2015 Fleurieu Pinot delivers Gold… again

Author: Brian Croser
Source: Tapanappa
Review Date: Jul 2018

The 2015 Fleurieu Peninsula Pinot Noir has once again picked up a gold at the Drinks Business, 2018 Global Pinot Noir Masters. Further raising questions over Brian’s decision to declassify this wine! In his summary of the competition Patrick Schmitt MW noted:

Once the wines surpassed the £20 mark, as one would expect, the number of Gold medal-scoring samples increased significantly, with great Pinots from Napa, Yarra, Marlborough, Oregon and Aukland, as well as perennial high performer, Tapanappa, the only Pinot from Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

For interest’s sake, here is a summary of how this “second rate” Pinot has performed since release.

  • Andrew Graham – “this hardly tastes like a 2nd wine” – 18 points
  • Mike Bennie – “… hence declassified it. It’s none the less for it and quite a bargain” – 93 points
  • 2017 Global Pinot Noir Masters – Master, best in class
  • 2018 Global Pinot Noir Masters – Gold

And Brian’s case for the declassification.

The weather of the 2015 vintage at Foggy Hill on the Fleurieu Peninsula was slightly cooler than average and very dry, a good formula for high quality. I was very happy with the appearance of the fruit on the vine after we had fruit thinned about 30% of the crop just at veraison.
Meanwhile back in the Piccadilly Valley, I was preoccupied with taking the winery back from Petaluma in December and getting it ready for vintage in February. That was a big task and dominated my thoughts although I was content that Foggy Hill was in good condition for vintage.
It was a big surprise when we harvested Foggy Hill in early March that the crop was 30% more than anticipated. The difference between the anticipated 5.5 tonnes/hectare and the achieved 7 tonnes/hectare is critical for the yield sensitive variety Pinot Noir. The 2015 pinot Noir from Foggy Hill was made with all of the due care and the 30% new oak as though it would be labelled as Tapanappa 2015 Foggy Hill Pinot Noir. Before it went to bottle in early 2016 I made the decision to declassify it to Tapanappa 2015 Fleurieu Peninsula Pinot Noir because I doubted its varietal intensity. After my decision and the bottling, the 2015 Fleurieu Peninsula Pinot Noir has grown in intensity and complexity every month in bottle. I now stand accused of making a mistake in declassifying the wine. The third party critical assessment of the wine supports that accusation as the Tapanappa 2015 Fleurieu Peninsula Pinot Noir accumulates awards aginst the best of the global Pinot Noir world. My error is the fine wine consumer’s good luck.

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