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Tapanappa News, Articles & Reviews
A more sumptuous wine than the grippy, edgy, energetic 2003, this 2004 is finely tuned, more relaxed and self-assured and, in truth, far more delicious! Tapanappa is fast-tracking at an impressive rate into the top echelons of the Aus wine scene and the 2005 TT Chardonnay was in danger of gate-crashing this party, too. Place your bets for next year's inclusion, now.
I'm enormously enthusiastic about Brian Croser's new Tapanappa venture (which will unite a number of 'sites of distinction?, including those beyond Australia's borders, in due course), and the Whalebone Vineyard from Wrattonbully (formerly Koppamurra) makes a fine foundation stone. Brian is always looking for length rather than breadth and some have criticised him for going too far in that direction. This wine is perfectly pitched, it seems to me, between those two planes: the fruit qualities are outstanding, with a helix of ripenesss turning at the wine's core; acutely judged tannins, too, purring in the background. It is (as its geographical position between Coonawarra and Padthaway suggests) a kind of Coonawarra refocussed, with the wind-harried blade of acidity draped in velvet and a little more old-continent generosity in evidence. 94/100
Former Petaluma supremo Brian Croser had to treat his vineyard owner wife Ann to a week in the best hotel in Paris to convince her to release half of the chardonnay grapes from her Tiers Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley to his new Tapanappa winery venture.
The result is the 2005 Tapanappa Tiers chardonnay ($70) from the same vineyard as Petaluma's far more expensive Tiers chardonnay.
Tapanappa, a joint venture between Croser (who was bought out at Petaluma by Lion Nathan in 2001), the Cazes family, Chateau Lynch Bages and the Bollinger group, aims to produce great wines from great Australian terroir and is also making superb red from its Whalebone vineyard in Coonawarra. The wines are hard to find (two thrids are exported) but the search is well worth the effort. The chardonnay is probably the best made in the Adelaide Hills.
Now that I'm back from Australia, I've compiled the following small but quirky list of highs and lows:
Most Pleasant Surprise (Barrel Tasting Division): Pinot Noir from Brian Croser's new Foggy Hill vineyard way down on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide. This 10-acre vineyard sits atop a craggy hillside, above the fog line most days. It looks like Sonoma Coast, and the wines taste like they come from it. The first wines, from 2007, are destined for the Tapanappa label Croser owns with Jean-Michel Cazes of Bordeaux and Bollinger of Champagne. If they make it into the bottle with the flavor profile, texture and length they showed in the barrel, they could be the best Pinots in Australia.
Australian wine producer Brian Croser is pioneering Pinot Noir in South Australia to add to the highly-regarded Tapanappa range.
Croser, a Decanter Man of the Year and one of the most influential men in the Australian wine industry, has four hectares of Pinot at a place called Yankallilla on the Fleurieu peninsula south of Adelaide.
The land is 'like Sonoma', export manager Xavier Bizot told decanter.com. 'Cool, quite windy, and perfect for Pinot. Brian is very enthusiastic about it.'
The vines - three different Burgundy clones - are now around four years old. The first harvest was earlier this year.
Croser is experimenting with different types of crush for different batches: whole-bunch pressing, full crush etc.
Yankallilla is where Croser keeps a beach house. 'Brian is well-known down there. They call it Cape Croser,' Bizot said. 'Yankallilla actually means 'Place of bad smells' in the local aboriginal dialect, because of all the whales there.'
The Pinot will be sold in high-end restaurants worldwide alongside the rest of the Tapanappa range: a Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Shiraz, all of which retail in the UK at around £30.
Meaning 'Stick to the path' in aboriginal language, Tapanappa is a super-premium Australian label, launched by one of the great names of Australian winemaking, Brian Croser (left). Croser found fame as owner and winemaker at Petaluma, one of Australia's icon estates. In late 2001 Petaluma, which Croser had founded in 1976, was taken over by the giant Lion Nathan group. But "even as the ink was drying on the Petaluma purchase," as Croser says, he was putting together a plan for a new venture with long-time associates Champagne Bollinger and Bordeaux's Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages.