Brian Croser is as close to a living legend as you will find in the Australian wine industry. All are thoroughly deserved
He has been awarded an AO, the Maurice O'Shea Award and in 2004 was named Decanter's Man of the Year, placing him in prestigious company.
All are thoroughly deserved. He has long pushed the concept of distinguished sites and now looks to the future with what he terms "Australian fine wines of distinction". This is one winemaker who will no doubt work tirelessly to see his concepts evolve.
Since leaving Petaluma, Croser has established a new operation. Tapanappa, meaning "stick to the path", is owned by Croser in partnership with Bollinger and Jean-Michael Cazes, owner of the famed Bordeaux estate, Lynch-Bages.
As well as the supple, savoury, smoky and spicy Foggy Hill pinot, there is a new Tiers, a cab shiraz blend and a 2005 merlot. The latter, from the Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully ($75) is a very good local merlot but the standouts are the Tiers and the blend. The 2007 Tiers ($75, half the price of the Petaluma) is brilliant and matches any local chardy on the market.
It is beautifully perfumed with apricot kernel and mineral notes with intensity of flavour and complexity, balance and length. A glorious chardonnay. The 2005 Cabernet Shiraz ($75), also from the Whalebone Vineyard, is cassis and dark berries, gentle tobacco leaf and cedar. Wonderfully balanced, there is just a hint of a tribute to the very first Petaluma red from Coonawarra, a cab shiraz blend before the merlot got into gear. Tapanappa will very quickly confirm itself among the our finest wineries.