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95pt Tapanappa Whalebone Merlot Cabernet Franc 2013

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When three of the world's leading fine wine families get together, the results are bound to be sensational. 

Tapanappa, the brainchild of legendary Australian winemaker Brian Croser (but originally a partnership between Brian, Bollinger and the Cazes family of Lynch Bages in Bordeaux), has been winning awards since their very first vintage, but none is more highly acclaimed or sought after than their rare 'Cheval Blanc' styled Merlot Cabernet! 

Merlot thrives in Australia. Of course it does: it's a big bold red grape that loves hot climates. But plant it, along with the aromatic, elegant Cabernet Franc in a slightly cooler vineyard with a world-renowned winemaker at the helm, and the results are wonderful! 

It's no coincidence that the soils beneath Tapanappa are mostly limestone - after all it's what most of St Emilion is planted on, and Merlot in particular loves it. Tasted blind, we think this Tapanappa would challenge any of the great Right-Bank wines and yet, because it hails from Australia, it remains rather under the radar and rather well priced...

Just 500 cases of this stunning 2013 were made, and we have just 10 available today at a 17% discount! 

About the wine

The wine is deep and vibrant in colour and the aromas are rich and ripe, with the hallmark Merlot Christmas pudding density. The Cabernet Franc provides a floral and leafy high note to the aromas and flavours and despite its ripeness this is an elegant wine with refined tannins. Fine, ripe fruit threads it's way around a darkly spicy core before an extremely long, savoury finish. With its structure and fine tannin, this is reminiscent of Right-Bank Bordeaux with an Aussie twist.

The hand selected bunches of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Whalebone Vineyard were separately de-stemmed, partially crushed and chilled to 2C into tubs each containing 0.9 tonnes. After a 4-day cold maceration the tubs began fermentation and were hand plunged each day for the 10-day duration of fermentation, after which the tubs were sealed down for a 7-day post fermentation maceration.

The tubs of Merlot and Cabernet Franc were then separately tipped into a small airbag press and pressed straight to French oak barriques, 90% of which were new and the rest having been used once. Malolactic fermentation occurred in barrique in the spring and barriques were racked off full lees and the wines were sulphured and returned to barrique for another 15 months.

In January 2015, the wines were clear racked from barrique and 56% Merlot and 44% Cabernet Franc were blended ready for bottling on 18th of February 2015.

Winemaker: Brian Croser 
Appellation: Wrattonbully, South Australia

Accolades:
- 95pt, James Halliday
- 94pt, The Wine Front
- 4/5 Stars, Vivino Rating

Grapes: 56% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Franc
Vineyard: Whalebone Vineyard
Cooperage: 15 months in French Oak Barrels
ABV: 14.8% Tapanappa

About the winery

Tapanappa is an Aboriginal word that, roughly translated, means ‘stick to the path’, and that is what Brian Croser does. He cuts a very direct pathway in the world of wine with a very clear mission to select the most ‘distinguished sites’ with the best climate, soil and geology.

He set up this winery with in partnership with the famous Bollinger family of Champagne and the Cazes family of Bordeaux, thus creating a union of three of the world’s greatest wine families. Blending together the expert knowledge of these three has led to the creation of top quality wine from very specific vineyards in very small quantities. The Tapanappa focus is on three sites: Tiers Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley (Adelaide Hills) for Chardonnay; Foggy Hill Vineyard on the Fleurieu Peninsula (South Australia) for Pinot Noir, and this, the Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully, for the Cabernet varieties. 

