Bleasdale Vineyards, one of Australia’s most awarded small wineries, has continued its run of extraordinary success with winemaker Paul Hotker being named James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year for 2018.
It is the first time a winemaker from the Langhorne Creek wine region has been selected for the coveted award, and comes as Bleasdale retains its Halliday red five-star status for the fifth year in a row.
Halliday, who famously named Langhorne Creek the “most underrated region in Australia”, has been a strong supporter of Hotker’s winemaking talents for several years, recognising his “extraordinary skill” in nurturing high quality fruit into outstanding wines. The 2018 edition of the Halliday Wine Companion sees a swag of Bleasdale wines rated 95 points or above, and the multi-trophy-winning 2015 Wellington Road GSM clocking 98 points.
Paul joined Bleasdale prior to the 2008 vintage with extensive experience in viticulture and winemaking, and was the driving force behind the release of premium wines The Powder Monkey Shiraz, The Iron Duke Cabernet Sauvignon and Double Take Malbec.
The former West Australian can also be credited with differentiating the Bleasdale offering by introducing three Adelaide Hills white wines into the portfolio.
“Wineries such as Bleasdale, which are sourcing fruit from Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills, are blessed with an abundance of quality,” he said.
“The key is to understand and know the potential of the fruit you’re working with and to then preserve and enhance fruit character, remaining mindful of winemaking artefact.
“It can be a tricky thing for a winemaker to attempt not to leave a thumbprint all over a wine.
“Bleasdale has more than 165 years of history behind it. In another 165 years, I don’t want people to talk about the wines that Hotker made; I want them to recognise these wines are good because they are made from superb quality grapes from Langhorne Creek and the Adelaide Hills that were treated with care and respect.”
With a history of exemplary winemaking decisions, Paul is confident in his prediction Langhorne Creek’s future success lies with its proven varietals; Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.
“Malbec is a challenging grape to grow and to work with, yet Bleasdale has been making beautiful Malbec since 1961,” he said. “Simply, Malbec is suited to this region. When we take into account the land around us, the soil, the climate and then we look at the fruit that responds to those elements, that’s when it all comes together.
“That’s not to say we shouldn’t continue to experiment with other red grapes, as indicated by the success of our GSM and the iconic Frank Potts, a Cabernet blend with Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.”
Previous winners of Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year are Sarah Crowe (Yarra Yering – 2017), Peter Fraser (Yangarra – 2016) and Robert Diletti (Castle Rock Estate – 2015).