2007 was one of the warmest vintages at Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard since it was planted in 1974. The heat was uniform from budburst through to harvest but there were no extravagant heat waves as have occurred in the two subsequent vintages.
The heat summation for the 2006/2007 growing season at the Whalebone Vineyard was 1534°C days versus the past 7 year average of 1400°C days. Coonawarra just to the south of the Whalebone Vineyard recorded over 1800°C versus a long-term average of 1372°C days.
The Hooper Shiraz vineyard is adjacent to the Whalebone Vineyard and on the same ridge of 37 million years old limestone. In 2007 October frost decimated the Whalebone Vineyard Shiraz crop. By arrangement with the owners Rob and Dianna Hooper, Tapanappa assumed management of 1 hectare of Hooper Shiraz on the highest and best-balanced part of the vineyard producing just 6 tonnes of concentrated hand picked fruit as a perfect replacement for the Whalebone Vineyard Shiraz.
The Hooper Shiraz was harvested at the same time as the Whalebone fruit in the middle of March, two weeks earlier than normal because of the warm vintage. The harvest was dry and sunny and the fruit was harvested in perfect condition and delivered to the winery in the Piccadilly Valley.
The hand harvested Hooper Vineyard Shiraz was de-stemmed, crushed lightly and chilled to 3°C into 1 tonne open fermentation tubs. After 3 days of cold maceration Tapanappa’s own selected strains of yeast and malo-lactic bacteria were added and the fermentation was allowed to start. The tubs were hand plunged twice daily until the fermentation finished after 10 days. The fermented wine was left in contact with the skins for a further 11 days followed by light pressing to barrique after 21 days in the fermentation tubs.
The wine remained on full lees in French oak barriques (50% new) until malo-lactic was complete in the spring. After malo-lactic the 2007 Tapanappa Wrattonbully Shiraz was racked from barrique, a small amount of SO2 was added and it was returned to barrique for a total of 20 months.
After two further rackings during the 20 months in barrique, in December of 2008 the wine was racked clear, lightly egg white fined and bottled without filtration in February of 2009.
The analysis of the 2007 Tapanappa Wrattonbully Shiraz is: Alcohol 14%, pH 3.7, Acid 6.5gpl, SO2 80ppm.
Wrattonbully fully ripens Shiraz and is a special terroir in that it can elicit a noble response from both Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Shiraz of the Hooper Vineyard has the special terra rossa soil and climate derived flavours of the Wrattonbully region. The core fruit is blackberry and liquorice with the earthy and eucalypt smoke nuances of the Wrattonbully terroir.
The wine is not heavy or alcoholic but is elegant, dry and savoury and is defined by significant but fine-grained tannins. “This wine is a true expression of a unique Australian terroir.”