Croser now runs Tapanappa on his own and has a reputation as a very clean-cut winemaker, with control over every stage of the grape’s path from the vine to the vat. Maximum freshness and maximum flavour is the motive. But once everything is under control in the winery, there’s plenty of experimentation with wild yeasts, a range of oak ageing regimes and temperature variations to lift that complexity

About the vineyard

When the Whalebone vineyard was planted way back in 1974 its pioneers little knew how prized this plot would become. Yes it lies just 20km north of the famous-for-Cabernet Coonawarra region, but who was to know there was a 35 million year old whale skeleton lying in a cave underneath the vines? Of course, the whale skeleton itself doesn’t affect the wine quality here, but it marks out the span of an ancient coastline comprised of Oligocene limestone. Limestone is great for vines, and this particular type is very similar to that found in the hallowed vineyards of St Emilion in Bordeaux. And that’s why it’s so precious – and the perfect site for planting Cabernet and Merlot grapes.

The land here began to rise 0.8 million years ago forming the West Naracoorte Range, hills that rise along the southeast Australian coast. So while it’s no longer lapping at the edge of the Whalebone vineyard, the Great Southern Ocean (now 80km to the west) still provides a tempering influence to the fierce summer temperatures in this part of Australia – and also a gentle humidity – all of which makes for great elegance in the wines. 

About the winemaker

Brian Croser is a great believer in ‘distinguished sites’ for ‘specific grape varieties’. Get the vineyard and climate just right, and your Cabernet, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will thrive and make the most glorious wine possible. This has been his message for over 40 years now, and Brian’s pioneering work in the Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and in Coonawarra has proved in abundance that matching a grape to its perfect site really works. 

For Shiraz and Viognier Brian has found a home territory in Mount Barker (South Australia). For Pinot Noir, the trickiest grape of them all, the cool, foggy Fleurieu Penninsula (just 8km from the Great Southern Ocean) works best. And Tapanappa marks the next step in Brian’s ‘lifelong mission to nurture the most expressive and unique terroirs of Australia’: this time he’s found the ideal site for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Brian is an Australian wine legend. He has been has been famous as a visionary winemaker since the 1970s. Back then he seemed enigmatic and a little misunderstood but today anyone tasting his wines will know themselves lucky to experience the skills of such a brilliant winemaker!

 

 

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"56/44% blend matured in 90% new French oak. Balance of fruit, acid and tannin is arguably its key trait, though you can see its charismatic personality getting in a humph over such a call. Choc-spearmint helps bring leather, game, twiggy herbs and sheer cassis flavours together."
95 Points - James Halliday

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"Merlot-dominant blend – but don’t let that put you off. It’s both fresh and substantial, oaked but brimful of fruit. It’s carved with tannin but the momentum of flavours charges through regardless. It tastes of boysenberry and black cherry, blackcurrant, coffee-cream and spearmint. It’s a full-bodied red but it feels alive. Vigorous good health, you might say. Super."
94 Points - Campbell Mattinson

 

 

Other Details

Alcohol percentage:
14.8%
#headline:
95 Point Aussie Merlot Cabernet Franc from Legendary Winemaker, Brian Croser
offer_subject:
95 point Aussie Merlot, Cab Franc blend - A rival to St Emilion!
offer_highlight:
"...it’s a full-bodied red but it feels alive. Vigorous good health... Superb" - WineFront
offer_highlight:
"...it’s a full-bodied red but it feels alive. Vigorous good health... Superb" - WineFront
offer_email_text:
"...it’s a full-bodied red but it feels alive. Vigorous good health... Superb" - WineFront
offer_pre_header:
Just 500 cases made! Tapanappa Whalebone Merlot Cabernet Franc 2013
#quantity:
6
#quantity_increment:
1
#stock:
120
#offer_end_date:
2017-07-18 23:59:59
#review=James Halliday:
95/100
#review=The Wine Front:
94/100
#stars_review=Vivino Rating:
4.0/5
#fake_sold:
65
#show_products_sold_only:
1
#show_products_left_only:
0
#shipping:
Free delivery when you order 6 bottles or more - mix and match from all available wines in our Wine Offers!
reminder_subject:
Ends today - 95 point Aussie Merlot, Cab Franc blend - A Rival to St Emilion!
send_reminder:
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