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A deep purple potion with the scent of blackberry and current in the bouquet, the 1998 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz is a hedonistic wine, waiting to be devoured. Lush, ripe and soft in the mouth, this Australian Shiraz is full of blackberry, cassis and spice flavors. Emanating from a twenty-two month hiatus in new French and American oak barrels, vanilla and a cachet of spices permeate the lusty rich fruit of this immensely pleasing Shiraz. Whether you open it and serve it immediately, decant it, or lay it down for a few years, you are in for a treat; this Chapel Hill Shiraz is made with good old-fashioned drinking pleasure in mind. Like most fine Australian examples of this varietal, you can consume it now in its youth or store it away for a few years to gain further complexity and subtle nuances of flavor. Although well-aged versions tend to lose their baby fat and some of their ripe fruit, they do gain complexity, intensity, and delineation. As you like it... Nevertheless, we bet that you simply won't be able to keep your hands off of this wine. Enjoy!
A rare filet mignon or beef tenderloin with freshly sautéed portabella mushrooms are a splendid accompaniment to the 1998 Chapel Hill Shiraz; each brings out the full flavor of the other in complementary fashion. Venison or rabbit would also provide good complements to this young Shiraz. A slightly more aged Chapel Hill Shiraz would better suit a well-prepared rack of lamb, so you may want to wait another year on this pairing, but we bet you can't muster another discipline for that, so just put a couple of bottles aside for next year. In a meatless vein, we are very fond of zucchini parmigiana with the Chapel Hill. Cut thick and baked in a rich, homemade red sauce with plenty of fresh herbs all topped with mozzarella cheese, this dish adds new meaning to squash. It's also a great companion to a delightful red wine. Whatever you decide to serve with this wine, you need not worry about getting lost in the shuffle. Salut!
Chapel Hill is one of South Australia's "hottest" wineries. Located in the McLaren Vale, one of Australia's oldest wine growing regions, this pretty, boutique winery turns out small quantities of very fine wine, beginning with an outstanding Shiraz, a rich expressive wine that is strictly allocated. In addition, limited amounts of a masterful, barrel-fermented Reserve Chardonnay are produced, along with an interesting Verdelho and a rare, unwooded Chardonnay, which is often referred to as the Australian version of Chablis. Lastly, a very fine Cabernet Sauvignon rounds out the estate's portfolio. Unlike most Australian wineries, which pump out massive quantities of many different wines, Chapel Hill prefers to limit both production and number of offerings in order to provide its growing list of customers something special. This dedication to limited, high-quality offerings is what makes Chapel Hill a boutique winery in the true sense. How we wish that more wineries, especially those that bill themselves as boutique producers, would adhere to this philosophy of producing small amounts of interesting and individual tasting wines, rather than pump out large quantities of homogenized, neutered look alikes. Undoubtedly, the driving force behind the success of Chapel Hill is the highly talented, individualist, Pam Dunsford. Ms. Dunsford is recognized as one of Australia's most gifted winemakers. She is also a most sought after consultant. Thoroughly dedicated to producing great wines and tenacious in her approach to excellence, Ms. Dunsford is a force to be reckoned with. She believes in making individual wines of style and flavor which reflect their vineyard origin. Daring and pioneer initiative have always been Pam's strong suit; she was Australia's first female Roseworthy (Australia's prestigious school of oenology) graduate in winemaking twenty years ago. Since she took over the winemaking helm at Chapel Hill, the winery has been honored repeatedly in national and international shows and competitions. Aside from being a regular gold medal winner at Australian shows, Pam's wines have garnered gold at the prestigious London International Wine and Spirit Competition and the 1998 International Wine Challenge in London where thousands of wines from 30 countries are tasted. After trying for nearly two years to obtain an allocation of the Chapel Hill Shiraz large enough to fulfill our club membership, we are delighted to be able to offer you Chapel Hill's 1998 McLaren Vale Shiraz as our red wine feature. We trust that you'll enjoy it as much as we do.
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