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Bleasdale Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Six generations of Potts (the proprietors) have been farming these vineyards, but this was my first experience with Bleasdale's solid portfolio." - Wine Advocate
Bleasdale, which has 50 hectares under production, produces around 100,000 cases in total. The principal varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec and the white varietal Verdelho. All the red wines produce the distinctive style of upfront fruit with a soft textural feel to them.
They also produce in limited quantities a red blend that is named Frank Potts after the founder and uses all five Bordeaux varietals. It is the winery's flagship wine and for the money represents one of the better values in all of Australia. It is definitely a statement wine and illustrates the high quality of fruit that comes out of the Langhorne Creek area.
Although Bleasdale is firmly connected to its past, it is nonetheless forward-looking with its eye on the 21st century. A new cellar is just now being completed with state-of-the-art technology, alongside a new hospitality area. The old part of the winery is on the National Trust and National Heritage register.
A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is often misunderstood by consumers. It is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute critters on the label, though both can certainly be found here. It is impossible to make generalizations about a country this physically massive, but most regions are concentrated in the south of the country and experience either warm, dry weather, or more humid, tropical influence. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles.
Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety, typically producing bold, supple reds with sweet, jammy fruit and performing best in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Shiraz, and also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre (often locally referred to as Mataro) are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version, and Semillon is often utilized as its blending partner, or in the Hunter Valley, on its own to make complex, age-worthy whites. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen Muscat is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing, and there are a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.