A rich, generous, complex red wine brimming with dark fruit, spice, some floral notes and full-flavoured tannins. Perfect to warm you up in the dark, cold depths of winter. Enjoy with hearty dishes.
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Whalebone Vineyard Latest Reviews
There are many reasons this wine could add something to your meal. Tapanappa is winemaker Brian Croser’s venture in which he aims to make very special wines by matching all the component parts exceptionally well – climate, soil, geology, varieties with impeccable winemaking and viticulture. The Whalebone vineyard was planted in 1974 and is so named because of the whale skeleton found in a limestone cave on the property, a reminder of the scale and age of Australia’s geological history. After three decades of struggling on the site, the vines have finally penetrated the deeper limestone layers to extract the nutrients and moisture that help to make such a significant wine. It’s a rich, heady, complex wine brimming with aromas of blackcurrant, spice, violets, earth and minerality, all woven together with acidity and freshness.
It's testament to the underlying quality here, that the wine was both approachable now, yet also imparted a sense of where it may well be over its life.
Opens with a plummy mix, supported by an oak framework that provides its longevity. Savoury, cedary with elevated notes being offered by the Cabernet Franc. Malty, chocolate oak adds to the mix, the aromatics swirling, layered and inviting.
The palate yields dense, chewy tannin; spicy black olive tapenade is in the frame too. Fruit is a consistent theme throughout, threading its way around an inherently spicy core. The finish is long, savoury with fine tannin. Black and dense. One for the long haul.
94 - Outstanding
he Whalebone Vineyard reds are always swathed in oak. Unashamedly so. They’re built for the long haul. Still, there’s a rare degree of refinement about them that sets them apart. The vineyard and the fruit is still clearly visible. It’s just framed by cedar, chocolate and toast. Here we have a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Shiraz.
Cassis and plum with a streak of redcurrants and some subtle leafiness and pepper. Strong eucalyptus overtones. It’s more vital than the 2008 with fine acidity in greater evidence. Those tightly knit, grainy tannins are classy and savoury. Put it away for at least ten years. It isn’t anywhere near ready to go now but it will repay patience.
Apart from a short heat wave at the end of January, 2009 was a cooler vintage in Wrattonbully. The coolest since 2005. It’s made for an even better rendition of the Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc than the terrific 2008 release. Fresher fruit, more definition and less warmth. The oak-driven structure ensures longevity but it is more approachable than the Cabernet Shiraz at the moment.
Cedar, dark chocolate and coffee. Smoke, brown grass, spiced plum and redcurrant. A pleasing hint of olive and some gamey-ness. It’s slightly silty in the mouth. More about fruit intensity than weight, still it’s nearing full-bodied. Maintains a degree of elegance though and has character and complexity in spades. 95 Excellent – Exceptional
Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 Piccadilly Valley
"Smoky nose. [...] Still quite youthful but you can see where it is headed. Pretty chewy for the moment but nice savour. Really succulent."
Tapanappa Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Fleurieu Peninsula
"Quite a rich array of aromas on the nose – not a burgundy copy but something very interesting and valid. Dry finish. A hint of iron filings on the finish but it really goes on in the mouth. Well done!"
Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2008 Wrattonbully
The 60%/40% blend was cold-soaked for four days prior to fermentation commencing, hand-plunged with a peak of 32°C, then macerated for seven days post fermentation; thereafter 20 months in French oak (30% new) before being bottled unfiltered. The colour is vivid purple-crimson, the medium-bodied palate exceptionally supple and smooth, the tannins silky and fine. A truly lovely wine.
Drink to 2033
John Fordham's fancies
Tapanappa became legendary vigneron Brian Croser's new home at Wrattonbully following the sale of his Petaluma empire. This is an outstanding example of Australia's original signature red blend, dominated by 40-year-old cabernet sauvignon fruit with a powerful shiraz component. A wine that ticks all the colour, flavour and bouquet boxes.
The 2008 Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc remains under cork but it's a beautiful specimen: long and firm. The wine is a deep, blood red with an intriguing bouquet of plum cake, sweet aromatic spices and a touch of mint. The palate is deep and satisfying with sweet plummy fruit and a fresh raspberry lift. The toasty oak is well integrated and the finish long. A delight with rare beef now. Five years cellaring will see it a suitable companion to an aged cheddar.
Impressive from the get-go. Layers of dark fruits, earth, ferrous savouriness, eucalyp and sage. A formidable wall of fruit is tempered by ropes of dusty tannins, but all set in a medium bodied, cedary frame. Hold for a spell too.