Steeped in tradition and history, the founder of Bleasdale, Frank Potts, arrived in Adelaide on the HMS Buffalo in 1836 as one of South Australia's original settlers. Having spent almost 10 years in the Royal Navy during which time he circumnavigated the globe, Frank Potts was a man of extraordinary talents. He was a house builder, worked as a harbor master, constructed his own ketch (the Petrel), and became a trader on nearby Kangaroo Island.
After seeing the fertile flood plains of the River Bremer at Langhorne Creek, located 50 miles to the south-east of Adelaide, Frank Potts acquired 100 acres in 1850 and established Bleasdale. He set about planting crops and after several years planted 30 acres of Shiraz and Verdelho vines. The Bleasdale winery was the first in Langhorne Creek.
Always the innovator, Frank Potts utilized the local red gum timber not only for building the winery but for wine vats, tools and the famous red gum lever press, which operated for over 70 years.
After Frank Potts handed over the reins of the business to three of his sons he continued to build boats, including paddlesteamers and barges along with several yachts. By the time of his death in 1890 the estate and the family had become a significant part of the burgeoning wine industry in South Australia.
Conditions for growing premium wine grapes at Langhorne Creek are ideal thanks to the natural fertility of the floodplain soils, the ability of those soils to retain moisture from natural winter floods and the mild, maritime climate as a consequence of cooling evening breezes off the nearby Lower Murray Lakes and Southern Ocean.
Langhorne Creek has a system of floodgates and levees that are used to regulate the floods, usually 2 or 3 times during winter.
Langhorne Creek is Australia’s largest premium red wine grape growing region, comprised mostly of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon along with Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Verdelho is the region’s best white variety, but 75% of the vineyards are for red wine.
?Bleasdale has 50 hectares of its own under production and sources grapes from a number of growers in the region – some of whom have been supplying grapes for three generations.
Bleasdale produces one of the most diverse portfolios of wines in Australia. From cool climate Adelaide Hills white wines to sparkling Shiraz; flavour packed Langhorne Creek red wines ranging from delicious, great value every day drinking to prestigious small parcels of highly revered Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec; fortified wines made from Shiraz, Grenache and Verdelho that reflect 160 years of winemaking – almost unparalleled.
Senior winemaker Paul Hotker and his team are achieving excellent results in wine shows nationally and internationally and the wines of Bleasdale today are the best they have been in its history. Over the past two years alone they have won 14 trophies and 49 gold medals at these shows.
Paul and his team’s philosophy is to allow the region to express naturally what it produces with minimal influence by winemaking. Often the toughest decision is to do nothing – allow nature to take its course!
The reds have an honest masculinity but are not brutish. The tannin profile consistent throughout Langhorne Creek reds is one of texture which contributes to an approachability not found in other better known regions. Cabernet Sauvignon has elegance and captivating depth of flavour, Shiraz is a ripe fruit style with refined cool climate spice elements and Malbec is perfumed and finely structured. They are definitely statement wines that illustrate the consistent high quality of fruit that comes out of the Langhorne Creek region.
In 2011 Bleasdale began sourcing white varieties from the Adelaide Hills which have quickly built a reputation for quality and value. The Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris are both expressions of purity of fruit whilst the Adelaide Hills Chardonnay portrays great structure and length of fruit – balanced, cool climate Chardonnay.