Tag: Petaluma

Sep 09 2011

Tapanappa Dinner with Brian Croser

Posted on September 09, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On Wednesday night I was fortunate to sample the Tapanappa Wines’ range with winemaker Brian Croser. Organised by Vintage Cellars Double Bay and held at Darlinghurst’s La Brasserie, the dinner offered a chance to drink superb wines with terrific French food under the tutelage of one of the most important contributors to the development of the Australian wine industry.

Croser started Petaluma in 1976 and built a strong portfolio of brands which he also eventually sold to Lion Nathan in 2001. While disheartened to lose his beloved Petaluma to a multi-national, Croser soon saw the sale as an opportunity to launch a new phase in his career. In 2002 he formed Tapanappa Wines as a partnership with Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages, Bordeaux and Société Jacques Bollinger, the parent company of Champagne Bollinger.

When Croser started Petaluma, he was one of the first to recognise the importance of identifying the best region for the planting of a particular variety. Today he even more passionate about matching varieties to only the best suited terroir, believing Australia’s future success as a premium wine producer depends on its ability to define and promote its “60 fine wine regions…24 of which are as cool or cooler than Bordeaux in France.” (Brian Croser’s answer to Oz wine travails, JancisRobinson.com)

Tapanappa’s chardonnay comes from the Tiers Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, the pinot noir from the Foggy Hill Vineyard on the Fleurieu Peninsula and the cabernet and merlot from the Whalebone Vineyard in Wrattonbully.

At the dinner the Picadilly Valley Chardonnay 2009 (Museum Release) and the Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2008 were paired with a delicious horseradish cured salmon with buckwheat blini, creme fraiche and smoked roe.

Both wines hail from the same vineyard, but the Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay is sourced … Read the rest

Jul 07 2011

Buy Wine Ideas: Aged Australian Riesling – Beautiful Expressions of Terroir

Posted on July 07, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

As the Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman notes “Australia makes a unique style of Riesling that shows off the lovely stone fruit character of the grape, often weaving in floral, citrus and mineral flavors, hanging them all on a dry frame.” (Tasting Highlights: Australian Riesling by Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 23 February 2005)

Australia’s reputation as a great producer of dry riesling was forged in the 1980s and 90s with the emergence of wonderful rieslings from the Clare and Eden Valley, produced by top names including Grosset, Henschke, Annie’s Lane Jim Barry, Tim Adams, Petaluma and Pewsey Vale. But in recent years, excellent riesling has also been made in Victoria (Crawford River, Jasper Hill), the Great Southern region of Western Australia (Larry Cherubino, Howard Park, Abbey Creek Vineyard) and the Canberra District (Helm Wines, Clonakilla).

More than any other white wine, the best rieslings benefit from bottle age. Some will last 25 to 50 years! Over time, the primary fruit flavours are complemented by toasty, honeyed tones and accented by a waxy, minerally range of flavours that impart a richness and taste complexity not evident when the wine is in its youth.

In 2000, the Clare Valley riesling producers became the first in the world to bottle their rieslings under screwcaps. (Now almost all of Australia’s white wines are bottled under screwcap). By all accounts these wines have aged beautifully, with the screwcap protecting the freshness and delicacy of the wine.

Another hallmark of riesling is its ability to transmit its terroir. Well-made riesling distinctly expresses the characteristics of its place. At Grosset’s Spingvale vineyard, for example, rich red soil over limestone produces sturdy vines, big berries, chunky bunches and a lime green … Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

Australian Cabernet: A Worthy Contender to Shiraz’s Crown!

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Campbell Mattinson, the well respected wine critic and a principal author of the popular wine blog The Wine Front, remarked in a recent post, Notes from a cabernet masterclass Tuesday, Aug 10 2010, that “when we talk of what Australian wine does best we invariably mention shiraz first, semillon second, chardonnay or riesling third and then cabernet or pinot noir.” In his opinion, a recent Dan Murphy’s cabernet masterclass, which included stars such as Mount Mary, Cullen, Yeringberg, Balnaves, Wantirna Estate, Petaluma, Yarra Yering, Voyager Estate and Moss Wood, would have equaled, if not surpassed, a similar tasting of  twenty or so Australian top-flight shiraz or chardonnay.

So why isn’t Australian cabernet getting the attention it deserves? In James Halliday’s list of the 100 Top Wines of 2009 and 100 Tops Wines of 2008, the two varieties, shiraz and cabernet, are fairly evenly represented, so you probably can’t argue that top Australian wine critics are biased towards shiraz-based wines. Of course, Penfolds Grange and Henschke’s Hill of Grace have set the bar pretty high for aspiring makers of fine Australian shiraz, and the international profile of Australian shiraz has certainly been lifted by influential American wine critic Robert Parker’s great enthusiasm for the variety. But could fashion also have something to do with it?

In a fascinating article Eric Asimov of The New York Times observes that younger Americans have lost enthusiasm for French Bordeaux, Bordeaux Loses Prestige Among Younger Wine Lovers, 18 May 2010: “Not so long ago, young wine-loving Americans were practically weaned on Bordeaux, just as would-be connoisseurs had been for generations. It was the gateway to all that is wonderful about wine. Now that excitement has gone elsewhere, to Burgundy and the Loire, to Italy and Spain. Bordeaux, some young wine enthusiasts say, is … Read the rest