Blue Poles Allouran Cabernet Franc Merlot, Margaret River
The Allouran is a blend of (adjusted for vintage) two-thirds Merlot and one-third Cabernet Franc. The fruit is all sourced from the estates eponymous Blue Poles Vineyard, totalling 6 hectares – half of which is planted to Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
On the vine, the fruit is subject to thinning after fruit set but before veraison. At harvest, the grapes are hand-picked in the cool early morning and any that are not good ‘enough to eat’ are discarded.
After a gentle extraction, the wine is vinified before spending nearly two years in French oak. Inspired by the wines of Saint-Émilion and Pommerol, the Blue Poles wines might be the closest approximation of Bordeaux’s Right Bank in Australia.
Oak is the thing here – layers of clove, cinnamon on the just ripe mulberry, red flesh plum and brined, black olive fruit characters (bouquet and palate). It moves slowly, sinewy, a lazy snake of wine all tight in muscle and flex. The whippet of flavour is pleasing, but forefront is wood, now. I like the tannins, more Italianate than anything here. We need more chat on those tannins – fine, emery board feel, exceptionally long and controlling. A delight. There’s much to like here but we’re seeing something different here. Time is the essence.
92+ points, The Wine Front (September 2019)
A lunchtime Claret sort of blend that is arguably the finest of its type in Australia. Experience on the Right Bank of Bordeaux saw viticulturist Mark Gifford craft a paean to the plusher, loamier blends of the north side of the Dordogne River as it feeds into the Gironde and beyond, to the Atlantic. This said, 16 is a year of savoury wine, light on their feet. Red to blackcurrant, poached plum, spearmint, green bean and dried sage to bay leaf-Bouquet Garni notes are marked by a firmer-than-usual astringency needing food. Extended time in the cellar may soften the tannins, but my bet is on mid-term drinking to take advantage of the fruit and the wine’s effusive energy.
93 points (July 2020)
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.
Blue Poles is a Margaret River boutique winery in Rosa Brook that focuses its efforts on Bordeaux ‘Right Bank’ varieties of Merlot and Cabernet Franc in contrasts to the ‘Left Bank’ Cabernet Sauvignon which dominates the region. The site was selected due to the depth of laterite gravels and nature of the subsoils, the subtle recognition of a cooler micro-climate, and the topography aiding in the ripening of the grapes which preserves acid but maximises tannin and flavour. These small but critical factors have ensured the wines are not manipulated at the winery in any way with the aim of representing the terroir of the site in its purest form.
The vineyard was named after the Jackson Pollock painting Blue Poles: Number 11, 1952. Purchased for the sum of $1 million by the Australian National Gallery in the early 1970s which was controversial in Australia at the time. This purchase, however, is now seen as a watershed in Australian history as it represented a more modern forward-thinking Australia. These traits are echoed by those at Blue Poles Winery in the vineyard and the winery.