Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet Shiraz 2018
Black Label, which represents Wolf Blass’ best fruit in any given year from across South Australian wine regions, was created in 1973. That wine took out the first of three consecutive Jimmy Watson Trophy wins for Blass cementing the man’s reputation as a master winemaker and blender. Back then the cabernet was sourced from Langhorne Creek, a favourite of the maker, and shiraz from the Eden Valley. Today, the (56%-44%) blend is a three-way mix of fruit from the Barossa Valley, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale.
Intense and aromatic, Black Label has longevity in its DNA. It’s also slightly old school with a reliance on oak which is an essential feature of the Wolf Blass songbook, but I find that reassuring. Fans of the wine, and there are many, respect that while small changes have been made over the decades, that Black Label remains in essence Blass-like.
Deep red-garnet colour and celebrates the features of cabernet and shiraz and just why they work so well together; the blackberry, pretty violets and leafy aromatics of the former, the cherry, chocolate and spice of the latter. To cap it off there’s a black olive, earthy truffle savouriness at work. Smoky, toasty French and American oak work in league with fine tannins to present a terrific, well-rounded and complex wine.
Give it the time in bottle that it deserves.