I have been quite a fan of Brian Croser’s Tapanappa wines, since being introduced to them when I visited him back in 2005. Making fine wine is a long-term project, especially when you are planting new vineyards. It takes the best part of a generation for most to really believe in a new project, in part because most reviewers and authorities are reluctant to take a strong position on a new wine, and tend to give the established classics the benefit of the doubt, even when they don’t deserve this.
Croser is incredibly analytic, and is a strong supporter of the climate work of John Gladstones. He’s convinced that the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia is potentially a top spot for Pinot Noir, and I think his Foggy Hill Pinot shows this. With this 2012 vintage, the vines are now nine years old, and many would say that it’s around vine age of 10 years that Pinot really begins to hit its stride and show characters derived from the site, rather than just pure fruit. This vineyard is at 350 m and is close to the Great Southern Ocean, and has a heat summation of 1135 degree days. It was planted in 2003 with Dijon clones and is a north facing ironstone slope, with vines trellised low at 50 cm. 2012 was a slightly warmer year at 1205 degree days, and the wine was aged in French barriques, of which 30% were new.
Tapanappa Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Fleurieu Peninsula, Australia
14.1% alcohol. Elegant, fine sweet cherry and plum fruit with some liqueur-like richness but also some sappy notes and fine spiciness, with savoury wood notes in the background. The palate is silky, but also has a savoury mineral dimension and some spicy warmth, as well as just a touch of mint. Real elegance here: youthful, but showing great potential for development. Cellar for a few years: this is the real deal. 94/100
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