The wines of Chapel Hill   
McLaren Vale, Australia

One of the stars of the McLaren Vale region, Chapel Hill first made its name under the ownership of the Sellick and Gerrard families in the 1980s and 1990s, with winemaker Pam Dunsford at the helm. It was sold in 2000 to the Schmidheiny family, who also own Cuvaison in the Napa Valley. Rachel Steer, viticulturalist, has been working sustainably and uses biodynamic principles in order to reduce chemical input in the vineyards. Winemaker Michael Fragos joined in 2004 and has been credited with a clear improvement in the already good wines. Top of the tree are the Vicar, a powerful, dense, spicy Shiraz, and the Cabernet Sauvignon, demonstrating just how good McLaren Vale Cabernet can be. All the wines here are good, though.

Chapel Hill Unoaked Chardonnay 2007
Fresh, bright and fruity, this has plenty of flavour, and itís really attractive. 87/100

Chapel Hill Verdelho 2007
Very crisp and focused with lovely fruitiness. Fresh, vibrant and lovely. 88/100

Chapel Hill Chardonnay 2007
Nutty, toasty, rich and intense with nice vivid fruit. Very rich but still balanced. 90/100

Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache 2006
Sweet, bold, soft and spicy with nice fruit. It manages to be rich and expressive at the same time. 90/100

Chapel Hill Shiraz/Grenache 2006
Sweet and juicy, with vivid berry and blackcurrant fruit. A very expressive, open style. 88/100

Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Lovely blackcurrant nose with a nice gravelly edge. The palate is dense, structured and pure with lovely freshness. 93/100

Chapel Hill Shiraz 2006
Inky dark, this is vivid and intense with nice spiciness. A very attractive rich but balanced wine. 90/100

Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz 2006
An inky, intense wine with dense, spicy, bold dark fruits on the nose. The palate is powerful with dense blackberry and blackcurrant fruit as well as spicy oak. A bold, focused style that is pretty full-on but still has lots of appeal. 92/100

See also:

Landmark Australia Tutorial
Tasting notes on Australian wines

Wines tasted 01/09  
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