Brian Croser’s Foggy Hill Vineyard in the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of McLaren Vale is one of South Australia’s most isolated vineyards. At its highest point at Parawa, it is possible to look over towards Encounter Bay where Matthew Flinders on the HMS Investigator and Nicolas Baudin on the Géographe met each other by accident on the 8th April 1802, 34 years before the foundation of South Australia. Not knowing whether England and France were at war, Matthew Flinders cleared his decks for action, but after flag signals, the encounter was cordial and the two swapped information about their explorations.
Brian Croser’s journey of exploration has also been a long story of entente cordiale with ambitions closely linked to making the finest wines possible in South Australia. Both his business interests and family have been interconnected with France through a joint venture with Champagne House Bollinger from the late 1980s, family bonds and ongoing ambitions to make wines of character and memory of place. Brian Croser’s reputation is hinged on his work and convictions as a grape grower. His belief in distinguished vineyard sites and consistency in messaging has been a foundation of Australia’s modern winemaking outlooks.
The most recent releases of Tapanappa Foggy Hill Pinot Noirs, highlight a remarkable dedication and ambition to create meaningful and memorable conversations around the potential of the grape variety in South Australia. It is now 20 years since Brian Croser planted his windswept and low-cropping Foggy Hill Vineyard at the apex of the Fleurieu Peninsula with Dijon clones. Like all ventures of this type, it seemingly takes half a lifetime to achieve meaningful results, but these newest releases show impressive progress and a new level of quality and complexity. Compared to other releases of this series, the wines show a compelling and authentic scent of place and the richness and mineral torque that comes with older vines and experienced winemaking. Although aged in French oak barriques, the percentage of new barrels is only around 33%, allowing fruit to unfold and the terroir to speak.
From the 2022 vintage, all Tapanappa wines are bottled under screwcap. This is a very welcome direction, which will no doubt create new and positive conversations. But the freshness, density and mineral length of the 2022 Foggy Hill Pinot Noir (screwcap) promises a very good medium-term future. The 2021 Foggy Hill Definitus Pinot Noir, (cork) a grand cru style based on specific micro-plots, reflects a cool season and is utterly delicious to drink. The pair are a lovely foil to each other with very similar weight and texture but differing line, impact and complexity.
2022 Foggy Hill Pinot Noir Fleurieu Peninsula – South Australia
Medium deep colour. Pure strawberry, red cherry, touch herb garden/ dried roses aromas and flavours. Supple and fresh with lovely inky density and some underlying vanilla notes. Finishes chalky and minerally. Classical in shape and style with very appealing fruit complexity and length.
Drink now – 2030 95 points
2021 Foggy Hill Definitus Pinot Noir Fleurieu Peninsula – South Australia
Medium deep colour. Perfumed strawberry pastille hint chinotto aromas with savoury notes. Well concentrated strawberry pastille, cola, touch apricot flavours and supple textures. Finishes slinky and long. Lovely vinosity, complexity and mineral length.
Drink now – 2032 95 points