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Meeting Herr Wolfgang Blass

July 15, 2009

There wasn’t much preceding publicity about his appearance at Jason’s of Paragon on 14 July 2009, but an advertisement a week earlier had caught my eye. When I arrived at the scheduled time of 7.30PM, only small group of people had gathered, and a couple of promoters were desperately trying to drum up some fanfare. A shame, really, considering that Herr Wolfgang Blass himself is one of the few winemakers who advocated growing shiraz vines in the Barossa Valley more than 30 years ago, when the Australian wine industry was in its doldrums, and he has tirelessly promoted his Wolf Blass range of wines to its present highly successful business. Dressed in a tweed suit and looking dapper and energetic, you’d hardly guess he’s 75. He gamely autographed my bottle of the 2003 Wolf Blass Platinum Shiraz, agreeing with me that it needs plenty of sleep. “Open it when you get married or divorced!”, he said. Wow.

With Wolfgang BlassThe organisers had generously made available the 2004 Wolf Blass Black Label (SGD145) for tasting. Perhaps due to the wide range of quaffers in the Wolf Blass line-up, I’d forgotten how good the Black Label is: dark red, powerful bouquet displaying notes of sweet plums, cedar, and liquorice. Full-bodied, no less, structured, mouth-saturating but not over-bearing, ending with the unmistable stamp of warm, ripe Barossa fruit producing a touch of spice.  The excellent quality of the 2004 fruit was such that the sophisticated silky tannins and alcohol never dominated. Really good. I wonder how the Platinum Shiraz will fare. At the current price of SGD220, I’m not opening mine.

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