- Posted by Terroir Selections
- On August 20, 2014
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In 2002, Brian Croser and his family founded an exciting new partnership with the Cazes family of Chateau Lynch Bages, Bordeaux and the families of Bollinger, Champagne. The defining mission of the partnership is to produce Australian fine wines of distinction. These wines are taken from three distinguished sites; the Tiers Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, the Foggy Hill Vineyard on the southern edge of the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully, and the regions they lie within.
Piccadilly Valley – Adelaide Hills, SA – Australia
Parawa – Fleurieu Peninsula, SA – Australia
Joanna – Wrattonbully, SA – Australia
The word Tapanappa is probably derived from the local aboriginal language, and likely translates to “stick to the path”. This is exactly what this partnership intends to do, by continuing Brian’s career-long mission of selecting distinguished sites, matching the climate, soil and geology of the site to the right varieties, and fastidiously managing the vineyard to maximise quality. The partnership has the added advantage of being able to draw on the partners’ extensive “old world” fine wine experience, enhancing Tapanappa’s ability to produce unique Australian “terroir” driven wines.
We invite you to visit Tapanappa’s extensive website, www.tapanappawines.com.au, for further information, reviews and tasting notes.
The Tiers Vineyard is a time proven “distinguished site”. In 1979, it was the first vineyard planted in the modern Adelaide Hills wine region, thus pioneering the ultra cool climate wine industry of South Australia. The Tiers Vineyard is in the Piccadilly Valley, the wettest and the second coolest site in South Australia. Only Parawa on the Fleurieu Peninsula is marginally cooler.
The Piccadilly Valley is well suited to Chardonnay, being an almost perfect homo-clime of Burgundy. The soil under the Tiers Vineyard is unique in the Adelaide Hills being based on the 1.6 million year old calcsilicate geological stratum lifted into place by a fault at the edge of The Tiers Vineyard. The rest of the Adelaide Hills has geological strata 500 to 800 million years old.
The Tiers Vineyard tilts gently to the North and East in a sheltered valley that receives the best advantage of the autumn sun in the northern sky to absorb the last rays of ripening energy at the cool end of harvest.
Foggy Hill Vineyard
When the Croser family purchased Maylands Farm at Parawa on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula in 2003, they did so with the sole purpose of growing the finest “sea air, grass fed” prime lambs. However, despite best intentions, Brian ranged Maylands Farm kicking over the rocks on north facing slopes. He quickly developed a sense that there were some ideal viticultural sites.
A check of the climate data confirmed the surprising fact that Parawa was slightly cooler and more moderate than Piccadilly and therefore an ideal place for Pinot Noir. By Christmas of 2003 the 2 hectares of Foggy Hill stage one had been planted, followed in 2006 by a further two hectares.
The very cool, humid and even Foggy Hill climate is ideal for encouraging the production of the exotic aromatic and ethereal qualities described as the peacock’s tail of Pinot Noir. Foggy Hill Vineyard on Maylands Farm at Parawa on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula has the potential to be a truly distinguished site for Pinot Noir.
The Whalebone Vineyard was purchased immediately after the formation of the partnership in 2002. Originally named Koppamurra Vineyard, it is 20 kilometres north of Coonawarra on the edge of the Kanawinka Fault in the southwestern corner of the Wrattonbully region.The vineyard was originally planted in 1974, and since its purchase it has been completely retrellised and renovated. It has been renamed the Whalebone Vineyard because of the discovery of a 35 million year old whale skeleton in a limestone cave beneath the vineyard. The Whalebone Vineyard is a terroir particularly suited to the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.
Tapanappa’s wines are grouped into two categories, namely Single Vineyard Wines and Wines of Terroir. The Single Vineyard Wines are from one of their unique and distinguished sites, while the Wines of Terroir are pure reflections of their sub region’s terroir.
The Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay from the Piccadilly Valley is renowned worldwide. This Chardonnay has consistently been rated as one of the best that Australia produces, and now that the fruit is shared between Petaluma and Tapanappa, this reputation has been only been strengthened further.
Brian regards The Tiers with special affection as a unique terroir in more ways than one:
“When we came to the Tiers site there was deep cynicism among friends and colleagues about the wisdom of growing grapes in the cold and wet Piccadilly Valley. The cool winds of spring decimated the flowering in the first two harvests in 1982 and 1983 and it appeared their doubts were justified.
Since then the Tiers Vineyard has led the later established Piccadilly Valley “distinguished sites” by example, producing Chardonnay fruit of intensity,
complexity and finesse matching the best produced elsewhere on the globe.
We were extremely fortunate to choose this gracious site because despite all of the scientific analysis of climate and soil that preceded its purchase the quality and style of Chardonnay produced from The Tiers has exceeded my most optimistic dreams and it is the perfect place to live.”
The Foggy Hill Vineyard is the first pioneering site included in the Tapanappa stable. It has proven to be an immediate success with the inaugural 2007 release receiving very positive reviews recognising the potential of the site’s terroir. For Brian, Foggy Hill provides the thrill of the chase to achieve the optimal quality from this unique terroir:
“The excitement however belongs to the new development of the small vine, close spaced Pinot Noir vineyard on Foggy Hill at Parawa on the apex of the Fleurieu Peninsula.This is the coolest and most day-night moderate climate in South Australia and in the words of the doyen of environment driven viticulturists, Dr John Gladstones, it is in “the best viticultural climate of the mainland of South Australia”. It is the only vineyard there and is already vindicating John’s judgement and exceeding my high expectations.”
Brian Croser has coveted the Whalebone Vineyard since making wine from it in 1980:
“In 1974 this was the second vineyard that dared to be planted on terra rossa soil outside the sacred cigar of Coonawarra. Its much older limestone geology and protected elevation make it different to and cooler than Coonawarra to the advantage of both. It is to Coonawarra as St Emilion is to Pauillac in Bordeaux. I have always admired this vineyard, the audacity of its developers and their correct instincts in planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz in the proportions represented.The old vines require careful physiotherapy at pruning but after that less is best in both vineyard and winery. It is a privilege to be the winemaking midwife to this unique old vineyard.”