2016 was a very dry and much warmer than average El Nino dominated vintage at Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully. Only 50% of average rainfall was recorded for the growing season, the driest ever. Flowering occurred in warm dry sunny conditions, promoting early fruit set.
2016 vintage was the warmest ever at Whalebone Vineyard at 1801°C-days versus the average at 1479°C-days. The very warm dry vintage fully ripened the Cabernet Franc and Merlot at Whalebone Vineyard to a relatively high sugar level and rich ripe flavours.
The hand selected bunches of Merlot from Whalebone Vineyard were harvested on the 22nd of March and the Cabernet Franc on the 31st of March. The bunches were destemmed, partially crushed and chilled to 2°C 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 34°C 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, 90% of which were new and the balance 1 use.
After 20 months in oak barriques, the wines were clear racked from barrique and 56% Cabernet Franc and 44% Merlot were blended for bottling in February 2018.
The post bottling analysis of Tapanappa 2016 Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Franc Merlot is
The Taste of the Wine
Although 2016 Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Franc-Merlot is from the warmest vintage at Wrattonbully, it is fresh, elegant and ethereal. The aroma is dominated by the floral and spice of Cabernet Franc, red berries and only a hint of Merlot’s plum pudding richness. The varietal complexity is underpinned by an earthy, smoky Eucalypt bouquet typical of the Whalebone terroir. The flavours are fresh and lively with an underlying varietal complexity.
Despite the warmth of the 2016 vintage the Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Franc- Merlot 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.”