Recently, WineAlign’s Director if Wine Vice-President of Wine, David Lawrason attended a dinner with Australian wine icon Wolf Blass. Here is his review:
Australia’s Wolf Blass is on a cross-Canada 75th Birthday tour promoting an upcoming biography (not yet read). Here are some interesting items from a small media tasting and dinner held at Toronto’s Turf Lounge, which as part of Woodbine Entertainment is also an off-track betting facility frequented by Bay Streeters looking for a different way to make and lose a fast buck. On Canada AM next day Wolf Blass laid out his five rules of business success, one being “if you try to make a fast buck, you’ll lose it just as quickly”. He was betting lightly this night and didn’t win. He loves horses and is involved in the business in Australia. He is also an avid skier, by the way.
Some interesting stats and comments. Wolf Blass sells eight million bottles in Canada, his 3rd largest market after Australia and Ireland (of all places). He sells 65 million bottles around the world. He is deeply concerned about the world’s oversupply of wine, especially in Australia, and says there must be a correction and streamlining of the business. He partially blames the explosion of over 1,500 new, small Aussie wineries, and says they will also be the main casualties. He also said wine quality has never been better.
There was not a corkscrew to be found at this tasting. Wolf Blass is now 100% screwcap from the least expensive white to the $100 Platinum Shiraz. Wolf himself was not always in favour, but came around when a batch of cheap screwcapped wine, originally destined for Europe years ago, was found sitting in their warehouse. The condition of the wine was remarkably good, and he decided there and then it was the way to go. He said that 70 to 80% of the Australian industry is now using screwcaps. But he did not say it was the final answer. “In ten years there could easily be another technology come along”
Riesling remains a particular passion, given his German heritage. He is the founder of an international riesling competition, at which the judges are now particularly adept at picking out riesling’s still bottled under cork. (Tip: Fill a sanitized wine bottle with distilled water; put a new cork in it, and come back after a couple of weeks to smell the water). Wolf Blass Gold Label 2007 Riesling ($20.95, 90pts, Vintages) is showing beautifully wit classic Aussie petrol, lemon, peach and jasmine aromas and very elegant palate, more elegant than most from Oz in fact.
Other notable wines included the Black Label 2004 ($75.00, 94 pts) whose price has been dropped from commemorate the 75th birthday. It’s beautifully harmonious, silky red with outstanding length (preferable in my opinion at the moment that the Platinum Shiraz ($115, 92 points). Also very impressed with the Gold Label 2006 Pinot Noir from Adelaide Hills ($28.95, 89 pts), and the Grey Label Cabernet Sauvignon from Langhorne Creek ($31.90, 90 points). The new 2007 vintage of the ubiquitous Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.95, 87 pts) seem a bit lighter, more tidy and bright than previous years. The 2008 Yellow Label Chardonnay ($14.95, 84pts) lacked character but was clean and balanced, while the Yellow Label 2008 Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95, 88 pts) was vibrant and citric with lime, lemon and mandarin.
WineAlign has full reviews on many Wolf Blass wines. Tell us what you think of Wolf Blass wines.
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