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Reserve Merlot

2015 Reserve Merlot

Since 2007 we have selected a Reserve wine from individual varieties at Blue Poles when both the vintage and the variety allows for the wine to be exceptional. As such they represent the best varietal wine that we can produce from our site in the heart of Margaret River.  2015 was a warm Margaret River red wine vintage with an early budburst as spring warmed early, and then followed by a warm dry January and February (but with few heat extremes – steady warmth all the way through). In early March the grapes were approaching ripeness 2 weeks in advance of our usual picking dates, but the early start to the vintage meant the grapes were not reduced in flavour or balance. Two major rain events occurred in the middle of March and we picked the Merlot before any rain had managed to soak into our dry soil, meaning the grapes came off in exceptional shape. A very good year for reds, giving opportunity for solid flavour retention and tannin concentration.

 

The fruit was severely thinned prior to veraison, and handpicked early one morning. Any grapes that were considered not good “enough to eat” were dropped on the ground.  Only 6 barrels selected for the Reserve. 

 

The technical data on these grapes are as below:

 

Merlot:          Picked 17 March 2015

                      Total weight 6,324 kg

                      Baume 13.2

                      pH 3.35

                      TA 5.80

The wine was curated by Clive Otto and Kate Morgan and fermented in a closed vat and continuously “pumped over” to extract colour and tannins softly, with ferment being completed after 14 days.  The wine was pressed and placed in French oak barrels and stored for 22 months. 

This wine was made by tasting and re-tasting every barrel of wine that we had produced from the 2015 vintage and came across a combination of 6 barrels that was simply exemplary.  Our usual volume of Reserve Merlot was achieved this year with the larger crop and the balancing barrels produced an exceptional Allouran. A “masculine” and concentrated wine, medium-well weighted with great length – this wine is strongly structured but feels “deep”. Will last for decades and suits slow roasted red meats as an accompaniment to an opened bottle.

Gary Walsh - www.winefront.com.au

"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

Tasted: Aug 2017

Alcohol: 13.3%

Price: $40

Closure: Screwcap

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2014 Reserve Merlot

Campbell Mattinson – www.winefront.com.au

"Blue Poles is located in the heart of Margaret River, geographically, but otherwise seems to sit outside the main flow of things. It does things its own way; it’s a renegade of the classic varieties. The quantities produced are usually minor; it’s the insider’s outsider.

This is the first reserve merlot from the estate in a few years. It’s not particularly profound or deep or intense; you’d almost say it’s curious as to why it warranted the ‘reserve’ tag. It is though well-balanced and complex, with blond tobacco and briar herb notes flashing through black cherry, saltbush, mulberry and dried gum leaves. Oak plays a role, supportive at most, just enough to add an extra layer of positive pleasure. Tannin, ultra fine, is perfectly managed. Indeed that is the wine’s ‘thing’: balance, structure, the composure to take age with ease.”

 

Rated : 93 Points
Tasted : May 2016
Alcohol : 13.8%
Price : $40
Closure : Screwcap

Technical Details

When the vintage allows, we generate Reserve wines of individual varieties at Blue Poles, and as such they represent the best varietal wine that we can produce from our site in the heart of Margaret River.  2014 was a classic Margaret River red wine vintage with a cold and wet start to spring conditions, leading into a dry and eventually hot early summer.  The conditions in summer were warm and dry with February / March having limited very hot days ensuring that the grapes were perfectly ripe and concentrated in flavour due to the longer season.  A great year for reds and whites, giving opportunity for solid flavour retention and tannin concentration.

The fruit was severely thinned prior to veraison, and handpicked early one morning. Any grapes that were considered not good “enough to eat” were dropped on the ground.  The technical data on these grapes are as below:

 

Merlot:                        Picked 24 March 2014

                                    Total weight 3120 kg

                                    Baume 13.7

                                    pH 3.39

                                    TA 5.80

 

The wine was curated by Clive Otto and Kate Morgan and fermented in a closed vat and continuously “pumped over” to extract colour and tannins softly, with ferment being completed after 12 days.  The wine was pressed and placed in French oak barrels and stored for 20 months. 

