Wolf Blass range
‘Better than I thought’.
That’s the impression I came away with after this tasting of the latest releases from the Wolf Blass range. Admittedly we’re still talking about utterly commercial, price-point focused wines (and the scores reflect that), yet there remained more than a few surprises in amongst the wines.
What was most interesting actually was just how much stronger the whites were than the reds (except for the very top end), a reflection perhaps of some stronger recent vintages but also just how old fashioned and classically over wrought the Wolf Blass red wine style can be. Obviously the winemakers are reluctant to mess with the style that made Wolf famous (and it still works on Black Label etc) but less oak, less added acid and more restraint would be quite welcome…
|Wolf Blass Platinum
Flashy. That’s Chris Hatcher standing in behind
there (in front of the view of the bridge).
As for this tasting I will freely admit that the Wolf Blass house style is not my preference, a bias which may well lower the scores – you be the judge. I deliberately aimed for objectivity (whatever that actually means in the world of wine scoring).
Notes are as written during the tasting with the talicised lines winemaker notes. Oh and I believe there are new vintages out formany of these wines.
Wolf Blass Red Label Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010
60/40 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc
Simple, washed out citrus style. Noticeable residual sugar. Simple peachy melon flavours, with tart added acid finish. No flavour but nothing abhorrent really. 14.5/81
Wolf Blass Red Label Shiraz Cabernet 2010
Stewed and confected red berry nose. Highly cropped, red peach juice and cooked jam flavours. Empty palate and sharply acidity finish. Tastes very cheap this one. 13.5/78
Wolf Blass Red Label Cabernet Merlot 2010
More varietal Cabernet leaf characters in here. Mint chocolate and even some tannins. Harsh acidity through the finish destroys any early joy. Shame. 14.5/81
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Riesling 2010
Clare and Eden Valley fruit. 4g/L RS.
Dull, metallic nose but with some proper sherbety Riesling hints. Broad and juicy, forward lemon lime style with plenty of juiciness. Tingly acidity. Shows plenty of Riesling character for the dollars really (I’ve seen this for $11 around the traps). 15.8/86
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2010
Really quite genuine white peach and melon nose. A little simple and the oak looks like staves not barriques but otherwise really quite solid. Bright modern Chardonnay palate with melon fruit richness and quite taut acidity. Simple wine no doubt but still much to appreciate in the scheme of things. 16.3/87
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Warmish, molten caramelised fruit nose. Sticky, spicy, tarry and very ripe. Minty too. Palate is rich and sweet, the lack of genuine fruit richness compensated with residual sugar, though it can’t cover the hard acidity and green notes of overcropped fruit. Awkward finish. Quite a step behind the rest of the Yellow Label range. 14.8/82
Wolf Blass Gold Label Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2007
Adelaide Hills fruit.
Quite a rich and yeasty nose. Spends 18 months+ on lees and it shows here with some nice honeyed leesy richness. Palate though isn’t quite as intriguing, broad and generous with rather sharp and pointed acidity. Wish the palate would match the nose, for this then would be a cracking wine. Still pretty good. 16.5/88
Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2010
Adelaide Hills fruit.
Very tight wine this. Nose shows quite a bit of obvious vanilla oak but little else. Slow burner. Oaky, melon palate. Looks a fraction sweet and sour/peaches and mango cream but I think that is also a product of the slightly blunt oak and (again) pointy acidity. I see potential here with time though, even if it’s all arms and legs (and oak and acid) at present. 16.8/89+
Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz 2009
Barossa fruit. 15% alc.
Heavy, jammy and ripe style with a big density of super ripe fruit on the nose. Dead fruit even. Very sweetly rich, plummy and concentrated entry before jagged raw finish interspersed with hints of dried plum and raspberry fruit. Overripe. Hard acid to finish. Not much joy (for my palate at least). 15/83
Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz Cabernet 2009
Robe/Mt Benson fruit.
Sweet, cocoa powder American oak richness but matched by more fruit here. Sweetly red berried juiciness meets heavy toast oak. Classic Wolf Blass nose. Like a cherry ripe but with more darker fruit. Quite fine tannins with more fruit richness through the finish too. Sharp acidity on the tail and noticable alcohol heat. A big wine but a solid one in the Wolf Blass idiom. Fans buy with confidence – it’s not my preferred style but I can see the appeal. 17.5/91
Wolf Blass Black Label Shiraz Cabernet 2007
Huge, classic formic oak driven nose. Langhorne mintiness in there too. Sweetly minty but full and ripe and generous, not flat. Sappy edge in there too. Very rich and sweet palate but not quite the tannins of the best vintages with a hole in the back palate. Lovely choc oak goodness though. Has it’s place. 17.8/92
Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz 2008
Single vineyard Shiraz from the Barossa.
Very sleek, juicy and concentrated nose. Really plump but still sophisticated. Seriously oaky, utterly Australian but also very good in it’s mode. Richly oaky, sweet and generous yet without the brutality of the Black Label. Much sexier. Creamy and silken even. Can’t deny the Barossan rich goodness of the style with that limitless old vine depth to it all. Quite classic and even Grange-like vino. 18/93