MOVIES & BOOZE: Fancy a drink this weekend?

Tomas Clancy explores Wolf Blass and a Portuguese red...

Tomas Clancy of the Sunday Business Post joins Sean Moncrieff to explore the culture and tasting notes of two wines...

Wolf Blass, Silver Label Cabernet Shiraz 2010

Pricing : around €19.99

Available : Very Widely and in multiple outlets like Obriens Wines nationwide

and in selected Tesco Supermarkets nationwide.


Wolf Blass is a real figure, a wonderful example of how open and embracing

the world once was to refugees of all sorts including the most usual, the

economic refugee. Wolfie Blass, as he is known to his friends escaped from

East Germany, worked as a biochemist in Harvey’s of Bristol, the Sherry people

in the 1950s and in the 1960s ended up in Australia.

There he began to make wine himself, delighting in bringing a scientific and

marketing sensibility to bear on the then underdeveloped Australian still dry

wine scene.


As a great marketer, Blass saw that people liked good, opulent wines at fair

prices, no surprise their but that they often found themselves wondering what is

was they liked previously. So he invented a colour coded labelling system,

based on Betting Slips in Australia at the time, red, black, yellow and so forth.

People remembered his name, the good wine and the label colour. It was simple

but, very, effective.


50 years later, the Wolf Blass Winery has established itself not just in the mass

market but as a fine wine producer, wining the top awards in Australian Red

Wine for its Icon and brilliantly, no expense spared Wolf Blass Black Label and

with its Silver and Gold labels becoming crowned the International Red

Winemaker of the Year at the IWC 2016, under winemaker at Wolf Blass, Chris



This wine is their Wolf Blass Silver Label Cabernet Shiraz and it is an

astonishingly accomplished and ambitious red wine that if produced in

Bordeaux would easily command a multiple of the price, this is still a

fundamental reason we wine lovers still keep coming back to Australia.

The Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend may seem initially odd, but it has

been a feature of the great Australian red wines for 50 years and Penfolds finest

also adopted the blend.


In fact it turns out that many of the great Classed Growth Chateaux of Bordeaux

subsequently found out that their wines in the 19 th century were often boosted

with the addition of Syrah, as Shiraz in France is called, from the Rhine Valley.

So in effect wine pioneers like Wolf Blass and Max Schubert at Penfolds had

simply been returning to an older wine truth lost with the somewhat finicky AC

rules were adopted in France in the 1930s.


This wine is an opulent rush of notes of dark chocolate and silky vanilla, some

hints of cherry and leather, evident spice and a cool earthy succulent finish. A

stunning wine for the price.


Casa Ermerlinda, Dom Freitas Reserva Castelao, Vinho Regional

Peninsula de Setubal, Portugal 2013

Pricing : around €8.33 in an attractive wooden case of 6, which complicatedly

then become eligible for a €10 discount, making the €50 case purchase a €40

case purchase bringing the cost of a bottle to €6.66

Available : Selected SuperValu Stores nationwide


Sometimes an unusual grape attracts our attention such as here with the castelao

grape. Other times it is a slightly off beat location as in this case from the often

overlooked, hot region to the south of Lisbon across the vast Vasco da Gama

bridge called the Peninsula of Setubal and finally being always concerned with

finances, a happy price may call to us from the shelves. This wine has all three elements.


The Castelao grape is very widely planted in Portugal but is almost never

spoken about on its own, except under the name Trincadeira or as a lost grape in

Madeira. It produces strong, muscular red wines and is a happy blending grape.

In its best years and with slightly lower cropping and sandy soils, such as in the

Setubal region it can produce a soft and spicy wine, with a hotter Tempranillo

like softness that is hugely enjoyable and has a more muscular frame than many

wines of a similar price.


It is a wine that Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers looking to explore a spicier side

might enjoy and could well appeal to Australian Shiraz lovers looking for a

more affordable alternative.


It would be excellent with any of the late summer barbecues we hope we can

still look forward to.


The pricing and its lovely wooden box presentation of 6 bottles for €40 on sale

at present will likely tip this over into a really generous and enjoyable gift too,

well worth seeking out.