Wafting oatmeal aromas introduce a textural palate brimming with juicy lemon flavours. There is a beautiful vein of integrated acidity supporting the fruit. Intense and savoury
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The chardonnay vines on the Tiers Vineyard are now well over 30 years old, some 40+. It’s a 3-hectare vineyard spaced at 3330 vines per hectare. This release saw 33% new oak. Blow me down. This is beautiful. As in, exquisite. Complex, textural, elegant and long. Flint, white peach, vanilla pod, grapefruit and juicy pear. Cedar, smoked. Spice, dried. Makes you slow down and stop to admire it.
From a section of vineyard re-planted to Bernard clones in 2003. The vines are planted 1.5 x 1.5 metres apart, hence the name. Straw-yellow in colour. It’s both slippery-smooth and racy with acidity. Indeed acidity is a keen player here, though it comes strung with white peach, cedarwood and grapefruit flavours. It feels elegant, it feels fine-fingered, it feels svelte and it feels in need of time. It’s on its way to a very good place; I hovered score-wise around 93-94 but after giving it time it fell firmly on the higher side.
Another great Tapanappa Chardonnay. Sourced from a block of close-planted vines planted in 2003 on the Tiers property, this is quite a contrast to the more linear Tiers (which still has its measure). From the outset, this is more opulent and mouthfilling, the flavours sliding into nutty richness and peach, the finish toasty and full. It’s a model, traditional Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, with oak, lees and ripe fruit playing a part, delivering a wine of unashamed depth, complexity and real quality.
Does nothing to supress my urge to visit this site. Looking very good this 2017 vintage, even if it warmer than average - not always great for the variety at hand - but the seasonal warmth only tells one aspect, for the preceding winter was gloriously wet, given the dormant vines a good drink. And in return how they reward us.
Sour Cherry, Leaf matter, meaty, with mushroom skins. Beautifully savoury Pinot Noir.
Soft, silken - like a scarf, threading its way across the palate. Has a slight woody, burnt ends and undercurrent of caramelisation to it. Further reinforcing its savoury credentials, backed up with a resurrection of fruit presence. Impressive.
Beautiful vanilla and creme French oak here. Sits over the top of some perfectly ripe stonefruit. Toasty, spicy oak greets you and runs long on the palate. A spine of precise acidity its focal point, as if guided by laser. That's probably best how to sum it up: exquisite, precise and unforced. Top tier (pun somewhat intentional) Chardonnay.
Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
Light, bright yellow colour, with a restrained bouquet showing some oak spice, plus citrus fruits and an edgy mineral quality, and the palate is taut and refined, intense and focused, reserved and still emerging from its shell. Intensity, line and length. It's a beautiful wine now and is promising to deliver more in the future.
Tiers Vineyard 1.5m Chardonnay 2017
The bouquet is smoky and oak-kissed with a hint of marzipan or raw almond, while the palate is light-bodied and lean, admirably restrained and delicate. Tight, refined, penetrating flavour. Its straightforward in its youth, and enjoyable to drink now, although I suspect it will build much more complexity if cellars a while.
You’ll notice on the front label of this fabulous Hills Chardonnay that Tapanappa proprietor Brian Croser clearly defines this as a Piccadilly Valley wine, the Tiers site being where he set up home and winery, the latter begun as Petaluma in 1979 and after a rocky history of corporate wrangling, now under the Tapanappa livery, is once again back with him privately. He celebrates the Piccadilly Valley like no other, and the three Chardonnays from there are stunners, this specifically from one side of the vineyard replanted in 2003 to defined clones in very close spacing – hence the 1.5M marking.
2017 was a warmer than average year at Foggy Hill but the wine wasn’t harvested until late March, early April. This is arguably the best Foggy Hill Pinot Noir I’ve seen. It’s fragrant, it’s pretty, it’s well formed and then it’s lengthy through the finish. It sets up its case meticulously and then prosecutes it both firmly and convincingly. Florals, meats, spices, macerated cherries, a clip of sexy oak. Mouthfeel is creamy and then dry in a good way. In all respects it’s both a beautiful and an impressive wine.
The 2015 Fleurieu Peninsula Pinot Noir has once again picked up a gold at the Drinks Business, 2018 Global Pinot Noir Masters. In his summary of the competition Patrick Schmitt MW noted:
Once the wines surpassed the £20 mark, as one would expect, the number of Gold medal-scoring samples increased significantly, with great Pinots from Napa, Yarra, Marlborough, Oregon and Aukland, as well as perennial high performer, Tapanappa, the only Pinot from Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.