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Monthly Report - April 2015


The quiet of the vineyard…


Well that is a bit of a porky pie as I am in Manila currently and have been since early April.  The vintage was put to bed early for us, all pressed off and in their respective barrels, with the only issue being if I will buy one or two more new barrels to match in with the quality of wines I have seen from this vintage.  I must admit to be feeling pretty impressed about both 2014 and 2015 vintages, but it is a slow burn as we move through their respective blending and tastings prior to bottling, then bottling and then waiting for them to “chill out” in bottle.


Both the 2008 and 2010 Allouran wines took what seemed an eternity to return to the delicious wines we bottled, and the 2011 Allouran has done a bit the same.  It is important to us that the wines we make are released when they are immediately enjoyable, and as we make the wines with minimal handling and built for the long haul in a cool cellar, this can take an extra year or two on what other wineries would do.  Foolhardy possibly, but we are passionate about getting these wines out to all of our buyers without a series of caveats or excuses.


The vines are sleeping, rain has interspersed glorious autumn days, smoke from end of season burn-offs of the forestry blocks around Margaret River produce spectacular sunsets, and Jackson the wonder dog takes an extra hour to rise as he is starting to feel the cold.  That’s autumn in Margaret River folks, great time to visit and drink wine.


A Philippine Eagle – An extremely rare bird now, snapped while in Davao, Philippines


Teroldego Tales…


Okay folks it is nearly here, the release of our third Teroldego, the 2012.  I am super excited as this may be our best example of the wine and we sort of did everything right that year.  Clive Otto who made the wine feels it provides possibly the best expression of the grape that he has seen from our wines and that is a solid endorsement to the quality.


I did have a bit of a discussion on the region where Teroldego is sourced from way way back in 2010 and I will provide the link HERE and from that it is quite apparent that this alpine variety creates quite a different wine in little old Margaret River, but it still seems to keep some of the Italian character.  Due to this mixed “parentage” you cannot expect simple flavors when drinking our Teroldego, it is a mover (and groover as my Uncle Graeme would say), in the glass and you have to love a wine that shapeshifts over time.


And with the release due, wines were forwarded to a few wine critics and we have had a fantastic response from a very select bunch!  Here are the two tasting notes that have been published, and in addition Max Allen informed us it is also to be featured in the Gourmet Traveler magazine in May.


Wine Front Review - Gary Walsh

I’m pretty tired. It’s pretty late. Yet, there’s nothing quite like a Teroldego to revive the spirits. Amazing to see this grape do so well in coastal climes, but there you have it.

Those nobbly blue ones you find in a box of liquorice all sorts, that’s the main smell, along with meat, hazelnuts, dark chocolate, dark cherries and other manly drawing room kinds of things. Medium to full bodied, all toasted hazelnut rolled in bitter chocolate, shale-like furry tannin and fresh acidity. It’s distinctly Italianate, regardless of it coming from about as far away as you can get from Italy, but never mind: the spirit is true. Finish is rugged, yet precise and ‘minerally’. It’s chunkier, bolder and fleshier than Italian styles, yet delivers the character and charisma of the grape to equal effect. It’s very good. I recommend it unconditionally.


Rated : 93 Points
Tasted : Mar15
Alcohol : 14%
Drink : 2014 - 2022+


A really good score from Gary, and later in the month Philip White wrote an extremely expressive review which highlights the nature of wine.  I will let you read it below, and I will see you on your return:


Blue Poles Margaret River Teroldego 2012;  - Philip White $30; 14% alcohol; screw cap; 93+++ pts


Having worried this bottle for three days, I think I am beginning to listen to it.


Until vigneron/geologist Mark Gifford shyly sent it with a lovely hand-written letter, I had never heard of the variety. Upon opening, it was a tightwad Presbyterian spinster of a thing, exuding not much more than parsimony, sanctimony and piety. Not white and laced and powdered, but black and tanned. What rendered that confusion worse, perversely, was the fact that over those few short days, the Prezzies have gone to the Devil and approved open marriages and the wine seems to have followed them in.


Praised be his precious and healing name!


After three days it's got the sort of smell that makes one's nostril's twitch, as if coming home to one's wife to detect that wicked fleeting whiff of Zorro having just escaped through the casement. The curtains are still moving; the lass is sitting at the hearth, a little flushed. Patting the dress down.


Fanning herself.


It's all black satin and grosgrain and boots of Spanish leather. Moustache wax. Black cigar; licorice. Gun blue. Essence of olive leaf. What was that bastard doing in here? Thrashing the missus with a kalamata branch?


Reminding myself that it's a drink more than than the paranoid dream of the cuckold, I tip some in there. It's a rapacious, slender, wicked sort of thing, intense and slinky, with the sheen of a black panther, the cat not the cats, with tannin like the lick of its big pink tongue. Never had anything like it.


