Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass created a Cabernet-Shiraz, Australian wine legend when he launched Wolf Blass Black Label in 1973. It's first three vintages scored an unprecedented hat-trick by winning the prestigious Jimmy Watson trophy at the Royal Melbourne Show, which has never been repeated. This prodigious accolade was repeated with their 1998 vintage... It is the most awarded red wine in Australia with the 1994 being the only vintage not to win a gold medal. Each vintage averages 7 gold medals, which is an admirable boast.
Like many of the iconic Australian wines, Wolf Blass Black Label is a multi regional blend, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz being the dominate grape varieties. A little Merlot and Malbec can be found in some vintages but their percentages are small. The fruit comes from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Eden Valley, Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra and Clare Valley. A higher proportion of Shiraz is added to cool vintages and more Cabernet Sauvignon to warm ones as the absolute key is balance and harmony.
The philosophy behind Black Label is simple: to take the year’s very best wines and weave them together into a synergistic whole, the resultant wine being greater than the sum of its parts. It’s about creating a wine with many layers of flavour in a complex composition of intense fruit characters, magnificent structure, a rich lustrous texture, long velvety tannins and a lingering palate.
Sadly, and for reasons I am unsure of, Black Label disappeared from the UK for many years, which and as a personal collector of this great wine (since my early twenties) was such a shame however, The Vinorium has brought their 40th Anniversary release, the 2012 vintage to the UK for the very first time. - Stuart McCloskey