Wolf still at the cel­lar door

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Wine - By JOHN JENS

WOLF Blass, the unique, per­cep­tive, cre­ative and mercurial whirl­wind that cre­ated and built the wine brand, rev­o­lu­tionised this coun­try’s red-wine drink­ing pref­er­ences in the 1970s and 1980s.

He pro­vided soft and generous South Aus­tralian caber­net sauvi­gnons, shi­raz and blends en­sconced with dis­tinc­tive and ap­peal­ing Amer­i­can oak. Year af­ter year, wine af­ter wine, many of these were Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lar in ev­ery price range.

Move on 30 years and more gold medals and ma­jor tro­phies than it is worth any­one’s time to count, the famed mid-range Grey and pre­mium Black La­bels re­leases re­main out­stand­ing in their own price ranges.

The 2012 and lat­est re­leases would be un­recog­nis­able to the lovers of the 1972, 1973 and 1974 Black La­bel vin­tages, the only trio from one win­ery to ever gain con- sec­u­tive Jimmy Wat­son Tro­phies at the Royal Mel­bourne Wine Show: the most fa­mous, soughtafter and fi­nan­cially re­ward­ing show tro­phy in Aus­tralia’s wine his­tory.

The 2012 South Aus­tralian caber­net and shi­raz sea­son was one of the best and the fruit qual­ity, wine­mak­ing and oak han­dling shine in this, the 2016 and 40th vin­tage of the Black La­bel, but in a more sub­tle and re­fined way.

“Soft, gen­tle, fra­grant, el­e­gant and berry driven. Com­plex, densely flavoured, bril­liant and seam­less oak han­dling and an out­stand­ing lin­ger­ing fin­ish and then af­ter­taste. Ab­so­lutely de­li­cious in the most se­ri­ous of ways.”

This eas­ily held its own in two re­cent masked line-ups of Aus­tralia’s great­est 2012 caber­net­based wines. 18.8 points, $130.

The 2012 Wolf Blass Grey La­bel is also a crowd pleaser. “Full, plump and dense and then comes the soft­ness and ap­peal. Lovely length and then the sub­tle re­fined and soft tan­nined fin­ish.”

One of the very best and most sat­is­fy­ing at un­der $ 50. 18.5 points.

Wolf Blass wine­mak­ers Chris Hatcher, Marie Clay, John Ash­well, Steven Frost and Clare Dry.

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