No Fools on the Hill – Exceptional Value Whites from Chapel Hill

I don’t understand it. I’m not a staunch advocate of getting rid of the “Sauvalanche” from New Zealand, but I don’t get it. Please understand, I’m not talking about Sauvignon Blancs from the serious, yet funkier edge of wine making like those from Rippon or Jackson Estate…but rather the ubiquitous sea of pale green bottles in most grocery behemoth run chains festooned with images of Kiwis, oceanic molluscs and the inevitable Maori iconography.

Most wines have the right to shine at the right time and in the right place, but I don’t get the attraction towards these mass produced, inoffensive (to some), so called quaffers.  If a wine drinker is after a “light, refreshing white wine, easy on the dollars and even easier on the palate” then why are we not looking in our own backyard? The below whites from Chapel Hill are all $16 RRP and are well made. These are wines I can get.

Chardonnay can be sexy....

Chardonnay can be sexy….

2012 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Chardonnay

“The Final installment in our unwooded Chardonnay Evolution” reads the sticky note on the bottle. This iteration of everyday drinking Chardonnay sees a “Touch of French” but don’t let that put you off if you think you dislike “wooded Chardonnay.”

Lovely pale gold in the glass. Heady stonefruits of white nectarines/peaches. A little waxy skin note rounded out with lemony citrus. The palate carries some weight at 13% alcohol plus that light pass through of oak. Quite pure and almost pristine, lots of those slight white stonefruits, crisp and snapping halfway. Lingering with a beautiful softness of lemon and Packham pear (skin & flesh).

Verdelho..Portuguese for delicious

Verdelho..Portuguese for delicious

The lovely people at Chapel Hill sent me the 2011 and the 2012 Verdelhos so that Vintage variation could be contrasted side by side. In light of my introduction, I won’t continue my rant here, but I will say that I think Australian Verdelho should be the logical alternative next time someone asks you for an NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Besides, Verdelho sounds far more exotic and sexier to say….

2011 Chapel Hill Verdelho

Fruity fingerlimes and subdued tropicals, quinces and white flowers..almost honeysuckle. Medium bodied and still a very textural wine with plenty of refreshing lime juice acidity. Some herbaceous back palate characters but finished off with a lovely textural grip

2012 Chapel Hill Verdelho

Instantly struck by a sweeter, fruitier nose. Soft tropical fruits balanced by lime. More smells of Passionfruit skins leftover after you’ve scooped your Pavlova topping out from it. The palate has the same textural grip, but the fruit is far more primary than the 11. There’s a liveliness and sparkle to this vintage that tops the 11, but you would expect it. Gimme grilled firm white fish and sun and a bottle…

Duelling Vintages...

Duelling Vintages…

All wines RRP: $16

2012 Chardonnay and Verdelho Alcohol: 13%

2011 Verdelho Alcohol: 12.5%

All wines samples courtesy of Chapel Hill Wine


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