Tapanappa Definitus Pinot Noir 2017
Pinot Noir is elegant and pretty, while Cabernet Sauvignon is firm and robust.
Or at least that was my generalisation when first venturing into wine. Pinot makes light-bodied wines, Cabernet, full. The end.
What’s more fascinating is wines that don’t fit that spectrum. Broad-shouldered Martinborough Pinot. Hedonistic Sonoma Pinot Noir, overflowing with cult wine levels of extract and ripeness. Or bony, just-medium weight Tasmanian Cabernet.
The exceptions to prove the rule.
I wouldn’t call this new Tapanappa Definitus Pinot Noir 2017 a heavy wine. Or overly firm. But it plays in the deep end of Pinot Noir flavour and structure.
A Pinot that stereotypical Cabernet drinkers can covet.
Sourced from Brian Croser’s Foggy Hill Vineyard at Parawa￼, on a strip that ripens the most evenly. As Croser says, it is the most defining selection from the vineyard, hence Definitus.
Winemaking-wise it’s not unlike the ‘standard’ Foggy, with 30% whole bunches and spends 9 months in 30% new oak. But it is a much bigger wine.
Think Pinot of structure, not perfume. Corton, not Vosne. The nose skips strawberry and dives into plum and black pepper. It’s almost Shiraz-like, but more red rather than purple fruited. That’s backed by A core of deep red fruit, seams of vanilla oak through in the middle and then tannins and a whisper of alcohol warmth.
After my first sip I stood back and admired the form here. Its convincingly powerful in a way that is more Cabernet than it is Pinot Noir. Contemplation rather than seduction. I can appreciate that power and revel in the depth.
But I still end up with a nagging question – if I wanted the structural world of Cabernet I’d have Cabernet, but in Pinot I want delicacy.
This is such quality wine at every angle, with irrepressible power and weight. Though perhaps the emotional connection I want in my favourite Pinot Noir just isn’t there. Heart vs head. And you know what? That struggle ultimately makes this wine provocative.
Best drinking: better next year and will look good for a decade. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13.5%, $90. Would I buy it? A few glasses.
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