An Australian Master from Langhorne Creek in your glass

wb-masterUntil the early 2000’s, Wolf Blass Black Label was the pinnacle of the Wolf Blass line which sported those quirky coloured tombstone shaped labels. Then came Platinum Label, a straight varietal Shiraz. A departure for the eponymous brand founded by the winemaker with the moniker of ‘the Master Blender’. Wolfgang Blass himself.

It gives a sense of continuity that this new pinnacle of the extensive Wolf Blass range is back to the original formula of a blend, albeit from a single vineyard rather than a blend of regions as well as varieties. This time 61% Cabernet and 39% Shiraz as opposed to the 51% Cabernet / 49% Shiraz varietal composition of the current 2010 vintage of Black Label.

The source of the juice for The Master, the Pasquin Vineyard in Langhorne Creek, is owned by John Glaetzer and Bill Potts. The vineyard was planted in the mid 90’s (1994 for the Cabernet and 1995 for the Shiraz) so is gaining in maturity. Adding to the sense of continuity, often lost as a brand such as this becomes a cog in a very large corporate wine producer, both of these characters were part of Blass’ original team: Glaetzer as winemaker and Potts as a grower.

There is no doubt when you get the Wolf Blass The Master Cabernet Shiraz 2012 in your glass, that it is part of the Wolf Blass stable. It has loads of signature rich, creamy oak and plush fruit supported with some firm crunchy acid. The blue and black berry and blackcurrant fruit melds with toasty, smoky oak, cinnamon and mineral graphite. The cool nights have also added a lift of orange peel to the nose.

It is certainly bold, but as you should expect from a wine of this price, it has more masterful elegance than the even more densely packed Black Label. Like all Wolf Blass wines, it is tasty now with finely tuned tannins but will cellar for a cool decade or so in the cellar.

Quickie review «the toasty oak is dominant now but this is a wine that is built for the long haul so if you can wait it out, give it a decade or so»

Country of Origin: Australia   Date:  August 2015   Price: AUD$350    Drink: now – 15+ years   Needs food:    Source: tasting

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