Chapel Hill’s 2015 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon notches another high water mark for Chapel Hill, a winery that consistently garners 90+ points for its wines and continues to over deliver with each successive vintage. The deeply colored 2015 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon offers an impressive array of savory Cabernet aromas; a core of refined blackberry and cassis infused with hints of wild herbs and eucalyptus, not unlike many of Joe Heitz’s legendary Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons of yesteryear, seduce the nose and seep deliciously into the marrow of this wine. Medium to full-bodied, the bold-flavored 2015 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon possesses superb balance, polish, and texture, which allows it to drink beautifully now, but it is capable of further maturation and 10 or more years of pleasurable drinking. For optimal enjoyment, allow the 2015 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 30 minutes or more of aeration before serving it at cool room temperature (60° F).
Although the 2015 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon needs little to shine, this youthful Cabernet provides the ideal accompaniment to prime rib of beef, filet mignon, or beef tenderloin served with grilled vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes or a creamy risotto. Slow roasted lamb tenderloin topped with a complex Cabernet au jus or rubbed with fresh garlic and then basted with olive oil, rosemary and thyme pairs beautifully with this wine. Ossobuco gets two thumbs up as well. Braised venison served with caramelized onions offers another tasty companion. A spicy brisket and caramelized onion slider makes a fine accompaniment, too. Specialty burgers offer more excellent pairings. For an explosive wine and food combination, consider serving a juicy beef or buffalo burger with roasted poblano pepper, pickled red onion, pepper jack cheese and jalapeño aioli with Chapel Hill’s flavor-filled 2015 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon. And should a glass of this delicious Cabernet remain after dinner, we suggest you finish it in the company of creamy cow’s milk cheese such as Delice de Bourgogne or Saint André. We doubt that you will be disappointed. Enjoy!
Two decades ago we discovered the artfully crafted wines of Chapel Hill winery and featured several of Chapel Hill’s exceptional McLaren Vale wines. But after a stint in which Pam Dunsford, the first women graduate of Australia’s prestigious school of oenology at Roseworthy, brought Chapel Hill to international prominence with Gold Medals at the prestigious London International Wine and Spirit Competition and the International Wine Challenge in London, Chapel Hill’s wines seemed to all but vanish from the American market. Happily, under the current leadership of chief winemaker and McLaren Vale native, Michael Fragos, Chapel Hill wines are once again available and are even more complex and engaging than ever.
Chapel Hill draws its name from the historic stone chapel built on the property in 1865, which has served as a local church, a parish school and now the winery’s cellar door and art gallery that features the work of talented local contemporary and indigenous artists.
Under Michael Fragos (IW&SC 2007 International Winemaker of the Year), winemaker Bryn Richards and viticulturist Rachel Steer, Chapel Hill has solidified its position as one of South Australia’s top wineries. Chapel Hill owns and operates 44 hectares (about 109 acres) of vineyards in South Australia’s famed McLaren Vale appellation and purchases fruit from a select group of McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills growers. Shiraz reigns as king at Chapel Hill as it does throughout McLaren Vale, but Grenache, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese, and especially Cabernet Sauvignon also pay homage to the extraordinary success of this winery. Although it is produced in much less quantity than the estate’s Shiraz, Chapel Hill’s 2015 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon (this month’s feature) is every bit as exciting as Chapel’s Hill’s outstanding Shiraz. With the addition of fruit from the nearby and cooler Adelaide Hills, Chapel Hill also fashions a number of outstanding white wines, which further account for Chapel Hill’s preeminence among McLaren Vale producers.
McLaren Vale is one of South Australia’s most important wine growing appellations. It is also a region rich in history and rightfully covets its reputation as the birthplace of the Australian wine industry. Enhanced by its proximity to Adelaide as well as its superb climate, Mediterranean beauty, food, wine, and art culture, McLaren Vale thrives as a viticultural area as well as an important tourist destination. Most importantly, McLaren Vale is renowned for the quality, power and grace of its wines, many of which emanate from some of the world’s oldest vines.
Nestled between rolling hills and a picturesque coastline, McLaren Vale’s Mediterranean climate has created ideal conditions for the cultivation of red varietals, especially Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Moreover, McLaren Vale has become a leader in environmentally sustainable viticulture.
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