Brian Croser, one of Australia's most respected winemakers, has been on a mission to find the perfect spot to grow pinot noir in Australia. He settled on the Fleurieu Peninsula on the tip of Sotuh Australia, and the result, while not (quite) perfect, is very fine indeed: seductive, graceful, sleek and complex, it's as good as many a pricier Burgundy.
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Brian Croser raised a few eyebrows with his inaugural 2007 Foggy Hill, sourced from a region barely associated with top shelf Australian wine, let alone pinot noir. Then, with his follow up from 2008, Croser showed the capabilities of his special site with a wonderful release. But it's the 2009 which has really declared the winemaking legend's intentions of taking on Australia's very best exponents of the closely followed genre. With the exception of some of Ashton Hills' very best wines, I've never had a South Australian pinot noir so cleanly fruited, savoury, under spoken, beautifully made or astoundingly complex in its youth. Is it the future of South Australian pinot noir? I think so.
Good medium-depth colour; a very savoury briary style, with texture and structure its strengths; needs time to show whether there is enough pinosity (a Croser word) at its heart.
91 points / 4.5 glasses
Drink by 2015
Not surprisingly, Kiwi’s aren’t the only ones producing silky smooth wines Down Under. For an absolute corker, try Tapanappa, Foggy Hill Pinot Noir 2009, Adelaide Hills [Ed: Fleurieu Peninsula], South Australia. The colour of morello cherries, it’s produced by one of the country’s most famous winemakers, Brian Croser (formerly of Petaluma). Polished and beautifully structured with ribbons of red and black fruit, subtle tannins and an elegant finish, save this beauty for lightly seasoned dishes, rather than hickory-flavoured platters.
Deep crimson; the bouquet offers black plum, licorice and cinnamon; the palate is compact and firm, slowly revealing the sweet dark fruits that lie therein; mineral driven and savoury to conclude; a marked difference in style from the Foggy Hill ￼￼￼￼Vineyard.
92 points / 4½ goblets - Drink by: 2018
Once again we see Brian Croser’s belief in the site paying off as these relatively young vines are really starting to pay dividends.
A lovely nose of plum and cherry some charry oak and eucalypt but fundamentally it’s earthy and that’s exactly what these distinguished site wines are meant to do – translate some terroir.
The palate is more a sensation of suppleness, a burst of sweet fruit makes way for a mellifluous tannin framework, some spicy persistence and a long finish. Good to see the belief in the Fleurieu region as a place for Pinot to prosper now paying off, so hats tipped in the direction of Monsieur Croser.
Original article: http://www.winingpom.com.au/2011/07/tapanappa-pinot-noir-2010
Tapanappa Pinot Noir 2010
This comes from the cool Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia and yet this was one of the warmest years. The result is a wine with deliciously appealing flesh and, at the same time, a firm tight spine of silky tannins and fine-grained oak.
A beautiful medium-bodied pinot noir with floral notes in tune with ripe spicy plum. Let it breathe to get the best from it.
What a tempting wine this is. OK, it's very youthful - and comes from young vines, too - planted by veteran winemaker Brian Croser at Parawa; a cool, foggy site on the Fleurieu Peninsula, in 2006. The proof is in the pudding, however, and Croser has been proved correct in identifying this as a special site. It's probably a bigger wine than hoped for - the result of a warm vintage - with plenty of appealing sweet fruit, but there's also impressive tannin structure and some silky elegance on the palate to keep the bold fruit in check. Great news for consumers, too, is that the wine is under screwcap; as is the Tapanappa 2010 Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay. Only 500 cases were made, so it may pay to be quick off the mark.
Young vine Pinot rarely flatters, but these six-year-old vines are finding their place. The cooler 2009 season provided tart acidity which underlines lifted rose petal perfume and precise red cherry palate.
It's honed, fresh and expressive.
I have a small number of Tapanappa wines in my cellar, but never tasted the full range until last night. I cannot think of another small Australian winery which produces four different wines at such an outstanding level. I much prefer these wines to Brian Croser's old Petaluma range. Every wine I tried I would rate in the 95/96 point range.
The 2008 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay is brilliant. Made in the style of a leading Montrachet, it undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation. Despite this, there is enough acidity to balance the ripe lemon and creamy flavours. The wine is matured in 50% new oak, and it shows, but it is not overwhelming. Not many Chardonnay vines in Australia benefit from the full French treatment, but this wine is outstanding and justifies its hefty price tag.