What Australian wine region produces our greatest cabernet sauvignon? It was a question posed by this column a couple of years ago, with the suggestion that unassuming Langhorne Creek must be a serious contender for the title.

The sheer joy of Langhorne Creek’s soft, elegant, fruit-driven cabernet is now on centre stage, with the region’s pioneering Bleasdale Vineyards being awarded the mantle of Halliday Wine Companion 2024 Winery of the Year.

It’s a victory for unpretentious winemaking that puts value ahead of vanity at every price point. As The Australian Wine Club president James Halliday says, there’s “value across the board” at Bleasdale.

To celebrate this recognition, The Australian Wine Club has delved into the cellar this week to pull together four Bleasdale classics for a mixed dozen deal, including the flagship cabernet blend named after the pioneer who grew the first vineyards and founded the winery in 1850, Frank Potts.

“There’s an argument to say that the Bleasdale winery, both historically and most certainly at the hand of winemaker Paul Hotker, should be regarded as every Australian wine lover’s best friend,’’ the Halliday tasting team said last week.

In the 2024 Wine Companion guide, Bleasdale has a remarkable 22 wines ranked at 93 points or higher, including 16 at 95 points or higher. And Bleasdale’s top cabernet sauvignon, The Iron Duke 2021, was named Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year for a second year in a row, beating the best from Australia’s most lauded cabernet regions, Margaret River, Coonawarra and the Yarra Valley.

“Stylistically, we have always backed in our wine style, we make wines that are approachable, delicious and uplifted, fruit-driven wines that are balanced with subtle oak integration,’’ Bleasdale general manager Leigh Warren says.

As Leigh says, one of the secrets to Langhorne Creek’s success with cabernet is the summer breeze that rolls in from the Southern Ocean, across Lake Alexandrina, cooling the vines and enabling the grapes to ripen evenly.

“The grapes ripen evenly across the vineyard and we can pick fairly early in the season,’’ he says. “We have ripe fruit – not overripe, and not green – but at the right Baume level (which indicates the grapes’ sugar level and therefore the potential alcohol in the wine).”

You won’t find a Bleasdale wine carrying 15% alcohol – instead you’ll find the wines coming in around the 13.5%-14% mark but still bursting with beautiful, ripe fruit flavours.

So more than 170 years after that young English settler planted the region’s first vineyard on the Bremer River and established Bleasdale, the winery is getting the plaudits it deserves.

Five generations later, the family of Frank Potts are still at the helm and as passionate as ever about making consistently great wine at decent prices. And the word is Bleasdale’s yet-to-be-released 2022 red wines are just as good, if not better, than what’s come before.


Bleasdale Frank Potts Langhorne Creek Cabernet Blend 2018

Named after Bleasdale’s intrepid founder, the 2018 blend was made up of 69% cabernet sauvignon, 16% merlot, 10% petit verdot and 5% malbec. In a beautiful drinking window now with characteristic soft Langhorne Creek fruit flavours flecked with savoury details: a finely honed fusion of blackcurrants and blackberries, leather, pencil shavings, earthiness and spicy vanillin cedar.

Structured tannins, balanced acidity. Elegance that would give a Bordeaux a run for its money. 95 points from Halliday and a red star for exceptional value. 14% alc; RRP $39 a bottle.

SPECIALS $37 a bottle in straight dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Bleasdale mixed dozen.

Bleasdale Generations Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2019

Dark plums and milk chocolate on the nose, with hints of blackberry and cracked pepper. Concentrated fruit flavours on the palate – plum and bramble and hints of vanilla. Vibrant fruit encased in a soft, velvety envelope. Perfectly proportioned, a pleasure to drink.

The Halliday Wine Companion adds: “Best of all, there’s a chalky texture through the palate that adds a more-ish and sophisticated feel to the finish.” 12 months in 22% new oak. 93 Halliday points. 14% alc; RRP $39 a bottle.

SPECIALS $37 a bottle in straight dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Bleasdale mixed dozen.

Bleasdale Bremerview Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2020

Inviting aromas of plums and mulberries with hints of milk chocolate and vanilla. Soft fruit-driven palate, with a savoury edge of green olive. Medium-bodied with trademark soft tannins and fresh acidity driving through to a lingering finish. Open fermented with 15 per cent whole berries.

Matured in French oak (10% new) for 12 months. Excellent value. 13.5% alc; RRP $22 a bottle.

SPECIALS $20 a bottle in straight dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Bleasdale mixed dozen.

Bleasdale The Broadside Langhorne Creek Shiraz Cabernet Malbec 2018

Uncomplicated deliciousness on show. Plums, blackberries and blueberries dancing, with hints of black olive brine, chocolate and coffee keeping things interesting. Medium-bodied, soft tannins in place, the unmistakeable Bleasdale fingerprint.

Red star for exceptional value from Team Halliday. 14% alc; RRP $22 a bottle.

SPECIALS $20 a bottle in straight dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Bleasdale mixed dozen.

BLEASDALE DOZEN Three bottles of each wine above for $25.99 a bottle.

Order by simply clicking the links to our online store or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm AEST. Deals are available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine, LIQP770016550. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.