2014 was a cool and rainfall sufficient vintage at the Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully. The 40 year old vines received 121% of average annual rain from May 2013 to April 2014 at Whalebone Vineyard for vintage 2014. The wet winter and spring were also much warmer than average, by about 1.5ºC.
This unusually warm, early and damp start to the season accelerated shoot growth which competed for energy with the flowering process in late November, causing “coulure”, or the failure of whole flowers to set fruit and to drop off the vine.
In November a sudden drop in average temperatures exaggerated the “coulure” effect by causing the flowers that remained to set poorly, the hen and chicken effect of “millenderage”. This did not affect the late flowering Cabernet Sauvignon as much as earlier ripening varieties but the crop level was significantly reduced.
Frequent beneficial rainfalls through the growing season followed the wet 2013 winter.
The heat summation for the 2014 growing season at Whalebone was 1414ºC days compared to the average for the past 10 years at 1486ºC days.
At Whalebone Vineyard the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were harvested late on the fifteenth of April at 24 Brix sugar and with perfectly mature tannins, colour and flavours.
The hand selected bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon from Whalebone Vineyard and the Shiraz from the neighbouring Crayères Vineyard were separately de-stemmed, partially crushed and chilled to 2C into tubs each containing 0.9 tonnes.
After a 4-day cold maceration the tubs began fermentation and were hand plunged each day for the 10-day duration of fermentation.
The maximum temperature reached at the peak of fermentation was 34C and after the completion of fermentation the tubs were sealed down for 7-days post fermentation maceration.
The tubs of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz were separately tipped into a small airbag press and pressed straight to French oak barriques, 60% new and the balance 1 use.
Malolactic fermentation occurred in barrique in the spring, the barriques were then racked off full lees and the wines were sulphured and returned to barrique for another 18 months.
In April 2016 the wines were clear racked from barrique and 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Shiraz were blended ready for bottling in May 2016.
The post bottling analysis of Tapanappa 2014 Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz is
The Taste of the Wine
Tapanappa 2014 Cabernet Shiraz is an intense cool year wine with vibrant Cabernet cassis fruit and refined but determined tannins. It is a juicy wine with loads of primary varietal fruit.
The colour is medium density, purple edged and very bright, the aroma is of cedar and spicy Cabernet and the dusty terroir nuances of the Whalebone Vineyard. The Shiraz plays a role in filling out the middle palate. The core of the wine is sweet but the finish is of gentle savoury tannin. 2014 Tapanappa Cabernet Shiraz is a keeper!
“This wine is a pure expression of the unique Whalebone Vineyard terroir.”