Life is so much easier when you have a great vineyard.
That’s not to say that winemaking is easy, in any way. But it certainly helps when you start with the best materials. Further, when you have one of the most celebrated sites in the country (the Tiers Vineyard) and you’re one of the most distinguished winemakers (Brian Croser), then fine wine tends to just happen more naturally (in theory).
For evidence look at this 2016 Tapanappa Chardonnay trio. Despite a year that Croser describes as ‘uncharted territory for me even after 47 vintages’ with one of the warmest growing seasons on record (heat summation of 1539C days compared to the last 12 years average of 1235C days), these three wines are superb.
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Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2016
Bright, medium to light yellow colour and it has a lovely nougat, toasted almond and toasted cashew bouquet, while the palate is intense and refreshingly crisp, with concentrated lemon and citrus fruit and tremendous refinement. The wine is superbly intense and sustained, the flavours lingering long after the wine has gone. It's tight and needs more time to realise its full potential.
Tiers Vineyard 1.5m Chardonnay 2016
Medium to light yellow colour, the bouquet toasty, smoky and roasted-hazelnutty. The palate is likewise very nutty and savoury, dry and quite strongly oak-touched, the aftertaste lingering long with a quite drying oak presence. There's a complexing touch of funky low-level sulfide, too.
Out to impress
It’s a tight and firmish wine with slightly grippy, chalky tannins. Notes of spice and sour cherry.
The first Tapanappa wine made from a vineyard that it doesn't own, from 50yo vines. Purity is its long suit on the bouquet and palate alike, with lemon/lime/Granny Smith apple the suite of aromas and flavours. It is developing slowly, and still needs time.
One of three “Tapa” outings from Brian Croser’s Piccadilly vineyard and from one of the warmest years he’s ever seen (though without heatwave spikes). This wine is delightfully ripe in its stone fruit spectrum, with a roasted/grilled peach note and associated charry senses lifting from the glass as well, adding depth but neatly balanced by a refreshing acidity, offering palate tension and savoury, textural finishing length.
Lash out also on the elite Tapanappa Tiers 2016 Chardonnay at $79
The only negative about this beautiful Chardonnay is that Brian Croser only bottles 500 dozen. It sits at $79 a bottle but if you are into the best of the best get on the Tapanappa website today.
This has a lovely red-cherry and cherry-liqueur like bouquet laced with spices and some subtle foresty characters - possibly whole-bunch derived. It's showing considerable complexity already. The wine is full in the mouth and quite firm, with abundant youthful tannins. It's just a baby and needs more time to soften and mellow out. An excellent pinot.
2019 - 2032
Love this vineyard's wines and here is another great reason for you to get on board with them. A deeper coloured pinot reflecting more powerful red fruit flavours than you will discover in many pinots.
The beguilingly perfumed nose, suggestive of dark cherry and dried herbs, is captivating, and shows a whiff of oak. This supple, intense wine is a pleasure to drink, although the fine tannins provide the framework for cellaring. ★★★★☆