Wolf Blass The Master Cabernet Shiraz 2018

The Master is a limited edition tribute to the founder of Wolf Blass, Wolfgang himself, to celebrate his 80th birthday. It does not appear every year and when it does, only in limited quantities. This release, from the superb 2018 vintage ($350), consists of only 28 barrels and comes in a very heavy bottle, gold embossed. Wolf would love it, inside and out. 

The team under Chris Hatcher, with Steven Frost as winemaker, has gone with the classic Aussie blend, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, though this release sees 86% of the former. The wine comes from the Geier Vineyard in the Greenock sub-region of the Barossa Valley. It spent 15 months in French barriques, 32% new. 

At this early stage of what promises to be a long life, the wine is taut and tense, dark fruits dominating. Seamless, there are notes of black cherries, black olives, old leather, tobacco leaf, spices, a hint of cocoa powder and even some mulberry. Fine balance, lovely silky tannins, supple texture, excellent length, the wine is true to its origins, the varieties and the maker. What more could you want? Cracking stuff. This is a special occasion wine. 

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