Brian Croser was one of the first Australian winemakers of the modern era to deliberately match grape variety to site. He is adamant that terroir defines fine wine, and that the best way to achieve terroir is to be light-handed in your viticultural approach. All efforts should be concentrated in the vineyards so the correct chemistry and ﬂavour balance on the vines can be achieved.
A committed ‘terroirist’, he believes the concept of terroir is the uncopiable effect of the geology, soil, climate, latitude, longitude, aspect, surrounds, and all other factors affecting the grapes. Quite a checklist to guarantee. In Tapanappa, Brian has established a winery that produces wines from three specific sites, each remarkable for their individuality.
The overriding viticultural principles of the estate are close-spaced, manually pruned and harvested fine wine vineyards. Tiers Vineyard, planted in 1979, was the ﬁrst to be planted in the Adelaide Hills, thus pioneering the cool climate wine industry in South Australia. It is an almost perfect homoclime of Burgundy, mirroring the site south of the Côtes de Beaune which produce stellar Montrachets, and is absolutely suited to Chardonnay.
The tiny 4ha Foggy Hill vineyard on the highest point of the Fleurieu Peninsula, where fog gambols off the Great Southern Ocean, has a much lower diurnal temperature difference than the Piccadilly Valley, making it cooler and more moderate, and therefore ideal for growing Pinot Noir, first harvested here in 2007.
Dating from 1974, the Whalebone vineyard in Wrattonbully is an archeologically unique site due to the presence of a 35 million year old whale skeleton discovered in its limestone soils. Here, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz thrive on a ridge of Oligocene Limestone similar to St. Emilion in Bordeaux.