Price:  £43.95 | Case Rate: £41.67
Ex Tax: £36.63

Tapanappa - Wrattonbully Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc 2014


  • Country: Australia
  • Wine Region: South Australia
  • Wine Area: Wrattonbully
  • Wine Maker: Brian Croser
  • Grape: Merlot Blend
  • Grape Percentage: 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc
  • Alcohol Percentage: 14.3%
  • Unit Quantity (ml): 750
  • Best To Drink: Drink Now - 2025
Duty/Vat Paid
JR: 17 (2009) JH: 97 (2010) WF: 94+ (2009) HH: 96 (2010) AG: 94 (2008)

Wine tasting notes

2010 was a wonderful warm and dry vintage, perfect conditions for the Whalebone Vineyard terroir to elicit the very best from the old Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines. The warm vintage Merlot from Whalebone Vineyard had very ripe plum and spice with the big blocky tannin structure that is only apparent when Merlot is grown in a highly suited terroir and a warm vintage. The Cabernet Franc was much more floral and delicate with a whisp of the leafiness for which this noble variety is renowned. The tannin structure of the Cabernet Franc was silky and fine grained. The combination of the Merlot and Cabernet Franc has a synergy for which the wines of the “right bank” of Bordeaux have long been famed. In a rare departure from the normal the Cabernet Franc is the dominant part of the blend, 58% and also dominates the aroma, flavour and tannin structure of the 2010 Tapanappa Merlot-Cabernet Franc. The foundation of this wine is solidly Merlot and the superstructure ethereally Cabernet Franc. Bottled in February 2012. Only 400 dozen grown and made.

Winery Information


Today Tapanappa is wholly owned and run by the Croser family of the Piccadilly Valley in South Australia's Adelaide Hills. Tapanappa was created in 2002 by Brian and Ann Croser in partnership with Bollinger of Champagne and the Cazes family of Lynch Bages in Pauillac….”To utilise three of Australia’s most expressive and unique distinguished sites to create fine wines of distinction. The partnership named its new venture “Tapanappa” after a 550 million year old geological formation.. read more

Expert Reviews (2009)17 pts

Tasted Apr 2014 - 64% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc from a cool season for this famous vineyard, aged for 22 months in 77% new French oak. Bottled March 2011. Bright ruby red. Subtle, savoury, earthy notes. Really very restrained for an Australian red! Perhaps the slightest of minty hints? Very cool, sophisticated, dry finish. Super-appetising and quite youthful. Some palates may even criticise it for being too light. Lots more still to come. Hint of tarmacadam on the finish.

James Halliday (2010)97 pts

Bright, youthful crimson; the bouquet is particularly fragrant, with red fruits, rose petal and cedar aromas; the palate moves into another gear, with intensely flavoured redcurrant, cigar box and a hint of earth ex the oak; the length and persistence of the palate and its aftertaste are striking.

Wine Front (2009)94+ pts

Such a fragrant wine. So leafy and yet so insistent. Muscular and elegant at once. Briar, tobacco, black cherry, ash, ripe plum, toasty oak. It’s a bright, refreshing style, yet inbuilt, sturdy tannin is a key feature. Excellent length. Style. It’s another impressive release.

Huon Hooke (2010)96 pts

Very appealing red and dark fruit aromas combine with smoky, toasty savoury notes and hints of dried herbs. Complex, subtly powerful with smooth, effortless tannins. Impressive.

Andrew Graham (2008)94 pts

Andrew Graham, Oz Wine Review - "In this case, those grapes are Merlot and Cabernet Franc, both of which make up just 1.8 hectares out of the 8 hectares of older plantings on the Whalebone vineyard property, the vines dating back to 1974. Dry grown and producing just 2 tonnes/hectare (0.8 tonnes/acre or 2/3rds the yield of Grand Cru Burgundy) these small, tough vines produce seriously concentrated grapes (and fittingly concentrated wines).Concentration is not the reason why I'm writing about this Merlot Cabernet Franc instead of its brother, the Cabernet Shiraz though. Nor am I writing about this blend purely as it makes a better story. No, I'm writing about this because, when placed beside the more traditionally favoured Cabernet Shiraz blend, it is this wine that I think comes out as superior. Superior in both drinkability and interest that is, and a wine to remind exactly why right bank styles - when done well - really can captivate.Part of the captivation with this red comes in the form of a vintage defying vibrancy, a sense that, whilst the late vintage heatwave tried its best to suck the life out of the grapes, these tough old vines managed to pull on through nicely.That being said, there is no question that this is warm year wine - there is a hint of fruitcake shrivelling on the nose that the savoury coffee/moccha oak and such can't quite compete with. It's a well made fruitcake though, which means that whilst it comes on strong, the middle is rich and balanced. The more I think about it, the more I believe that the Merlot is what drives the quality of this wine, that dusty edged, dark plum character generous but carrying the dry pluckiness of the grape. Cabernet Franc too contributes a vein of red fruit, a lightness and brightness that carries the whole way through the palate. Arguably, that palate is a little bound through the middle and could do with a fraction less alcohol sweetness and more linear tannins, but otherwise you can't help but admire the old world, St Emilion inspired (and not one of those tacky new world aping St Emilion estates for that matter) structure driven style.Unquestionably high quality and unique, this is absolutely classy red from go to woah. In a slightly more supporting vintage it could be a megastar."

Vinification Notes

The Merlot and Cabernet Franc were hand harvested and delivered to the Tapanappa Winery in the Piccadilly Valley where they were de-stemmed, gently roller crushed and chilled to 2°C in 0.8 tonne fermentation tubs. A cold maceration of 4 days preceded fermentation. During fermentation the tubs were hand plunged daily for 10 days through peak fermentation temperatures of 32°C and until all sugar had been consumed. At the end of fermentation the tubs were sealed down for a week of extended skin contact. 21 days after harvest the tubs were tipped into a small air bag press and drained and pressed directly to French oak barriques, 70% new, in which the new wine remained on full lees through malo-lactic fermentation. At the finish of malo-lactic fermentation, the wine was racked off lees and returned to barrique. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc were clear racked from barrique, blended and bottled in February 2012 after 22 months in barriques.