 

This wine was made by tasting and retasting every barrel of wine that we had produced from the 2014 vintage and came across a combination of 3 barrels that was simply exemplary.  A reduced volume of Reserve Merlot was required so as to fulfil the requirements of the Allouran, but this in no way reduced the quality of this offering. A gyroscopically balanced wine, medium weight with great length – this wine is strongly structured but feels “easy”. Will last for decades and suits slow roasted red meats as an accompaniment to an opened bottle.

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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.

 

Sealed under screwcap to ensure the wine made by us arrives to you as we intended it to.

 

Reviews

Philip White, INDAILY 4 June 2014

“Those 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

 

Technical Details

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.

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2010 Reserve Merlot

The 2010 Reserve Merlot is a deep garnet / black with a nose full of red fruits, lifted by sweet tobacco and spice.  The palate is full, rich and generous, giving in to a delicious length.  A wine that has the ability to age 5-15 years, but by drinking it now you can be assured of a perfect glass of red.

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.

Sealed under screwcap to ensure the wine made by us arrives to you as we intended it to.

 

Awards

19 November 2012 - Winner Best Merlot at the 2013 Good Wine Guide Awards (The Age & SMH)

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Nick Stock - This demonstrates just how alluring and seductive great Merlot can be, offering floral perfume and pristine ripeness, something that most varietal merlot wines struggle to achieve.  Beautiful attention to detail in the vineyard is proudly on display here. 94 Points

Reviews

Gary Walsh, www.winefront.com.au

“Raspberry, red currant, a slight gum leaf and stalky top note (or perfume if you’d rather), tobacco and lovely oak – discreet and savoury – perfect. It’s fresh and medium weight with clear fruit definition, some gentle herbal characters, and a dynamic and vibrant feel. Shape and control — bend and stretch — this is a well toned wine with bright acid and firm dry tannin. More strict than the plump 2008, but certainly longer and finer. A re-visit 48 hours later revealed a little more earth and truffle, but also some chocolate and cherry richness – still fresh and showing no sign of tiring. In the long run, I suspect a better wine than the 2008, though it needs some time to strut its stuff. Touch and go for 94 points. Wait for it.”

 

Rated : 93+ Points
Tasted : Jul10
Alcohol : 13.2%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap

Drink : 2014 - 2020+

Jeremy Pringle, www.winewilleatitself.com

“Could this be the best Blue Poles Reserve Merlot yet? In time I reckon the answer will be yes. It’s a touch introverted at the moment but time in the decanter (or a second day of tasting) and it’s happy to converse. A long stint in the cellar is what it really deserves though.

Purity of fruit along with the most tastefully pitched chocolate and pencil shaving oak. Red toned highlights; blacker, earthier depths. I’m seeing a lot of restraint and composure in 2010 reds from the Margaret River and this is no exception. Leaf and tobacco add to the refined feel. Medium bodied, unforced, structured and long. Exciting Australian Merlot. Excellent.”

Technical Details

This is our third Reserve wine made at Blue Poles, and as such represents the best wine that we can produce from our site in the heart of Margaret River.  2010 was a warm Margaret River red wine vintage with dry spring conditions, leading into a dry and hot early summer ensuring good flowering conditions.  The conditions in summer were warm and dry but cooled slightly over February / March ensuring that the grapes were perfectly ripe and concentrated in flavour due to the longer season.  An excellent year for the region, though harvests were reduced due to very hot conditions in January causing some sunburn to the exposed grapes.

