This, my second review featuring a wine from Chapel Hill’s ‘il Vescovo’ range – the first can be found here – and I don’t mind saying up front (spoiler warning!), I liked it muchly.
Sangiovese around the world can look decidedly different whilst managing to maintain the basic characteristics of the variety. But does anyone do it as well as Chianti? It’s a style thing. So yes, and no, but don't expect an essay on it here. This beauty from McLaren Vale does a pretty fine job of it. Here’s what it looked like:
Lively blood red, bright colour. A note of charry oak greets the nose, a little varnishy; some vanilla-scented spice, musk. Lovely floral aromas of lavender and violets, a touch of liquorice and tar – attacking the nose – some herbal stalky elements, and a yummo whiff of Thai red curry. There’s some coastal heath and native shrubbery notes, and that’s a good thing as I’m a guy who likes a bit of coastal heath and native shrubbery. I also get a sweetish ribena-like character which is a whole lot better than it probably sounds. Ribena for grown-ups.
The palate is round, supple, yet dense and lively. Mouth-watering is the right word, featuring redcurrants and blueberry pie, dark cherry, dried prunes and figs, raisins; and a lovely tomatoey savoury/sweet flavour. Structurally precise, balancing flavour-weight, oak, tannin and acid. The raisiny flavours were so seductive, like a coffee hit.
Seductive, addictive, and a high drinkability factor. Seems to have nailed the savoury/sweet combo and although the wine looked even better with pizza (naturally), it handled itself with aplomb sans food.
Value: A very, very reasonable $22 a bottle – a bargain I say.
Tasted: July 2011
Producer: Chapel Hill – www.chapelhillwine.com.au – owned by the Swiss-based Schmidheiny family since 2000.
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia.
Site: The Kangarilla Vineyard in the foothills of the Mt Lofty Ranges at the eastern edge of McLaren Vale.
Winemaking: Open fermenters, hand-plunged, eight days on skins before basket-pressing. Matured in 2, 3 and 4 year-old French oak for 16 months.
Vintage: Good winter rains followed by a dry spring. Although January was a hottie, the remainder of summer provided ideal ripening conditions. Generally a good year.