DEFINITUS is an apotheosis on the Tapanappa Foggy Hill Pinot Noir journey. After 14 years of careful observation across the 3 Pinot Noir clones on 4 rootstocks, planted across the 4- hectare Foggy Hill Vineyard at Parawa on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, a one- hectare strip of the vineyard has been observed to consistently produced the most complete wine. From 2017 the DEFINITUS strip has been harvested separately from the rest of the vineyard.
Foggy Hill Vineyard is arrayed on the steep north facing slope of one of the highest hills (350m ASL) on the Fleurieu Peninsula, just 8 kilometers from the Great Southern Ocean, a clear view due south of the top of the vineyard.
The DEFINITUS strip is a sub ridge running south to north down the hill in the centre of the oldest block, breaking ever so slightly to the east and the west. It exists because the underlying ferruginous sandstone comes closest to the surface along this ridge, the colluvium formed is full of rock fragments and the soils are slightly shallower.
The centre of the DEFINITUS strip is the boundary between the two Bernard (University of Dijon) Pinot Noir clones, 115 and 777 planted on 101-14 rootstocks in 2003.
DEFINITUS is approximately 50% of each of these 115 and 777 clones.
Foggy Hill is the only vineyard at Parawa at the top of the Fleurieu Peninsula range and is half way between Victor Harbor to the east and Cape Jervis to the west.
Parawa is a very cool and high rainfall location further qualified as a highly suitable terroir for Pinot Noir because of very cool days and relatively warm nights created by its proximity to the Great Southern Ocean.
The DEFINITUS strip as with the rest of the Foggy Hill Vineyard is planted on close spacing at 1.5mX1.5m (4,444 vines/hectare) and the vines are only 0.5m above the ground. Despite the abundant rain (1000 mm’s/annum) and relatively high humidity, foggy environment, the vigour of the vineyard is constrained by the low to moderate fertility of the soils. It strikes a perfect balance between canopy growth and crop level at 90,000 buds/hectare (20 buds/vine) and a moderate yield of 6 tonnes/hectare.
2017 was a near perfect vintage, preceded by a soil filling wet winter and beginning with a very cool spring which delayed each subsequent step of the crop’s development.
After flowering we thinned the over-abundant crop by 50%.
Despite the cool start 2017 ended slightly warmer than average and we hand harvested the 14- year-old DEFINITUS strip separately for the first time on the 8th of April, the latest harvest ever at Foggy Hill. The heat summation for the 7 month growing season in 2017 was 1400°C days against the 10 year average of 1210°C days.
As with the rest of Foggy Hill Pinot Noir in 2017, 30% of the DEFINITUS strip was harvested into trays and chilled to 2°C as whole bunches in a cold room.
This 30% chilled whole fruit was distributed over the 0.85 tonne fermentation tubs and the rest of the fruit was destemmed, lightly crushed and chilled to 2°C onto the top of the whole fruit. After a 4-day cold maceration each tub was seeded with our own yeast strain and hand plunged daily until fermentation finished 12 days later. The fermented wine was left in contact with the skins for a further 5 days and then pressed straight to French oak barriques, 30% new. The DEFINITUS Pinot Noir finished malo-lactic fermentation in barrique, followed by a small SO2 addition to each barrique where it stayed for the next 9 months.
In January 2018, 2017 DEFINITUS was clear racked from barrique and bottled in February 2018.
The in-bottle analysis is:
The Taste of the Wine
Even in the warmest vintages, Foggy Hill produces moderate sugar grapes at full maturity. The 2017 DEFINITUS is no exception and at 13.5% alcohol the flavours and aromas are evidently supported by water not alcohol.
The full in bottle analysis is given above.
The 2017 DEFINITUS is of moderate colour intensity and crimson hue.
The aromas and flavours are delicate and ethereal with violet ad roses floral, ripe strawberries and dark fruits and an earthy terroir nuance.
The palate structure sets DEFINITUS apart. The texture is silky and creamy but the finishing tannins are firm and sandy.
DEFINITUS is a pure expression of a unique terroir and will benefit from a decade or longer of bottle age.