Chapel Hill – it’s not church altar wine, it’s a winery in McLaren Vale. But it is almost kind of holy water. The tasting room is a cute, old, deconsecrated church. Its labels feature churchy names such as The Vicar (tastings), The Parson’s Nose (tastings), and Il Vescovo (the bishop in Italian). Chapel Hill is one of the outstanding producers of McLaren Vale. Its wines continually show strongly in my tastings. The tastings are always ‘blind’, so it’s not a case of label adoration.
It’s my belief that the Chapel Hill wines don’t receive as much attention as they deserve. In my recent tastings, for example, it’s not just the predictable shiraz that comes up trumps, but mourvedre, grenache, sangiovese, cabernet and more. The 2012 Bush Vine grenache (tasting), the 2012 mourvedre (tasting), 2012 sangiovese (tasting), and 2012 Parson’s Nose cabernet sauvignon (tasting) are all excellent reds, while the latest releases of the top wines – under The Vicar (tasting) and The Chosen (tasting tasting) labels – are exceptional wines from a difficult vintage, 2011. I can’t wait to try the 2012s of these when they finally emerge, as 2012 is an outstanding vintage throughout South Australia.
The wines are made these days by Michael Fragos and Bryn Richards. The legendary Pam Dunsford, now retired, was the original winemaker.
Chapel Hill – if they served it as a communion wine it might even improve church attendances.