Massive red that's chockers with big flavours of black cherry, damson, black tea, smoky oak and gunflint. Rich and minerally in texture, with a coffee bean sheen, smooth tannins and a long, complex finish.
Should be decanted for 4-12 hours.
"This is right in the heart of medium-bodied shiraz, black cherry, plum and blackberry fruits encased in a silken web of tannins, and a fleeting glimpse of French oak. Yes, it's $20. 96 points. To 2030."
- James Halliday, 2017 Australian Wine Companion.
To put this score in context, 96 points is normally the preserve of $60-100 (about €40-70) wines, defined by Halliday himself as "Outstanding; wines of gold medal standard, usually with a great pedigree." Bleasdale have only been making wines since 1850 so I guess that covers the pedigree part.
We'd strongly recommended extended decanting for this one. We found the wine quite tight initially and much more impressive and reflective of its score on the second day. Alternatively, lay it down for a year or two and we anticipate it will develop further - Halliday suggests up to 13 years more cellaring so there's plenty of development time to come here.
Frank Potts, an immigrant from England, founded Bleasdale in 1850, and six generations later his descendants form the second-oldest wine family in Australia (after Yalumba.) The name comes from a local Reverend, Ignatius Bleasdale, who advocated a “sober, wine-drinking community that excludes ardent spirits.” An anti-temperance priest suited Frank's ironic sense of humour, so he immortalised him in his winery. Top wine critic Robert Parker is a Bleasdale fan, noting that it “produces some of the most reliable, fairly-priced wines around."
In 2018, Bleasdale winemaker Paul Hotker was named James Halliday's Australian Winemaker of the Year, the first time a winemaker from the Langhorne Creek wine region has been selected for the coveted award.
Langhorne Creek is a productive region in South Australia that all of the Aussie wine giants source from to avail of the reliably ripe, clean fruit. Situated on a flood plain that is well supplied with irrigation water from the Mount Lofty Ranges (a huge advantage in this arid continent), it is cooled by breezes that blow off the Southern Ocean and Lake Alexandria, giving a temperate, long growing season.