In a nutshell: A rich, indulgent, full-bodied South Australian red blend from the Wrattonbully region.
The lowdown: The delicious 'Right Bank Bordeaux Blend' is made from old vine grapes from Tapanappa's Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully, South Australia. The vineyard was completely renovated in 2002 and since then the old Cabernet and Merlot vines have "responded magnificently" and although yields are very low the vines can produce fully ripened grapes with natural rainfall. Hand-selected bunches were fermented in barrel and the wine was then matured for a further 15 months. The result is a deep and vibrant wine with ripe and intense aromas. Dark, black, soft fruits from the Merlot meet the floral and leafy notes of the Cabernet Franc producing a refined wine with elegant tannins.
When to drink: A wine for fans of southern hemisphere Bordeaux Blends, especially in a Saint-Emilion, or Pomerol style.
Tapanappa was created in 2002 as a joint venture between the highly regarded Brian Croser, the Champagne house Bollinger and Jean-Michel Cazes of Bordeaux's Château Lynch Bages. Brian had first built his name as the founder of the highly successful Petaluma Winery which he had just sold to the drinks conglomerate Lion Nathan. Brian was very much the driver of the project and whose objective was to show that with the right approach the terroir of South Australia was capable of producing single vineyard wines which were the equal of the best of Europe and the northern hemisphere. In 2014 the Croser family was able to acquire complete ownership of the company from their partners and together with being able to buy back the former Petaluma winery in the Piccadilly Valley just outside Adelaide meant that they were once again able to pursue their mission as they saw fit.
Their range is built around three vineyards in different parts of South Australia. The first of these being the Tiers Vineyard which, in 1979, was the first to be planted in the Adelaide Hills and from where Brian pioneered cool climate viticulture in this part of the state and is where their Chardonnays come from. To the south in Wrattonbully, near Coonawarra, their Whalebone vineyard, which they acquired shortly after establishing Tapanappa, was planted in 1974 and is from where their Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz wines are grown. And on the Fleurieu Peninsula their Foggy Hill Vineyard is home to their Pinot Noirs.
Today the estate is managed by Brian's daughter Lucy and her husband Xavier Bizot. Their objectives remain very much the same which is to demonstrate that the fine wines of South Australia can rank alongside the best in the world.