Recognition

Tapanappa News, Articles & Reviews

South Australia 2021 – near perfect

Brian Croser reports on the 2021 vintage, which he describes as ‘perfection in a sea of uncertainty’.

In South Australia we have just completed one of the very best vintages of my 51-vintage career.

Against a background of global social tumult, roiling sickness and death in India and other developing nations, lockdowns anywhere and anytime, frost devastation in European vineyards and smoke and fires enveloping the vineyards of the west coast of America,

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“South Australia’s top-scoring white wines: 20 to try” – 2018 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay

With Spring approaching this 20 March, white wines may begin to take an edge this time of year. Whether looking for crisp and refreshing styles or complex and full bodied, South Australia’s top-scoring white wines from the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards seem to encompass it all…

2018 Tapanappa, Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay, Piccadilly Valley (Adelaide Hills)
Rich and smoky on the nose, with hints of gentle spiced citrus fruit, and the palate is graced with white peach,

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“It’s a big youthful wine that will certainly reward with time and age” – 2017 Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc

Deep red colour with a trace of purple and the bouquet has a gun-smoky, black olive, roasted-fruit bouquet, the palate full-bodied and chewy with assertive, slightly bitter tannins that leave a hefty chew on the aftertaste. A quite heavy, thick-textured red that deserves time and really needs some ageing. Big extraction, bulky and lacking elegance. It’s very ripe and savoury: a long way removed from simple fruit.
92 points

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“South Australia’s top-scoring white wines: 20 to try” – 2018 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay

With Spring approaching this 20 March, white wines may begin to take an edge this time of year. Whether looking for crisp and refreshing styles or complex and full bodied, South Australia’s top-scoring white wines from the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards seem to encompass it all…

2018 Tapanappa, Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay, Piccadilly Valley (Adelaide Hills)
Rich and smoky on the nose, with hints of gentle spiced citrus fruit, and the palate is graced with white peach,

 » Read more about: “South Australia’s top-scoring white wines: 20 to try” – 2018 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay  »

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“Righteous stuff. All class” – 2016 Tiers Vineyard 1.5M Chardonnay

All class. Layers to bouquet and palate, inward concentration, exceptional length and fine tuned oak/lees work implicit. It offers nectarine to marzipan and cinnamon spice. The palate shows richness but freshness of acidity with a core of flint-like minerality. Righteous stuff.
94 points

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A pure expression of the unique Whalebone Vineyard terroir – 2017 Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz

Medium to deep red colour with a trace of purple and a mossy, undergrowth bouquet with traces of humus and cabernet raspberry-mint, more savoury than fruity. The wine is very dry and savoury in the mouth, finishing with firm tannins and a palate-cleansing trace of bitterness. It perhaps lacks a little in freshness but has undoubted depth of flavour, concentration and is already quite complex.
93 points

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A pretty impressive Pinot Noir – 2019 Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir

It’s a firm, fragrant, spice-riddled pinot noir with blueberry and macerated cherry notes shot through with aromatic herb notes. In fact it’s quite earthen, almost beetroot-like, with a sweetness to the finish in the context of its dry/earthen style. This is a pretty impressive wine it has to be said. Different in its Australian context. Earth, root and blue fruit. Interesting.
92 points

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An excellent example of Australia’s own unique blend – 2016 Whalebone Cabernet Shiraz

The classic Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blend is all about combining the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the ripeness and upfront appeal of shiraz. This example does it well, aided by the warm 2016 vintage.

It is a bright deep ruby colour but still closed, and youthful. The fruit is brooding – layers of tar, olive tapenade, cedar and spice combined with tight grained oak. On the palate it is dry, juicy, angular and structural with concentrated fruit currently enveloped in a blanket of tannins.

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A huge wine with considerable impact – 2016 Whalebone Cabernet Shiraz

This Tapanappa Whalebone Cab Shiraz 2016 sure packs in flavour, but it would be more compelling if it was less ripe.
85% Wrattonbully Cabernet and 15% Adelaide Hills Shiraz (from the Shining Rock Vineyard which Brian Croser founded in the Petaluma days). It’s deep, thick and coffeed, the palate drenched with dark chocolate flavour and a thick, cooked berry middle.
A huge wine, of considerable impact, with thickset fruit and chocolate oak at every turn.

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Another solid Adelaide Hills Chardonnay – 2018 Tapanappa Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay

While not quite of the same calibre as the exceptional Tiers, this Tapanappa Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2018 is another solid Adelaide Hills Chardonnay.
Tight and citrussy lemon butter style, the palate very much driven by tangy grapefruit and less about oak richness. For mine it’s a bit disjointed, the fruit lean and citrussy and the palate feels like it’s reaching for richness to balance out the tart grapefruit. Still, it’s very long, which all points to quality fruit at the core.

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A good expression of Adelaide Hills Shiraz – 2016 Tapanappa Adelaide Hills Shiraz

2016 Tapanappa Single Vineyard Adelaide Hills Shiraz is the first “distinguished site” shiraz from Tapanappa, from the Shining Rock Vineyard planted in ’96. A very good expression of Adelaide Hills shiraz, replete with black pepper, warm spice and licorice threaded through its blackberry and satsuma plum flavours, oak and tannins in dutiful support.
96 points

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The best Foggy Hill Pinot Noir made to date – 2017 Foggy Hill Vineyard “Definitus” Pinot Noir

2017 gave Foggy Hill the growing season and vintage it craved for. In terms of varietal character, texture, structure, balance and length, the wine can’t be faulted. It is by some distance the best Foggy Hill Pinot Noir made to date. What will the ensuing vintages provide?
97 points

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Should be in the cellar of every Australian wine lover – 2016 Whalebone Cabernet Franc Merlot

Classic right bank (Bordeaux) blend of Cabernet Franc (as opposed to Cabernet Sauvignon being king on the left). Wrattonbully in the far east of the state of South Australia has a cool, maritime influenced, climate – from memory the whalebone reference being to the fact the region was under sea way back in the past, and whale bone have been found in the region.

