Asado & Shiraz (Wolf Blass “Gold Label”, 2008 Shiraz)

Brand Name:  Wolf Blass “Gold Label”
Vineyard: Wolf Blass
Vintage:    2008
ABV%:      15%
Varietal:    Shiraz
Appellation:   Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia
Price:        $25 + tax 

The week of April 23rd was very busy with work related items: shop drawings, writing material specifications, and preparing documents to request bids for materials needed for a building I have helped design. The weekend finally arrived and a friend of mine  decided Saturday would be a good day to enjoy a few libations, wine, and BBQ; a great way to relax after an active week at the office.

Saturday afternoon arrived and in my mind there were 7 things I needed for what I consider to be a proper BBQ:

1. Good tunes, this time provided by provided by Sam John Hopkins better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins:

2. Some of my favorite meat cuts and charcuterie: Morcilla, Chorizo, Tira de Asado, and Vacio or Entraña

The meal (Fernet, Meat, & Wine)
3. Some vegetables and/or Olivier salad to accompany the meat.

4. Coarse salt: I have always been a believer that in a BBQ the flavor of the meat should only be complemented by the flavor profile of the any wood used for the fire and the flavor provided by a good rub of coarse salt. I prefer coarse salt as fine salt penetrates deeply into the meat making it less juicy while the coarse salt mostly stays on the surface of the meat, leaving the meat juicier and adding a light crunchy texture on the surface.

5. A few baguettes, these will mostly be used along with the chorizo and the morcilla.

6. One of my good friends: Adrian, Esteban, or Juanpi . One of them tends to finish the BBQ for me as I have the tendency to get distracted talking to people and enjoying the wine.

7. And the one ingredient which cannot be missing in a proper BBQ: A good wine to accompany the meal.

The selected wine for the occasion was a Wolf Blass “Gold Label”, 2008 Shiraz. Shiraz is the adopted name for the Syrah grape in Australian and South African wineries (with a few exceptions). In European wines, where varietal labeling is practiced, the grape is designated as Syrah while in other countries such as the US, Argentina, or Chile the grape is labeled either Syrah or Shiraz. A Shiraz was selected as the paring for the occasion for two reasons:

  • I wanted to pair a BBQ with a “new” wine: I don’t remember pairing a BBQ with something else other than a Malbec.
  • I thought the “typical” flavor profile an Australian Shiraz: firm tannins, ripe fruit, a peppery and smoky quality, and medium to full body would be a good compliment to the BBQ.

The label of the Shiraz indicated that the wine was from the Geographical Indication (GI) of Barossa, a sub-region of the Australian wine zone of South Australia. GI is the designation used in Australia for regional classification of wine producing areas, a designation synonymous to American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the US or Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in France. In Australia, the GI name requires the wine to comply with the 85% rule, i.e. the information shown in the label about vintage, grape variety or region, must be at least 85% of the what is indicated. The information on the label denoted the following:

  • The Barossa indication meant that the wine came from the Barossa Valley, one of the oldest wine regions of Australia characterized by hot continental climate where irrigation is typically needed during the growing season to supplement the region’s low rainfall supply. 
  • The wine had a minimum 85% Shiraz, a dark skinned grape originating from the Rhone region in South France characterized for providing medium plus to high tannins.

Knowing the information about the region and the grape implied the wine would likely have the flavor profile of a full bodied wine with ripe fruit, good tannins, and a fleshy fruit mid-palate; a good match for grilled juicy meat lightly coated with coarse salt.

Visually, the Wolf Blass Shiraz displayed a deep purple color with a light discoloration around the meniscus indicative of a young wine. On the nose the wine was fruit driven: notes of raspberry and dark cherry, accompanied by light notes of clove, leather, and a mild spicy quality created by some white pepper notes.

On the palate the wine first created and impression of warmth and a chewy/grippy texture. As the wine evolved in the palate the flavor profile, similar to the nose, was discerned: notes of raspberry, dark cherry, light hints of leather and smoke indicative of oak fermentation, and a peppery quality; furthermore, the tannins became more velvety with time. The evolution of the tannins and the peppery flavor, yet fruit driven quality, provided a long finish to the wine.

The Shiraz provided a great pairing to the meats. The leathery and peppery quality provided a good complement to the quality of the meats and the ripe
blackberry flavors provided another level of complexity to the meal while accompanying the juiciness of the meat cuts. I will say the best paring for the Wolf Blass was the morcipan, a bite size sandwich made with a type of sausage called morcilla and a piece of bagette. 
The pudding-like texture and earthy/herbaceous flavor of the morcilla surrounded in the moist and slightly chewy with a full, almost nutty flavor of the baguette provided the best match for the flavor profile Wolf Blass “Gold Label”, 2008 Shiraz. 



  1. Although I am a veggie, I do enjoy learning more about wines, through your blog!

    1. Thank you Vivi. I will do a vegetarian pairing with you in mind.


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