Wine review – Bleasdale, Kirrihill, Howard Park

Bleasdale Langhorne Creek Second Innings Malbec 2014 $15.15–$22
Bleasdale, Langhorne Creek’s original winery, used malbec for table wines from 1961 (111 years after Frank Potts established the business). Although long a blending wine, malbec now stands on its own under a number of Bleasdale labels. Indeed, winemaker Paul Hotker writes, “We have recently planted three more malbec clones, bringing our total up to nine”. The company’s entry-level Second Innings provides a deliciously fragrant, mouth-filling, juicy, soft expression of the variety at a fair price. The flagship Generations Malbec 2014 ($33.25–$35) provides a more concentrated, tannic experience. It needs a good splash in the decanter or a few more years’ bottle age.

Kirrihill Vineyard Selection Series Watervale Riesling 2015 $18–$20
The 2014 vintage of Kirrihill Watervale riesling weighed in at 11 per cent alcohol, substantially lower than the 12.6 per cent of the 2015 vintage. As both were dry wines, with very low levels of residual grape sugar, we know the 2015 was harvested significantly riper, with a consequent increase in the alcohol content. The alcohol boosted the body of the wine compared to 2014’s, resulting in a less delicate palate. However, Watervale’s distinctive lime-like flavours remain in a rich but very fresh and appealing riesling.

Howard Park Miamup Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015 $14–$28
A recent tasting of the 2013 Miamup against the current-release 2015 revealed how with bottle age the wine loses much of its more aggressive, herbaceous character. The older, mellower, rounder wine retains enough of the punchy varietal flavour of the two grapes. But it also shows more texture and flavour depth. The 2015, on the other hand, is all about fresh, grapey flavours and the pungent, herbaceous character the two varieties develop in Margaret River. Barrel fermentation of a portion of the blend gives that little extra depth that becomes amplified with bottle age.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 27 March 2016 in the Canberra Times