When Brian Croser first suggested he was going to grow pinot noir at the end of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia no doubt there were plenty that thought he had gone mad. This was not some classic wine region – in fact it was largely unexplored. No doubt Brian was not phased. And ever since he and son-in-law Xavier Bizot been crafting a very unique style of Australian Pinot Noir – savoury, brooding and understated wines which are really made to age rather than be super approachable young. I had a great time walking through the vineyards with Brian during the early years so it has been fantastic to see the wines getting better and better with vine age. Which brings us to the new releases of the Foggy Hill and the relatively new Definitus – only the second vintage of a wine from a single one hectare strip of the vineyard which has over the years proven to be the best. Who knows how these wines will age, but the signs are good.
Tapanappa Foggy Hill Vineyard 2019
96 Points – $55
I can’t help but think that warmer years are helping Foggy Hill. Not that the wines from cooler years are not delicious, but they are generally quite savoury and need some time to put flesh on their bones. But no such problem with this vintage, which is one of the best.
Bright mid cherry in colour, it opens with stalky, exotic fruits – autumn leaves as always but then there is also dried strawberry and five spice aromas; a beautiful mix of sweet and savoury with oak in perfect unison. The palate then has great energy and drinkability from day one – not a bad sign at all. Red berry fruits dominate which are joined by potpourri, dried herbs including thyme plus spice, dried lavender and stony earth – it reminds me of a little French village called Gevrey-Chambertin. Long fine silky tannins provide a perfect finish to a great pinot experience. Food matching – don’t bother – bathe in its beauty.
Tapanappa Definitus Foggy Hill Vineyard 2018
95 Points – $90
For Foggy Hill the 2018 Definitus is quite open for business at a young age, no doubt thanks to the warm and dry vintage. Bright mid cherry in colour, there is a powerful core of dark and red cherry fruits with distinctly spicy, herbal and slightly meaty complexity, plus French oak also playing its part. The palate is dry and strong – with generous earthy, truffle nuances over layers of cherry compote fruit with balanced tannins that provide a long finish. It’s a delicious pinot noir with good aging potential but lacks the very highest levels of delicacy.
Purchase the wines here.