In defence of 2010

Author: Brian Croser
Source: Tapanappa
Review Date: May 2012

Two blogs in a day! 

Not quite, as the previous one had been under preparation for some time.

Having hailed the 2012 vintage in the great tradition of Murray Tyrrell (renowned for announcing the vintage of the century every year), I feel compelled to defend vintage 2010.

The statistics of heat summation and summer rain for vintage 2010 reveal it as one of, if not the hottest and driest vintage on record.

We are reliably informed statistics can tell lies and for 2010 the lie lies in the extremely warm November, which accounted for the vast majority of the extra heat above average in Tapanappa’s three vineyard sites.

November is the month in which the rapidly growing shoots reach maximum growth rate before flowering and fruit set in early December. Heat in November has no direct influence on fruit quality (there is none) but it does shift forward all of the subsequent phenological events (flowering, veraison and engustment/harvest).

The rest of the 2010 growing-season, from December to April, was on a month-by-month basis, almost exactly on average for each of the vineyards.

The advancement of ripening does mean that the final, all-important process of engustment (build up of flavour and softening of tannins) does occur in the warmer last weeks of February and the start of March rather than through the month of March.

However the very moderate ripening temperatures of February and early March in 2010, ensured delicate flavours were formed and retained and that the malic acid was not respired away.

2010 has produced fully ripe wines effortlessly demonstrating all of the best features of variety and terroir, with moderate alcohol and spine stiffening acidity.

Why am I going to all of this trouble to defend the 2010 vintage?

Because as you will see on our twitter profile, we released the 2010 Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay and the 2010 Tapanappa Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir in Sydney and Melbourne early last week.

Breaking the wine-media handling rule of never telling the cognoscenti what to think, I am forced to say that they are both outstanding examples of their respective unique terroirs.

Both wines have been released under screw cap, which will come as a shock to some.

What can I say that others won’t say for me? In Australia it is becoming a commercial imperative to bottle under screw cap because of the overwhelming clamour from the thronged crowd of wine-media, retailers, sommeliers and convinced consumers that screw cap is righteous and cork is evil. Who am I to argue facts of wine chemistry or the unintended consequences of a mass migration to a seemingly simple solution to a complex, multi-factorial problem?

Speaking mass migration, we had the great pleasure of being in Tanazania after the Old Mutual Championship Wine show in South Africa two weeks ago. The Serenegeti was rapidly filling with every sort of animal descendent from the African deck of Noah’s Ark, getting ready for the charge (no comparison to screw-cap activists intended).The Serengeti is one of the most spectacular expanses of geography anywhere, fittingly crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro and draining via the Grumeti River into the southern end of Lake Victoria and thence on to the Nile and 6,650 kilometers later through Cairo into the Mediterranean.Surprisingly the temperature and humidity were moderate despite being on the equator, although I didn’t identify any promising fine wine terroirs.

Back to the substance of this communiqué,

My wholehearted recommendation is to act quickly and secure your allocation of these two wonderful wines.


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