 

The fruit was severely thinned prior to veraison, and handpicked early one morning.  Any grapes that were considered not "good enough to eat" were dropped on the ground.  The technical data on these grapes are as below:

 

Merlot:     Picked:                23 March 2010

                 Total weight:      7,009kg

                 Baume:               13.4

                 pH:                      3.36

                 TA:                      6.1

 

The wine was fermented in a closed vat and continuously "pumped over" to extract colour and tannins softly, with ferment being completed after 10 days.  The wine was pressed and placed in French oak barrels and stored for 19 months.

 

The wine was made by tasting and re-tasting every barrel of wine that we produced from the 2010 vintage and came across a combination of 5 barrels that was simply exemplary.  The structure of the wine, the poise and the tautness of all the wine elements were critical in the selection process - and when combined prior to bottling we realised that we have managed to continue this fine vein of wines under this label.  Nearly 100% Merlot (there is a touch of cabernet Franc), this wine mimics the wines of Pomerol in Bordeaux much to our delight.

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2008 Reserve Merlot

The 2008 Reserve Merlot is a deep dark red coloured wine with a classic lifted nose of plums and berries with a hint of red capsicum and spice, in a framework of delicious subtle oak.  The palate is rich and deep with amazing pure intensity of both fruit flavours and smooth interwoven French oak.  The tannins are polished, fine and strong giving a window to view this wines great potential.  A wine that has the ability to age 5-15 years, but by drinking it now you can be assured of a perfect glass of red.

 

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.

 

Sealed under screwcap to ensure the wine made by us arrives to you as we intended it to.

Article

 

Link - The Weekly Review - 8 September 2010

Reviews

Campbell Mattinson and Gary Walsh, The Big Red Wine Book 2010/11, Hardie Grant Books

“Fresh and well weighted with good balance and length. This has all the bases of a fine wine covered.  It has lovely oak treatment too – its flavours already meshing with the grape-derived notes of blackberry, plum, menthol and fragrant pipe tobacco.  It’s medium bodied with supple fine grained tannins and a kind of drawing-room charm.  It doesn’t quite fill all the corners of the mouth, but given time to mature, we reckon it will. Lovely.”

 

Rated : 94 Points
Tasted : Feb10
Alcohol : 14%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap

Drink : 2012 - 2020

Testimonials

Finding interesting, regionally true wines to add to our lists is always a difficult task. A task that seems infinitely more difficult when looking at the Margaret River region. Perhaps it is the tyranny of distance that stops many from making it across to the east coast.  Whatever the reason the wines we crave to fill spots on the list just do not seem to come along very often. Thankfully we have been lucky enough recently to have the Reserve Merlot 2008 from Blue Poles thrust under our noses. A vibrant, varietal wine that benefits from deft winemaking which manages to happily strut the prowess of the region, variety and winemaker all in the same breath. 

Mark Protheroe – Head Sommelier, Grossi Florentino         

Technical Details

This is our second Reserve wine made at Blue Poles and as such represents the best wine that we can produce from our site in the heart of Margaret River.  The 2008 vintage was classical for Margaret River red wine with initially quite wet spring conditions, leading into a dry but still early summer ensuring good flowering conditions.  The conditions in summer were warm and dry, and that means the grapes were perfectly ripe with concentrated flavours due to the longer season.  All of the vines had little to no disease pressure and were not damaged by birds that miraculously left the vines alone due to the proliferation of blossom from the surrounding Marri trees.  A year that almost guarantees the quality of the wine!

 

The fruit was severely thinned prior to harvest, and handpicked early one morning, any grapes that were considered not "good enough to eat" were dropped on the ground.  The technical data on these grapes are as below:

 

Merlot:       Picked:                29 March 2008

                   Total weight:      7,942 kg

                   Brix:                    24.8

                   pH:                      3.43

                   TA:                      4.90

 

Sharna Kowalczuk, in her last vintage for Vasse River Wines, made this wine and she completed an exemplarily job with our grapes from ferment to barrel along with the new and talented winemaker Dave Johnson completing the process through to bottling.  The wine was fermented in a closed vat and continuously “pumped over” to extract colour and tannins softly, with ferment being completed after 10 days.  The wine was pressed and placed in French oak barrels and stored for 19 months. 

