Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (Mclaren Vale/Coonawarra)
Cork, $20ish at release
This comes from my less than perfect old cellar (underneath my parents house), so I always open these with a sense of trepidation, hoping that tonight I will win. Most of the wines are 10yrs+ now and few where expensive wines to begin with, so it can be a veritable lucky dip to find a good bottle.
But tonight’s bottle we will notch up as at least half a winner. I seem to remember the Chapel Hill reds as being quite beefy in their youth and propped up with a liberal dose of timber, which I think fortified this for its cellaring future. Reddish brown in colour, the nose is much more advanced than the palate, sticking out as faintly metallic, with cedar, roasted meat/bonox & earth. The palate however surprisingly shows its terroir – there is some generous, chocolatey red fruit and roast beef mid palate roundness that I reckon is the Mclaren Vale influence and some cedary, dried out cassis, red earth and cocoa black fruit from Coonawarra. Its mid weight and falls away at the finish, ending slightly metallic, but the whole package is still quite drinkable (though it is probably on the decline). Not a bad old Australian red. 16.2