If you cast your mind back to the very beginning of Covid last year you might think the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse got a head start when fires ravaged many vineyards in the Eastern States. But their work was only beginning
With extreme heat, fire, smoke and then rain, you could assume that as vintages go this was close to Hell. But one thing I have learnt in the years of this wine writing caper, is that it can be a serious mistake to make rash judgments on vintage based on initial perceptions. Dig deeper and more is revealed.
And such was the case for 2020. Sure, it was tough, dire a disaster for some, but not everyone suffered. I was reminded of this recently when a cluster of the latest releases from wine legend Brian Croser’s Tapanappa from Piccadilly Valley near Adelaide.
The three chardonnays I have featured from Piccadilly are all quite different but with a strong affinity to the distinctive terroir of this region. I prepared for disappointment. How wrong.
Even Croser said in a covering letter to me referencing the bushfires and Covid, said: “How something so good could emerge from such a traumatic vintage is akin to a miracle.”
Once the first went and things got back to normal, it was a very good vintage, provided you still had vines and smoke hadn’t tainted the crops.
In fact, to take the Four Horseman analogy a little further – these Tapanappa chardonnays are something of a revelation.
2020 Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard chardonnay 2020
Winemaker Brian Croser is pretty excited about this wine, and a quick sniff and extended sip, and I think I know why. Like the rest of Australia, it was a very small crop resulting in a wine of deep fruit concentration. Once again, the wine spent an extended time until February this year on full lees, allowing pick up of further complexity and textural mouth feel. The striking feature is the palate power and length. I have tasted many of these wines but I don’t think I have tasted better. 98/100 ($110)
(Best drinking: Now to 2033)