Bleasdale winemaker is best in the country

By Melissa Keogh

The “underrated” wine region of Langhorne Creek has received a boost after one of its winemakers received the ultimate nod from Australia’s top wine critic.

Paul Hotker of fifth-generation vineyard Bleasdale has been named James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year for 2018, a win bound to push Langhorne Creek to centre stage.

In a first for the region, the accolade is a “once in a lifetime achievement” for Paul, who says the benefits to the region will be “enormous”.

“It’s very overwhelming and hard to stay focused,” he says.

Halliday, who famously named Langhorne Creek as the “most underrated region in Australia”, has supported Paul for several years, recognising his “extraordinary skill”.

caption caption.

James Halliday, left, Bleasdale senior winemaker Paul Hotker and Wine Australia chairman Brian Walsh.

“James receives 6000 samples each year and obviously he was quite taken by some of ours,” Paul says.

“He’s been a supporter of ours and keeping an eye on what we’re doing.”

Often overlooked by other SA wine capitals, such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek has been home to growers and wineries for six generations.

Bleasdale’s founder, Frank Potts, was a pioneer of the region after settling on the flood plain in 1850 and planting the district’s first grapes in the 1860s.

Langhorne Creek growers supply fruit to many SA leading wineries which have gone on to win Jimmy Watson trophies – another prestigious Australian wine award.

Paul says Langhorne Creek’s climate – including the influence of Lake Alexandrina – and the proximity to Adelaide were two of its biggest advantages.

“It’s regularly 10C cooler here than in Adelaide,” he says.

“The proximity to Adelaide is terrific … it’s a genuine country town.”

Paul Hotker says Langhorne Creek's cool climate and proximity to Adelaide make it the ideal wine region to visit.

Paul Hotker says Langhorne Creek’s cool climate and proximity to Adelaide make it the ideal wine region to visit.

Paul joined Bleasdale in 2007 and was the driving force behind the release of The Powder Monkey Shiraz, The Iron Duke Cabernet Sauvignon and Double Take Malbec

However, his timeless favourite is the Frank Potts Cabernet Blend.

“When you take the best of everything how could you fail,” Paul says.

“It’s a blend – adding so much more complexity and points of interest.

“There’s always something always new coming out of it.”

Bleasdale also retains its Halliday red five star status – a measure of excellence – for the fifth year in a row.

This weekend (August 12 and 13) Bleasdale will dig deep into its cellars and offer tastings of its 1982 Vintage Port, among with other drops, for the region’s Cellar Treasures Weekend.

Cellar doors across Langhorne Creek will unearth their finest wines and offer specialty tastings, food and experiences.

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