Cabernet France’s aromatic play is on show here, bright and intense,

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A complex and delicious Pinot Noir – 2018 Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir

Foggy Hill is located on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and is one of the coldest places on the Australian mainland. It creates a very unique style of Australian Pinot – particularly savoury, spicy and even meaty wines. The wines are also structural and have a pretty edge.

The 2018 shows its typical youthful flourish – floral, red cherry and wild strawberry fruits are matched by a touch of green herbs, baked earth and iron.

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Australia’s very own unique red blend – 2017 Whalebone Cabernet Shiraz

Marked by mint and cassis on the nose, the 2017 Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz becomes more Shiraz-like on the palate, where it adds cherry-berry fruit and a relaxed, generous feel on the medium to full-bodied palate. Silky tannins sneak in to give a pleasant soft dustiness to the finish. It’s a solid effort, but it lacks the aromatic fireworks of the Cab Franc Merlot blend.
91 points

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A classic right bank Bordeaux blend – 2017 Whalebone Merlot Cabernet Franc

The floral-herbal elements of Cabernet Franc are nicely balanced and rounded out by the ripe cherries of the Merlot in Tapanappa’s 2017 Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc. Silky and fine on the palate, this medium to full-bodied red still delivers plenty of flavor, with cherries and tobacco set off by accents of cedar and vanilla on the lingering finish.
93 points

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A more generous and complex Pinot Noir – 2018 Foggy Hill Vineyard “Definitus” Pinot Noir

The 2018 Foggy Hill Vineyard “Definitus” Pinot Noir is a blend of Clones 115 and 777 from a strip of vines over the site’s shallowest soils. Winemaking is similar to the rest of the vineyard’s production, and maturation takes place in 30% new French oak, with the balance of the wood being one and two years old. Compared to the regular bottling, it ratchets up the intensity, but it does so at the expense of some of the more delicate floral nuances.

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An ethereal Pinot Noir with accents of floral and fresh spice – 2019 Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir

More floral and ethereal in character than the sturdier 2018, the 2019 Pinot Noir Foggy Hill Vineyard delivers notes of fresh herbs, black tea, roses, cherries and cranberries. Medium-bodied and silky in texture, it also weighs in with 0.8% alcohol less than the previous vintage. While it’s less expansive and rich, it floats easier on the palate, lingering easily on the finish.
90 points

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An exquisite wine from an extraordinary vintage – SOLD OUT 2019 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay

Pale straw-colored, the 2019 Chardonnay Tiers Vineyard comes from the original plantings made in 1979 at 450 meters above sea level. Entirely barrel-fermented in one-third new French oak with the balance in second- and third-use barrels, it boasts subtle scents of pencil shavings accenting ripe melon and citrus. Medium-bodied, generous and silky in feel, with more pineapple flavors evident on the palate, it finishes long, with mouthwatering citrus and delicate oak nuances.
93 points

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The intensity is almost forbidding in its youth. An excellent wine; better in another year or two – SOLD OUT 2019 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay

Very light, bright yellow hue. A powerfully expressive bouquet of cashew-nutty, oaky, oatmeal biscuit aromas, the palate very intense and penetrating, concentrated and high-impact. The finish is ultra-dry, appetising and refreshing. The intensity is almost forbidding in its youth. An excellent wine; better in another year or two.
96 points

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A slightly subtler, more restrained, refined wine than the old-vine Tiers – 2019 Tiers Vineyard 1.5M Chardonnay

Huon Hooke
Huon Hooke

Light, bright yellow hue. Gently smoky, nutty, straw-like bouquet, complex and gently reductive, the palate fine and tensioned, precise and delicate yet intense and long. It has a delicious core of sweet stone-fruit flavour balanced by a refreshing, crisply tart finish. A slightly subtler, more restrained, refined wine than the old-vine Tiers.
96 points

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A delicious glass of Pinot – 2018 Foggy Hill Vineyard “Definitus” Pinot Noir

Medium to deep ruby colour with purple tints and a complex bouquet of smoky, vegetal, possibly whole-bunch fermented characters, some notes of char-grilled vegetables, all melded with raspberry-like fruit aromas. Hints of humus and Campari. The wine is intense and medium to full-bodied, well-structured and firm but not overly tannic for its fruit-weight. Succulent sweet-fruit centre. A delicious glass of pinot, with the structure to take some age well. (777 and 115 clones. 20% whole-bunches,

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Has many years ahead of it – 2019 Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir

Bright and vibrant ruby colour from core to rim. Black cherry, iodine, smoke and vegetable broth aromatics. Intense from the palate entry, dark cherry fruit shows early then morphs into multiple savoury layers of smoke, meat and undergrowth. Quite mouth-filling, Acids and tannins show a guiding hand yet stay supple and in the background. Very long and has many years ahead of it
94 points

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A pretty impressive wine – 2019 Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir

It’s a firm, fragrant, spice-riddled pinot noir with blueberry and macerated cherry notes shot through with aromatic herb notes. In fact it’s quite earthen, almost beetroot-like, with a sweetness to the finish in the context of its dry/earthen style. This is a pretty impressive wine it has to be said. Different in its Australian context. Earth, root and blue fruit. Interesting.

92 points

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