Teroldego, of course, comes from the Tyrol. The Alto Adige, Trentino part of alpine north-eastern Italy, where one can smell the Austrians over the hill. In fact, it smells a little like their Bläufrankisch red wine, with its beetroot and borscht replaced by that rakish whiff of friggin' Zorro.


The extent of these mexing of my mitaphors is a good enough indicator of how the damn thing leaves me twitching, wondering whether to say anything or not.


I would drink it with grilled cacciatore sausage made from the Tyrolean bear larded with the sparse fat of the wild alpine boar. And then I would get down on my knees and grovel to her. I don't want to smell of that. I want to smell like Zorro.


All this confusion comes leavened by the thought that Blue Poles is geologically and vino-spiritually as close as Australia gets to Pomerol and St. Emilion, where I'm sure one can be cuckolded, but I've never smelt Zorro there, yearned for sizzling bear sausage there, or even had the faintest hint of a dream of a drink like this. 


Blue Poles makes Merlot and Cabernet Franc and stuff. Probably the best examples in Australia. This red makes them blue-bi-polar. North pole or south? Where's Jackson Pollock when you need him? Oh, of course. He's screaming up and down the Springs-Fireplace Road in the Olds full of liquor with the top down and a coupla lasses. But look at this fine mess he's left us. Right. Yeah. Nah.


Does that help?

201504_Philip White.jpg


These images are from my 1972 diary. Let them both be a lesson to you. 'Keep a clean nose, carry a fire hose; you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.'

PS: Next day: This is the fourth day I've had this bottle open. The wine is finally settling to a sinuous, lissom, bone dry, wickedly tannic beauty that's beginning to smell like wine. It's a marvellous thing indeed. I'd recommend you flirt with your first bottle for a similar period of time, then stack a six-pack away, and try one each year until you devour the last in 2021, when I'm certain it will blow your cotton pickin socks clean off your feet. I stand by my initial food recommendation. It's a great wine to discuss - keep me informed of your reactions, eh?


This review is mad, outrageous, unquotable, hallucinogenic, without form or shape – and it is pure genius.  I have read it a number of times and it elicits memories and emotions long gone – I see the black panther (Bowie’s music clip for Cat People - Putting out the Fire), I see the curtain flapping in the breeze in my grandmother’s house near the Recreation Ground on Anzac Ave, and I can imagine the late great Gunther Grass eating bear sausage pointing his fork and saying to me “history is the present in disguise”. What can I add?  Just a heartfelt thanks to Philip for actually “seeing” the wine and making the effort to let others use their imagination to see this or any other wine that they enjoy and can ponder over.


So in summary if you have the inclination to enjoy a wine that is both rich and savoury, both complex and drinkable, can be consumed alone or with friends, and improves your looks and mood by 100%, then contact us and we will provide the tonic.  As a guy that also just loves wine, there is a sense of real joy knowing that this wine will be in the hands of 100’s of people who will have an occasion at some point in the future, and they will simply be… happy.  Huzzah!


Above Average...


The prediction from the Bureau of Meteorology is that there will be above average rainfall for this coming Autumn and Winter in the south west of this big state of Western Australia.  And to date you cannot doubt them as we have had some serious rain for this early in the season and it makes me doubly happy to see our wine in barrel after an early vintage.  It has been a wet and cooler vintage end this year, no “Indian Summer” which was the case last year, but rather wild and woolly as weather cold fronts roiled up from the Southern Ocean and begun our period of growing grass and new growth in the forests.


The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:


April 2015:      

Avg Maximum Temp          21.3°C

Daily Max recorded            26.6°C


Avg Minimum Temp           11.0°C               

Daily Min recorded               5.2°C


Rainfall:                               122.0mm

The maximum temperature average was a fair bit lower than last years but the minimums similar, indicating the change of season has come and gone. Rainfall is significantly higher due to the weather patterns moving up from the south much earlier this year.

April 2014:      

Avg Maximum Temp          23.0°C

Daily Max recorded            31.0°C

Avg Minimum Temp           11.2°C

Daily Min recorded               5.2°C


Rainfall:                              18.2mm


Home and abroad…


I finish this report in my condo in Manila, looking out over a cityscape knowing that I will be home on the vineyard by the start of next week.  Busy busy as we hope our mailing list will take up the opportunity to purchase some of the limited Teroldego, prior to me going back to see my parents in New Zealand during the middle of the month for a week or so.  The vines are in recess and I may just spread some organic phosphate rich fertilizer around to get those roots feeling like they can have a rest after 5 years without – Christmas come early for them.


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 and we’ll do our very best to answer any question.





Mark Gifford

Blue Poles Vineyard

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