|Chapel Hill Vicar – text joy|
Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz 2010 (McLaren Vale, SA)
14.5%, Screwcap, $75
Michael Fragos – curly haired winemaker at Chapel Hill – made the unusual decision to release this 2010 vintage of the famed Chapel Hill Vicar Shiraz before the 2009, a move that is largely unheard of in Australian wine circles. Given how approachable this looks though, you’d be hard pressed to argue with the results. Consider my lid dipped.
Oh and this Vicar is a blend of 3 vineyards, predominantly Dudley Brown’s Inkwell. It was open fermented, spent 9 days on skins, was basket pressed, spent 21 months in barrel, with the wine also bottled unfined and unfiltered. In other words, it is serious Shiraz made seriously. Seriously.
The wine itself is an inky beast, carrying a nose of dark plum fruit with a veneer of sweet oak over the top. Super chocolatey and rich, dense to look at and smell (but inviting). Perhaps just a little pruney and desiccated around the edges, though still fresh.
It tastes like a big and open hearted Vale Shiraz,, with a lovely rich and luscious palate showing quite typical Vale choc-mulberry fruit/oak flavours with an intensity and a polish that is admirable. Classy fruit, classy winemaking. Hides it’s alcohol particularly well too considering the style and the heft of those inky flavours and soft tannins.
A wine of some power and balls-out intensity, it’s a thick and luscious Vale Shiraz that marries structure and fruit rather well indeed. Besides that edge of dried fruit, this is something of an archetype of the masculine Vale style, if still rather youthful. Like indeed. 18.3/93+