Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

This Winery Was Once An Aussie Church!

 Seaview, McLaren Vale
First settled in 1836, shortly after the colony of South Australia was proclaimed, the sub-region of  Seaview attracted many settlers. The church that was built in the 1860's played an important part in the lives of the settlers and their daily lives! 
In addition to its religious responsibilities, the church served as a community centre for sports and dances as well as serving as the local school. It quickly became a landmark.
In 1965 owing to both progress and the increased ability to travel faster to other cities,  it ceased being involved and eventually abandoned!  
New Horizons 
Enter Professor Tom Nelson who, in 1971, purchased the property for his wife's horses but later planted vines in 1972. The property was later purchased and invested in by the Gerrard Family in the 1980's. 
Pam Dunsford who, in the early 1970's,, entered a non traditional role as a winemaker.  Pam earned degrees in Bio-Chemistry and Horticulture and went on to obtain a Masters at U of Davis in California among many other notable achievements.  Since then, Pam has become an icon of winemaking in Australia.
Due to her influence and also a new direction in viticulture, the region has become a leader in sustainable and creative wine practices and environmental issues. Pam retired from Chapel Hill in 2006 after 19 vintages and was the recipient of the Maurice O'Shea Award for her contributions to the Australian Wine Industry. One very amazing person who I understand, is continually venturing into interesting careers such as anthropology!
McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale is located in the Province of South Australia and just south of the Adelaide. It sports a Mediterranean climate. It sports a large soil variety -----all soils are "free draining" meaning that they do not hold water for long periods thus making it an advantage to growing vines. Since there are a wide number of soil types ---all good for wine----a diverse group of viticultural species can be grown.   
Chapel Hill Winery
Chapel Hill is a leader in sustainable agricultural (viticultural) farming which includes both modern and established methods of regenerative agriculture, organic viticulture, soil health, carbon sequestration, lowering green gas emissions, solar energy, recycling and waste reduction. While it specializes in Shiraz varieties, the winery produces a range of red and white grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon,  Chardonnay, Shiraz and Semillon. One of its most famous wines is Chapel Hill: The Parsons Shiraz. 
Chapel Hill The Parsons Shiraz 2022  McLaren Vale                          $19.95    94/100 points
Colour: Dark red
Nose: Black Cherry/blackberry, plum notes, floral violet, vivid spices (Paprika, cloves, pepper, cassia), pepper, hint of chocolate, fig.
Palate:  Full bodied, very dry, forward tannin, pleasant lengthy finish with anise on the after.
Food: Filet Mignon with mushroom/truffle sauce a must. Possible pork sirloin, roast turkey and venison.
Comments: An exceptional wine at the price. Chapel Hill is now owned by the Woolworth company!    My score was based on a price/quality ratio. making it an excellent purchase that will improve for at least the next four or five years if you can wait that long to drink it.