With the weather cooling down as we head into another winter, our tastes start to lean towards the satisfying warmth of rich, bold reds. Perfect for keeping the chills at bay and enjoying with the hearty, comforting foods of the season.
A wine that ticks all these boxes is Barossa Shiraz. But which one to choose? With a range of Shiraz in the Wolf Blass Barossa portfolio, from Gold Label, to the Estates of the Barossa, to Medlands Vineyard Platinum Label, what is it that makes each of these wines different, and what makes them uniquely Wolf Blass? What has more impact - nurture or nature? House style, sub-region, or vineyard? All play their role.
Let’s take a trip back in time, to a time before the Wolf Blass winery was born. Back to the 19th century in the days of the horse and cart. Historically, grapegrowers would deliver their fruit to the closest winery. In the Barossa, fruit from vineyards in the more northerly and western regions of the Barossa would be delivered to Penfolds, for example, their closet winery. Vineyards centered around Angaston in the North East would be more likely to go to Saltram or Yalumba, the main wineries in that area.
Each individual sub-region of the Barossa has its own terroir - the climate, soils and aspect that make that area unique. The styles of fruit from these sub-regions ultimately defined the “house styles” of these wineries and as time went on, the wineries would seek out more of that similar style of fruit which now better suited the wines they were making. Styles, therefore, became self-perpetuating.
When Wolfgang Blass started sourcing Barossa fruit from the late 1960s, he began by sourcing fruit that was not already secured to an existing winery’s “house style”. As a result, Wolf Blass created its own unique house style.
Our Gold Label Barossa Shiraz, as a great example of the Wolf Blass house style, is a blend of fruit from vineyards across all the sub-regions of the Barossa originally selected by Wolf Blass. A style that’s different from Barossa Shiraz from other makers due to the unique sourcing of the fruit as much as to the unique winemaking techniques. Shiraz that offers a brightness of fruit, a plush, silky texture and fine, definitive tannins.
The Wolf Blass vineyards mostly run straight through the center of the Barossa Valley, from Lyndoch in the south through to Ebenezer in the north, then across to Moculta in the northern reaches of Eden Valley.
Our Estates of the Barossa range offers four Shiraz that are as uniquely different as their sub-regional origins. Wines selected from locations that represent critical markers along the Wolf Blass vineyard route - the districts that have shaped and defined the style of Wolf Blass with their character and distinction. Wines that carry the stamp of the Wolf Blass house style, yet are unique in their sub-regional expression. The elegance and charm of Lyndoch, the purity and structure of Dorrien, the power and opulence of St John’s Ebenezer Road, and the intensity and finesse of Moculta.
Our Medlands Vineyard Platinum Label Shiraz takes this distinction one step further. Not only is this wine sourced from a single sub-region, but from a single vineyard site. There is a concentration of Wolf Blass vineyards around Dorrien, smack bang in the center of the Valley floor, and as such, the Dorrien sub-region is perhaps the area most definitive of the Wolf Blass style. And the distinguished Medlands Vineyard, source of Platinum Label Shiraz, is the jewel in the crown.
The Medlands Vineyard site is long renowned for growing outstanding Shiraz. With ancient soils laid down 5 million years ago, the microclimate benefits from cooling breezes flowing down the Para River from the foothills, and enjoys optimum sunlight, low rainfall and low humidity. This unique terroir results in a distinctive Shiraz of concentrated flavour, purity, elegance, tight structure and impeccable balance.
So while Platinum Label Shiraz may be reserved for that special occasion winter feast, our Barossa Shiraz portfolio is a fascinating selection worthy of discovery. Wines to delve into as the perfect accompaniment to cold winter nights and warm winter dinners.