2015 was a very dry and slightly warmer than average vintage at Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully. Only 40% of average rainfall was recorded from late winter (August) to December so flowering occured in warm dry sunny conditions, promoting early fruit set and a larger than average crop.
A tropical downpour in January maintained vine health through to ripening and harvest in late March.
2015 was a warmer than average vintage at Whalebone Vineyard at 1522ºC days versus the average at 1486ºC days. The warm dry vintage fully ripened the Merlot and Cabernet Franc at Whalebone Vineyard to a relatively high sugar level and rich ripe flavours.
The hand selected bunches of Merlot from Whalebone Vineyard were harvested in mid March and the Cabernet Franc in the last week of March. The bunches were destemmed, partially crushed and chilled to 2ºC into 0.9 tonne tubs.
After a 4-day cold maceration, the tubs were inoculated with Tapanappa’s own yeast and were hand plunged each day of the 10-day fermentation. The maximum temperature reached was 34ºC and after the completion of fermentation the tubs were sealed down for a 7-day post fermentation maceration.
The tubs of Merlot and Cabernet Franc were separately tipped into a small airbag press and pressed straight to French oak barriques, 50% of which were new and the balance 1 use.
In February 2017 after 20 months in oak barriques, the wines were clear racked from barrique and 69% of Merlot and 31% Cabernet Franc were blended for bottling in March 2017.
The post bottling analysis of Tapanappa 2015 Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc is
The Taste of the Wine
2015 Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Merlot-Cabernet Franc is one of the ripest flavoured vintages from this unique distinguished site. The aroma is of ripe Merlot blackberry and fruit cake with no leafiness decorated by the floral and spice of Cabernet Franc. The varietal complexity is underpinned by an earthy, smoky Eucalypt bouquet typical of the Whalebone terroir.
The flavours are rich and strong with an underlying fresh varietal complexity. Despite the ripeness of the 2015 vintage the Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Merlot-Cabernet Franc has the elegance and finesse expected of this right bank varietal blend. The tannins are fine and grainy providing a savoury and long finish.
This is an excellent Australian example of “the right bank” blend and “a pure expression of the unique Whalebone Vineyard terroir.”