 

This wine was made by tasting and re-tasting every barrel of wine that we had produced from the 2008 vintage until we came across a combination of 6 barrels that was simply exemplary.  The structure of the wine, the poise and the tautness of all the wines elements were critical in the selection process – and when combined prior to bottling we realised that we have managed to continue this fine vein of wines under this label.  Nearly 100% Merlot (there is a touch of Cabernet Franc); this wine mimics the wines of Pomerol in Bordeaux much to our delight.

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2007 Reserve Merlot

The 2007 Reserve Merlot is a deep plum red coloured wine with a vibrant lifted nose of red fruits from stone to berries, with a framework of delicious subtle oak.  The palate is totally in balance with bright fruits framed by smoky oak and the tannins smoothness and strength which nod to its potential.  A wine that has the ability to age 5-15 years, but by drinking it now you can be assured of a perfect glass of red.

 

If drunk with food (which is certainly recommended as there are few greater pleasures), we suggest the classic combination of roast beef with all the trimmings with this wine. Other combinations that should provide delight include pheasant (use truffle oil for basting), Ox tail in a reduced stock, and homemade beef and kidney pie (don’t skimp on the meat!).

 

Sealed under screwcap to ensure the wine made by us arrives to you as we intended it to.

Reviews:

 

Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front

"This is released next month and if you have any bent for classically-styled merlot, you’d be doing well to grab yourself some of this.

Great to smell, great to drink, great to contemplate what it’s going to become. It has concentration of mulberried, blackberried flavour but really that’s not its game. Its ‘thing’ is structure, a minerally strut of tannin, tobacco-like edges and perfect form in the mouth. It drinks well the minute you open it, and even better a day later. There are some eucalypt-y notes and various, subtle, complexing notes - but there’s no need to list or count them. The wine is, simply, excellent. I don’t even like merlot but I’ll be buying some of this."

 

Rated : 94 Points
Tasted : Mar09
Alcohol : 14%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap

Drink : 2012 - 2020

The Wine Front

Technical Details

 

This is the first Reserve wine made at Blue Poles, and as such represents the best wine that we can produce from our site in the heart of Margaret River.  2007 was a red wine vintage that may go down as one of the region’s best, perfect warm spring conditions led into a mild but still warm summer that meant the grapes were perfectly ripe and full of flavour the earliest in our short vineyards history.  All of the vines had little to no disease pressure and were not damaged by birds that miraculously left the vines alone due to the proliferation of blossom from the surrounding Marri trees.  A wonderful year to be a vigneron!

 

The fruit was severely thinned prior to harvest, and just prior to the first and only time we have used a mechanical harvester, any grapes that were considered not good “enough to eat” were dropped on the ground.  The technical data on these grapes are as below:

 

Merlot:       Picked 15 March 2007

                   Total weight 7,509 kg

                   Brix 24.8

                   pH 3.22

                   TA 5.60

 

We were fortunate enough to have Sharna Kowalczuk from Vasse River Wines make our wine and she completed an exemplarily job with our grapes from arrival through to bottling.  The wine was fermented in a closed vat and continuously “pumped over” to extract colour and tannins softly, with ferment being completed after 10 days.  The wine was pressed and placed in French oak barrels and stored for 17 months. 

 

Our first reserve wine was made by tasting and retasting every barrel of wine that we had produced from the 2007 vintage until we came across a combination of 4 barrels that was simply exemplary.  The structure of the wine, the poise and the tautness of all the wines elements were critical in the selection process – and when combined prior to bottling we realised that we had managed to produce a very special wine from our vines in Osmington, Margaret River.  Nearly 100% Merlot (there is a touch of Cabernet Franc); this wine mimics the wines of Pomerol in Bordeaux much to our delight.

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