I’m a massive fan of honest winemakers.
In an industry where bullshit, marketing spin and outright lies are commonplace, I always appreciate when a winemaker it absolutely frank
That’s why it was refreshing to learn the story behind this ’15 Tapanappa Pinot Noir from Brian Croser.
According to Brian, he let his eye off the ball and the yields at the Foggy Hill Vineyard got away a bit. Not enough to destroy the crop (yields up circa 25% up on normal), but enough that he didn’t think it was up to Foggy standard..
As a result, he declassified the lot, dropping it from a $55 single vineyard wine to the more generic $39 ‘Fleurieu Peninsula’ label. Historically there has regularly been two tiers, but this year it all went into the cheaper wine.
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Drawn from across a range of sites from Brian Croser's beloved Piccadilly Valley.
Sees 30% new oak, with just over 300 dozen made. Citrus, lemon curds, honeydew, touches of meal, spicy oak.
The sour tang of lemon, a racy, almost nervy energy to it; acid that verily reaches into the far recesses of the palate, secreting itself into the cheeks, before the slow withdrawal.
Intensity of finish, a bold slap of flavour, lingering long. 92
The Whalebone Vineyard was planted in 1974 and is, by all reports, a terrific site.
Cellarable? I definitely think so. It’s bold, tannic, thick with tar and plum flavours, and has integrated its smoky/cedary oak quite perfectly. Nothing sticks out; it’s a bold red wine with its foundations of tannin well in place, and nothing much stands between it and the future. Whether or not the wine is either charming or compelling though is another matter. The alcohol doesn’t seem excessive but the fruit profile borders on overdone. Peppermint cream characters to the aftertaste add to the slightly old school impression.
Merlot-dominant blend – but don’t let that put you off.
It’s both fresh and substantial, oaked but brimful of fruit. It’s carved with tannin but the momentum of flavours charges through regardless. It tastes of boysenberry and black cherry, blackcurrant, coffee-cream and spearmint. It’s a full-bodied red but it feels alive. Vigorous good health, you might say. Super.
Tapanappa Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2015 - Silver Medal
Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 - Gold
The judges for the Global Chardonnay Masters were -
Thomas Chevalier – Vagabond Wines
Alberto Segade – Fera at Claridge’
Keith Isaac MW - Castelnau
Hugh Rose MW
Miles Corish MW
Jonathan Pedley MW
Christine Parkinson - Hakkasan
Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW
Patrick Schmitt MW
Lucy Shaw - Managing Editor - The Drinks Business
I thought this release was fractionally stewy at first but the more it breathed the more perfumed and delicate it because. It certainly offers good variety correct drinking. Macerated black cherries, roses and assorted foresty flowers, undergrowth, a gentle veneer of creamy oak, and a tangy/spicy finish. Tannin adds an appropriate level of tension to the wine. Drinks well now and should perform well with extra time in bottle.
Stonefruit, honeydew and lemon zest, cut fennel, with spicy cedar oak in support. Medium bodied, tangy lemony acidity, almond and spice, firm and flinty finish. It’s a wine of structure and coiled up power. Good now, but ideally needs a couple of years to slot into its groove, I’d say.
2015 Tiers Vineyard 1.5m Chardonnay
A new member of the Tapanappa chardonnay family, from the 2003 Tiers plantings at 1.5m spacing, producing an earlier ripening, softer and more generous style. The result is delightfully fragrant, packed with white peach and lemon fruit of impressive concentration, defining a well-rounded and juicy palate, yet beautifully honed with finely mineral acidity and finely structured mouth feel.
2015 Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay
Striking an exacting balance between complexity and depth tang and refreshing elegance, this is a chardonnay that sings the virtues of vineyards around the Piccadilly Valley in fragrant white peach and lemon tones. It's tangy, persistent, finely- textured and delicious.
2013 Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz
A very refined, fruit-driven, almost Chablis-like style. Stony nuances just add to that perception. Lees, subtle oak, and some buttery touches contribute to a complex wine. Restrained intensity, and it responds well to airing.
Stonefruit, white flowers, almond meal, almost a mint perfume, and fine spicy oak. Medium bodied, ripe fruit, but with citrus and firm flinty texture as a foil, almond gloss, intensity, and a huge push through the finish with ripe lemon and biscuitty flavour, and that flinty precision as farewell. You could decant if drinking now, though I’ say it needs time in bottle more than anything.