2009 Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc Brian Croser, CEO and winemaker for Tapanappa, has been a much-respected friend of Winewise since our very early days. His great contribution to Australian wine via Petaluma and other avenues is part of our history, but he may well be doing his best work as a “small” winemaker at Tapanappa in Wrattonbully. Has he become more of an adventurous, free spirit? Maybe Brian will get back to me on that. The wine? Well, it’s very, very good indeed. The plumminess of perfectly ripe merlot shows through, but there’s much more to this red than just fruit. It has the tobacco leaf notes, length and savouriness we encounter in fine Bordeaux wines. It’s European “dry” rather than Australian “sweet”, and it is a great cellaring proposition, even though it’s under cork.