Blue Poles Hopping Stone Tempranillo 2007

The second Blue Poles Vineyard wine to be tasted at Full Pour and, like the first, a thought-provoking little number. 

A complex nose that balances spice and sweet fruit with aplomb. There’s a nice vibe to the aroma, with cherry-like fruit and very well-balanced chocolate and nougat oak, plus a light blanket of brown spice and a shake of pepper. There’s a lot going on, but the overall impression is of juicy straightforwardness, in the same way a good steak seems to express a world of flavour while remaining a single ingredient.
In the mouth, a lovely mix of fruit, spice and quite assertive tannin. More cherries squish on the tongue with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, plus some slightly leafy notes.  Some cedar-like oak, though very much in the background, contributes a bit of spine to the flavour profile. I like the structure here; the tannins are abundant and almost chalky, quite delicious in fact, and the acid is lively and fine, providing a lovely blanket on which all the other elements can rest. Overall, the wine is medium bodied and shoots for elegance above density or sheer power. Very good length, which may grow more impressive as the wine ages and its structure allows the fruit to flow more freely.
This is an extremely convincing expression of Tempranillo that makes a great case for this combination of region and variety.

Blue Poles Vineyard
Price: $A22
Closure: Stelvin

5 thoughts on “Blue Poles Hopping Stone Tempranillo 2007

  1. Apart from the fact that I rate this as the equal best Australian Tempranillo I have tasted (and that I think our TNs overlap nicely), it shows one other thing.

    Wolf Blass was talking absolute rubbish to Decanter recently when he said that Australia is “confusing” the consumer with all these “alternative” varietals and should stick to Shiraz and Cabernet. Or something like that. He was talking such rubbish I couldn’t be bothered going back to the link to check specifics;)

    • The problem for me isn’t so much that there’s a proliferation of new varieties, but that consumers identify wines with varieties in the first place. Now, I know it’s not as simple as all that, but in the fine wine stakes (in which this Blue Poles wine is a player), it seems to me that relying on varieties as the key identifier for wines is simplistic and limiting, and ultimately ignores the elements that make a wine unique to Australia (versus Spain, etc).

  2. Keeping me on my toes 😉 Yes, I got a little heated over “that” Decanter article. With regards to Blue Poles it is worth making your point more than the one I made. The Reserve Merlot doesn’t taste (to me) like any/all Australian Merlot and neither does the Viognier resemble many others.

    Of course, I don’t think we can get away from our “Varietal” labelling very easily. A change that big would confuse the consumer. No answer do I have 🙂

  3. That’s it – the thing is, having placed our eggs into the varietal basket, it becomes hard to differentiate between a Cabernet from Chile and Coonawarra, at least from a casual consumer’s point of view. Not that our regions have no profile, but we’ve not exactly placed them front and centre in the way we market our wines to the mainstream. I dunno – lots of facets to the argument(s), and perhaps equally complex answers are required.

  4. The answer, if it exists would indeed be complex. Another problematic to labeling regionality is that, unlike say France, we are (I’m happy to say) free to plant whatever varieties we want in Australia and the New World.

    So to call the Blue Poles Reserve Merlot or Tempranillo a Margaret River red would confuse it with the perdominant plantings of Cabernet. To call the Ble Poles Viognier a Margaret River White would lead to assumptions that it tastes like a Sem/Sav, which it doesn’t.

    The Blue Poles range is regional, but regionality is not as uniform here in Australia as much of the Old World.

    And we both know Lake’s Folly Chardonnay is not a Hunter semillon 😉

    Perhaps labels could begin by making their region as clearly marked on the bottle as the variety. But that could be a very risky business proposition for lesser known regions (the Granite Belt would cark it overnight). It’s a very tough and complex issue, as you say.

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