Which wines do you make for Wolf Blass?
I primarily make red wines, although I also am responsible for the Sauvignon Blanc based products in the portfolio as well. My primary focus is the wines from the Adelaide Hills region as well as several wines in the Red and Yellow Label ranges.
Which is your favourite Wolf Blass wine, and what do you enjoy most about making this wine?
One of my favourite wines is the Yellow Label Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is made in a completely different way to the more traditional Wolf Blass varieties of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. As the winemaker I have a big influence on the style direction of the wine, as it responds well to winemaking techniques such as whole bunch fermentation (where the bunches are fermented with whole berries and stalks as opposed to being destemmed and crushed for ferment), wild yeast fermentation and lees ageing which give the wine a distinctive varietal character. I enjoy being able to employ these methods get the most out of the grapes to produce the best wine possible.
What three adjectives best describe this wine?
Cherry-stone, juicy, moreish.
What is the style or flavour profile you are looking to create when making this wine?
Pinot Noir has a distinct varietal character so I want to play these qualities up when making the wine. I look for a finished wine with juicy aromatics of fresh cherry and strawberry and a slight briary and brambly note from the stalks used during fermentation. These flavours should follow on to the palate with more intensity, mouth watering acidity and the beginnings of forest floor savoury complexity. The wine should be true to variety and be light bodied in style, with elegance and finesse in its structure, not overwhelming.
What is your ideal food match for this wine?
A simple slow cooked duck ragout with pappardelle.
How would you describe the perfect occasion to drink this wine?
Enjoying the first rays of impending summer sunshine on a spring Sunday afternoon.
When would you suggest this wine will be drinking at its peak and why?
This wine is released when it is ready to drink and is best drunk when young and fresh within two years of its vintage release.
What characteristics of the variety are highlighted in this wine?
Lovely bright cherry fruit, brambly stalky characters and subtle savoury complexity.
What are the most interesting aspects of the region used to make this wine?
We source most of the fruit used in this wine from the Adelaide Hills. This is a narrow region that encompasses the Mt Lofty Ranges and stretches from close to Eden Valley down to McLaren Vale and is defined by its elevation. The difference in elevations across the region mean that the spectrum of flavours derived from each vineyard parcel is different. The higher elevation vineyards tend to produce wines with greater structural characters and brambly and briary notes. The lower elevation vineyards produce wines with bright cherry flavours and lifted aromatics. These parcels combine well to produce a balanced finished wine.
What’s the one secret you would like everyone to know about this wine?
It’s a great value for money wine that show’s fantastic varietal character and depth. It's a good introduction to the variety if you’re not familiar with it, yet has enough varietal character and integrity to please established Pinot Noir drinkers.
Finish this sentence: "I want people who drink this wine to..."
..love it! It’s a light bodied red with lots of flavour punch and enough subtle complexity to make sure you want to drink it again.