Last week, Mary Anne and I were lucky enough to have lunch with Chris Hatcher, winemaker for Wolf Blass. Joining Natalie MacLean and a group of sommeliers and fellow wine enthusiasts, we sat down with Chris at Social Restaurant in the Byward Market to hear all about the philosophy behind the wines of Wolf Blass.
You may remember that the TBBs met Wolf Blass or “Wolfie” as we call him, when he was in Ottawa a few years ago, so when Mary Anne and I were invited to meet the winemaker, well … you can imagine that we jumped at the chance!
On the wine menu were 9 Wolf Blass wines, ranging from the mid-range priced Yellow Label wines right up to the premium-priced Black Label Cabernet Shiraz blend that impressed everyone at the table.
While enjoying each of the wines, Chris shared the history behind the vintage, including the specific vineyards and climates and how they influenced what we were tasting. He also spoke of how winemaking at Wolf Blass has changed over the years. Years ago the winemakers spent the majority of their time in the cellars, whereas most of Chris’ time is now spent in the vineyard, reinforcing the philosophy that the terroir, vines and climate have a huge influence on the resulting wine.
Natalie wrote an excellent account of the event here, but as a sneak peek, here are our favourites:
Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling 2013
This Riesling surprised me. Not as sweet as many of the same grape, this pale white is quite refreshing on the palate. With light notes of citrus this Gold Label wine would be great on it’s own or paired with a light creamy fish. I will be sipping this delicious white on a patio with the TBBs this summer!
Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet/Shiraz 2010
Of course I would love the most expensive wine of the group! This is one to splurge on for a special occasion. Chris compared this wine to a Ferrari, which I think is a great analogy. It is a juicy cabernet/shiraz blend made with the best varieties of the vintage. Hints of berry, plum and spice mingle and create a smooth long finish. Great on its own or with a steak.
Although the wine was the star of the show, the cuisine and atmosphere at Social was a close second! Secreted away in a corner of the restaurant, our large table of wine-lovers were treated with excellent service and delicious food. Soup and salad starters were delicious and the 3 choices for our entrée was almost unnecessary with at least 98% of the table choosing the steak. Perhaps something to do with the number of red wines on the tasting menu ?!? And dessert ?? A choice between warmed apple tart with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (my choice) and a milk chocolate ganache with peanut butter ice cream and banana merangue! Outstanding!
We are both looking forward to the next wine tasting event with baited breath!
Here’s to Wolf Blass…Mary Anne