fruit from our friends at the Hopping Stone Vineyard.  Black Red.  A nose that has a hint of liquorice over lots of black fruits (blackberry especially).  Palate is dry and savory after the initial fruit burst.  Really good as a Tempranillo and both Sharna and Jane were most impressed with it.  Should make nice drinking for those of us who are lucky enough to get some.



2007 Viognier:  Honeydew yellow.  Great aromatic nose of apricots, blossom and ginger, super smooth palate with just the right balance of phenolics and rich fruit, very good length.  Great stuff.  Will bottle in July.


Expected release date – August-September 2007.



The 2007 Merlot and Cabernet Franc wines could be something special with this year having the potential to be one of the great Margaret River red wine vintages.  Only time will tell what 2007 has brought us all for our flagship wine.  The Merlot is a big wine, hard to believe it is a Merlot, full of tannins and fruit with rich plums dominant.  The Cabernet Franc is equally big with a huge dose of ripe fruit with tobacco and spice.  Both are black crimson in colour and we are very much looking forward to the blending trials sometime next year as the wines have only just finished ferment and placed in barrel.


In late May I made a flying visit to Melbourne and spent 8 days with Tim and Yuko, our partners in Blue Poles vineyard, as well as friends in the Mornington Peninsula.  It was a very relaxing time and to have the opportunity to try and taste wines with vignerons across the country is very gratifying and confirms to me what a great industry this is.  I have included a photo this month of some geese in between the rows of Paringa Estate in the Mornington Peninsula.  A day was also spent promoting our wines and some restaurants are currently re-arranging their wine lists to incorporate our 2005 Merlot / Cabernet Franc. 


The wine is now available in restaurants in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, and we are looking forward to getting some feedback as we believe our wines are a great accompaniment to fine food.  The 2005 Merlot / Cabernet Franc is drinking better every day and it is great to see it popping up on wine lists in some of our favourite restaurants.



A Mild Autumn …


Daily temperatures have been very mild for the month of May.  The month has passed with no major storm or rain events, just pleasant autumn weather.  The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:

May 2007:     

Avg Maximum Temp          18.5°C

Daily Max recorded            23.3°C


Avg Minimum Temp             11.1°C               

Daily Min recorded               4.2°C


Rainfall:                               56.4mm

In comparison to 2006 the maximum temperatures were a little lower and the minimum temperatures higher, and this is due to a bit more cloud cover associated with the extra rainfall and weak fronts that passed over the region during the month.  Rainfall is very similar but this year there have been 19 rainy days against 13 in 2006.

May 2006:      

Avg Maximum Temp          19.2°C

Daily Max recorded            24.8°C

Avg Minimum Temp             7.1°C

Daily Min recorded              0.9°C


Rainfall:                             50.8mm

The start of pruning…


Pruning will commence this month and continue on for a period of 4-5 weeks if work goes to schedule.  I am very much looking forward to it as pruning is a job that sets out yield and fruit quality and there is a very satisfying feeling when you can see how the plants are growing and how they will develop through your effort.  Like many who own vineyards, this is a job that you really take to heart and will not let go.


Other jobs revolve around another weed spray just to get rid of some of the more persistent weeds, and a touch of liming in the more acidic areas of the vineyard just to keep the soil in shape.  Further promotions are in the wind but having only a small volume of the 2005 left after our release we do not want to disappoint the customers we currently have.

All the best everyone.





Mark Gifford

Blue Poles Vineyard

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