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Bleasdale’s Groovy Verdelho

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If the trendy sommeliers of Sydney and Melbourne are consistent, they will be lining up to buy Bleasdale’s new verdelho: 2013 Bleasdale Old Vine Verdelho ($29 at the cellar door).

My bet is that they won’t be queueing. Why not? Because Bleasdale (tastings) is not a sexy name. And its region, Langhorne Creek, is decidedly unfashionable. But this wine satisfies the usual criteria for inclusion on groovy restaurant wine-lists.

It is an obscure variety – or at least, good verdelho wines are rare. It is a variety that is regional, and suited to Langhorne Creek, a variety that grows well in warm climates and is disease resistant, which means fewer sprays are needed. It’s a limited release (120 dozen), single vineyard, single block wine. And it’s delicious. It’s clean and fresh and lively, with lemon-sherbet and white-pepper aromas, the palate fresh and energetic, clean and soft, seamless and pure (tasting note on huonhooke.com).

There’s no oak or residual sugar to obscure the fruit, and no fancy ester-producing yeasts have been used to exaggerate the aromatics. It’s a pure expression of the variety and it’s the result of a special project by senior winemaker Paul Hotker, to fix up the trellises and put some irrigation in place.

According to Hotker, verdelho was the first white variety ever planted at Langhorne Creek, and these vines are Bleasdale’s oldest, planted in 1930. And Bleasdale is Australia’s second-oldest family owned winery (after Yalumba), established in 1850. Now there’s a wine with a story. 

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