By Chef Gene Gonzalez
The tandem of Premiere Wines and Spirits president JP Santa Marina and national sales manager Mike Sanvictores never fail to amaze everyone who love and appreciate wines.
Their most recent next activities of creating monthly wine socials had been well attended by vinophiles and had been a venue for sharing opinions and great buts among the collectors.
Recently, they hosted a three-day activity that showcased the wines. of who Aussies consider as the father of Australian Wine, Wolf Blass. Wolf Blass was one of the winemakers whose wines created a peg and identity for Australian wine. Still alive in his ’80s, this man has become an icon especially when he introduced an excellent but mid-priced wine known as Brown label.
This pure Shiraz won awards all over and was a great standard bearer for his line of wines. Eventually when he retired and sold his brand name, winemakers who worked under him continued to create wines in that familiar soft yet full and hearty styles.
Day One started with a by-invitations only dinner at Sofitel with Wolf Blass winemaker, Stuart Rusted officiating (he was one of the protégés of Wolf Blass himself and lucky enough to periodically work with him) and annotating the wine pairings of this dinner of six courses.
A 2015 Wolf Blass yellow label Chardonnay was served to par off with a panna cotta of morels, chestnuts, and topped with a snail tempura—The creaminess of the panna cotta and how the wine complemented the stone fruit and light wood in the wine. It also provided an interesting contrast to the earthy notes of the mushrooms and snails as it displayed its subtle hints of apple, lychee skins, musk and sweet wood spice, and oaking is done by steeping the wine in oak staves and is made in the cool temperature of Adelaide hills.
This Chardonnay also paired well with as it accentuated the creaminess of the seaweed cured salmon with a touch of watercress purée, finger lime, and small cubes of cucumber tandoori. Next wines were the Wolf Blass gold label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 that is in their medium range and display some spicy characters with red and black cherries with savory character akin to tapenade and eucalyptus.
The red and black cherry characters definitely went well with what they called a foie gras and duck pithiviers which turned out to be a flavorful pie that had light gamy flavors from the liver and minced duck meat enriched with a perigourdine sauce.
For the main course, beef tenderloin braised shortribs tortellini, prawns with lemon confit and ginger, spinach mousseline, and bordelaise sauce. Though the prawns seemed not to fit in, I was happy with the tenderloin and the rich beef filled pasta.
Two of their top wines served for this course, the Black Label Cabernet Shiraz, a 2005 showed how big and collectible it was. It displayed moka, powerful sweet spice, ripe red, and stone fruits in syrup. This beautiful complex wine hinted of eucalyptus, smoky cheese, and had a higher acidity than the rather pleasingly fat Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz 2012. This wine, so evocative of black fruit and spice had a long finish and even had a Japanese soy sauce finish.
Dessert for this dinner was a macaron ring with chocolate mousseline, gold leaf, and fresh fruits, a perfect ending to a good meal. Day Two were lectures by Stewart who discussed heavily on food and wine tasting plus the “Identification of characters present in the varietals of Wolf Blass.”
Eventually this short training led to creating blends which seems to be the forte of the Wolf Blass lines where varying blends of Cabernet and Shiraz dominate their top lines. Those who attended the lectures created their own blends from the pure varietal wines. In fact, some of them tried to recreate the Black Label which to wine collectors.
Excellent example to wine aficionados of good blending Day Three was a casual winetasting where more casual food like burger sliders, samosas, and smoked salmon sandwiches were paired off with the wines. I did concentrate on the Grey Label Shiraz Black Label blend of Cabernet, Shiraz, and a trickle of Malbec and the Platinum Label Shiraz that were already ready for drinking but needed more time to cellar to bring out the complex and big characters totally identified with the Wolf Blass Label.
Overall we had a truly exciting three days and we wait in anticipation of the revival of an icon known as the Brown Label which sent me decades ago on the romance of great Australian Shiraz.
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