The Perfect vice
Chris Hatcher grew up under a Methodist roof. That meant dodging gambling, immorality and alcohol at all costs. Having been married for 43 years and lacking the compulsion to wager, unchecking that third box turned out a blessing for all. First joining Wolf Blass in 1987, he now oversees its wine making operations and was recently in town to introduce their Black, Grey and Gold Labels.
Among their highlights are four Jimmy Watson Trophies for the Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet Shiraz Malbec (’73, ’74, ’75 and 96), and high ratings from acclaimed wine critic James Suckling (92 points for Grey Label Langhorn Creek Cabernet Shiraz 2014, and 91 points for Gold Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, which also earned 92 points from 2019’s Halliday Wine Companion). Acclaimed for its history of producing wines of quality, character and consistency, Wolf Blass was named Red Winemaker Of The Year at the Prestigious International Wine Challenge in London, most recently in 2016 and also in 2013 and 2008.
When asked to distill the scope of his work, Hatcher described himself as a custodian of the style of the winery. His winemaking team comprise both young and experienced palettes to ensure a dynamic mix, but one that’s also mindful of the stylistics elements of Wolf Blass. And as a pragmatic and understated person, it’s not surprising Hatcher says he is a firm believer in non-permeable screw caps for both early drinking wines and those meant for cellaring.
Further describing top Wolf Blass wines, he notes a resurgence for cool climate Chardonnay from regions like the Adelaide Hills. “The sea has a huge influence on vineyards in the southern part of Australia, and our Adelaide Hills vineyards grow elegant, complex Chardonnays with clarity of fruit and regional expression.
On that note, he also spoke about the luxurious The Master Cabernet Shiraz 2012, an homage to founder Wolfgang Blass for his 80th birthday. Sourced from the Pasquin vineyard in Langhorne Creek, the vineyard belonged to Wolf Blass’s first winemakers John Glaetzer and Bill Potts. Described as a medium to full-bodied single vineyard Cabernet Shiraz, this wine will drink well on release or evolve gradually with careful cellaring.
For enquiries on Wolf Blass’ range of wines in Malaysia, please call distributor Luen Heng F&B at +603-7983 9000.