2011…A Spice Odyssey

2011. Often talked about as terrible year for red wine in Australia. But Margaret River had a cracker. Hunter Valley turned out some top notch wines considering the weather leading into Vintage. But what about South Australia? Almost written off entirely due to being stuck between 2 very good vintages of 2010 and 2012, green shoots of life are starting to appear in the vinous landscape from that “scorched earth” of a vintage. How is this possible? Who has achieved such miracles, Lazarus like in nature? Well, it seems that if your vineyard was well looked after, then you just might have gotten away with it and produced some very decent wines. I’m certainly not declaring that 2011 be heralded as a Vintage to behold, but maybe it should be one not instantly dismissed.

I’ve spoken of Chapel Hill’s viticultural practices in other reviews, but I think that it is these 2011 Vintage wines that shows just how good they are. Sure, they’ve got a bit more spice rather than bright ripe fruit (except for maybe the broody Shiraz), but my take is buy, and drink, these wines from this vintage with confidence.

2011 Mourvedre

aka Mataro, Monastrell, Dog Strangler, Alicante, Tintilla, English Colossal to name a few

aka Mataro, Monastrell, Dog Strangler, Alicante, Tintilla, English Colossal to name a few

Bright purple edged with a dark mulberry core. A hint of lacquer, spices, sweaty leather, crayon, violets and liqueur plums. Red – purple plum, heady cumin esque spice. A little bit of meaty funk.  Full weight and big palate.  Squeaky tannins finish on the gums.

2011 Shiraz

Is it Shiraz? or a something that hides in the shadows?

Is it Shiraz? or a something that hides in the shadows?

Smoke, brine, ink, coffee essence. Sour cherry/red fruits, almost headed for blueberry. Lovely full bodied creaminess from oak. Dark, brooding serious almost blackhearted with nigh on astringent tannins & medium plus acidity. This isn’t your cheap & cheerful McLaren Vale grown up raspberry cordial for adults slurp juice, this is a tightly coiled angry wine waiting in a dark alley ready to unleash.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

Bordeaux bottles. high shoulders to carry the weight of expectation.

Bordeaux bottles. high shoulders to carry the weight of expectation.

Electric plum purple. Evocative nose redolent with Pencils, soft tobacco, campfire ash, earth, good herbaceous lift of elegant Cabernet. Bold and bright mulberry to blackcurrant & brambles balanced by earthy characters.  Fine long tannins & medium acidity providing elegance. Lingering warmth from the alcohol, but doesn’t seem out of whack.

The 3 Amigos.

The 3 Amigos.

All alcohol: 14.5%

All RRP: $30

All wines samples courtesy of Chapel Hill Wine

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