Of Future Vintages and Innovation

Author: Brian Croser
Source: Tapanappa
Review Date: Feb 2011

It’s a very busy time of year. The usual “clear the cellar” panic to make way for the new vintage is less frenetic in 2011 as ripening processes in the vineyards are on more normal time-lines and proceeding at a more orderly pace than in the past 5 precocious vintages. Our long term weather forecaster assures us that the “La Nina (wetter) to Neutral events should be the dominant Pacific Ocean-Australian feature from 2011 to mid to late 2016. While El Nino (drier) to Neutral events should be the slightly more dominant feature from mid to late 2016 to 2019.” Thank goodness for the prospect of a sequence of 6 normal vintages without picking panic, sunburn or shrivel.

In 2011 “it’s their time” is the motive for racking from barrique the 2010 Tiers and Piccadilly Valley Chardonnays, the 2010 Foggy Hill and Fleurieu Peninsula Pinots, the 2009 Whalebone Merlot Cabernet Franc and the 2009 Wrattonbully Cabernet Shiraz in the months either side of Christmas.

These six small parcels of precious wines have been minutely examined and pronounced fit for bottle and that is the logistical process in which we are involved currently. So much innovation all at once!

In November 2010 Tapanappa introduced the first of its “Wines of Terroir”. The 2009 Tapanappa Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay was made from the younger close spaced Dijon clone vines on the Tiers vineyard. The PV Chardonnay was sealed under screw cap, a first for Tapanappa and retails for about $39/bottle.

In the parallel universe of the Foggy Hill Vineyard, the younger Pinot Noir vines of the 2 hectare Block 2 (planted in 2006), also Dijon clones (777 and 115) and close spaced (1.5mX1.5m) have been separated as Tapanappa’s first “Parawa, Fleurieu Peninsula Pinot Noir” also sealed under screw cap and retailing for about $39/bottle.

Finally and logically, the 2007 Tapanappa Cabernet Shiraz will not be released as a Whalebone Vineyard because it isn’t. The 70% Cabernet Sauvignon content is from the Whalebone Vineyard but the 30% Shiraz ingredient comes from the vineyard across the road which belongs to our good friend Rob Hooper. Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard Shiraz was fully frosted in 2007 (and 2008) and we have since managed a small section of Rob’s vineyard to provide the Shiraz for the Cabernet Shiraz in case of failure of our own. No it is not in screw cap but it will retail as Tapanappa’s Wrattonbully Cabernet Shiraz for about $51/bottle.

The three Tapanappa “Wines of Terroir” (the WoT wines internally), are “pure expressions of their unique terroirs” consistent with their “Single Vineyard” siblings.

Too much innovation for my aging brain.


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