Tapanappa Cabernet Shiraz 2008 (Wrattonbully, SA)
14.5%, Cork, $55
I opened this alongside the 2009 version, just to have another look to see if I had changed my mind about vintage preferences. I haven’t, as this still looks the less defined (and delicious) wine of the pair. A personal preference though (and viva la vintage variation).
Firstly though, context – this red comes off Brian Croser’s Whalebone Vineyard, located in Wrattonbully (not far from the Naracoorte caves). Planted in the mid 70s, the Whalebone Vineyard it is one of the oldest vineyards in this oft-overlooked wine region, the soils sharing a similar red clay-loam over limestone profile to that of Coonawarra to the south, though Wrattonbully has a slightly cooler, drier climate (it’s more inland).
Like Coonawarra, the Whalebone vineyard – and much of Wrattonbully for that matter – is planted on an ancient coastline, with the limestone soils particularly maritime fossil-rich (it was a fossilised whale bone found on the Tapanappa property that gave the vineyard its name).
While I’ve always thought that the Merlot Cabernet Franc is this vineyards true calling (as the 08 shows) it’s always intriguing to come back to this more ‘Australian’ Tapanappa blend too.
What is interesting about this 08 is that, while I didn’t like it as much as the 09, the friends I shared it with preferred it, the extra sweetness and decadence much more popular than the cooler, structural 09.
All of which means that this is still a very solid, well made wine, just that it doesn’t quite live up to what I think is a more classic (and more interesting) wine in the 2009 Tapanappa Cabernet Shiraz
Score: 17/20, 90/100
Would I buy it? I’d take the 09.