Chapel Hill Il Vescovo Sangiovese 2011 and Sangiovese Rose 2012

A pair of Bishops...

A pair of Bishops…

Arriving home from overseas holidays and the subsequent come down from breathing very different air (and not just the recycled pressurised version on the aeroplanes) takes its toll quite fast on the spirit. Luckily, waiting for me was an assortment of samples from the ridiculously talented team at Chapel Hill Wine.

Somewhere between regaining lost fitness and the desire to try these wines, I’ve had to sit on the stock for a week or two, but the warm Sydney weather over the weekend saw me putting the 2012 Il Vescovo Sangiovese Rosé in the fridge, preparing for a lovely summer’s evening refresher. As luck would have it, the weather turned foul and the day was also right for something a little heartier…in this case the slightly older sibling, the 2011 Il Vescovo Sangiovese.

“Alternative” Varietals have long held a place in McLaren Vale, with Coriole pioneering the Sangiovese in the mid 1980’s. Sangiovese still only accounts for less than 1% of the total red grape crush in Australia, but had an 18% increase from 2010 to 2011. So even though the quantities are small, there is a definitive focus on the grape from more wineries in Australia. And why shouldn’t there be? The Mediterranean climes are not too dissimilar to some of our regions and the grape seems to be flourishing in terms of quality in both viticulture and wine making.

Chapel Hill's Il Vescovo...The Italian Mob

Chapel Hill’s Il Vescovo…The Italian Mob

il Vescovo Sangiovese 2011, 14% alc: Lovely colour in the glass heading towards garnet red at the edges. There’s a smoky sweetness and herbacious-ness to the nose along with some pretty ripe purple fruits. Solid palate with dark cherries and a good dry, back palate. A little plushness from the oak and (much needed for food) acidity that clings to the teeth. There’s a smack of sweetness up front that I attribute more to McLaren Vale than the 14% alcohol, not a hot or jammy wine at all. I really like the balance and the structure of the way it has been put together: with the intention of being an excellent food wine (although pretty bloody good without food too). I had it with cherry & herb stuffed (free range) roasted chook and roasted vegies. Handled the slightly more robust food with aplomb.

il Vescovo Sangiovese Rosé 2012, 12.5% alc:  Gorgeous pale pink in the glass, but don’t be fooled…it’s not an indicator of overt sweetness. There’s a good lifted nose of cherry lemonade and fresh cut strawberries (you know, those really big ones that smell good when you cut them up ready for soaking in Cointreau & a spoon full of sugar….). The palate has a good acidic lilt, predominantly dry and neither sickly nor too sweet. There’s a lovely texture that I enjoy in Rosés from red grapes with good tannin/acid structures. Acid is well balanced considering this is the 2012 Vintage….pre-cut and ready to let rip when it gets home. This isn’t a flippant rosé for long lunches of mums who love sweet things and pink: red drinkers can certainly feel safe on a warm summer’s day ordering this one. It does sing out for a lunch or evening kinda food though…share plates piled high of Antipasto and Crudo…maybe a little Tuscan Wild Boar & Pistachio Salami?

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