Members Only – Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard 1.5M Chardonnay 2016

2016 Tapanappa Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay ripened early and fully because of the very warm growing season and the unique early ripening effect of the Dijon Chardonnay clones on de-vigorating rootstocks on close spacing and close proximity to the warm ground at night.

Riper honey and fig characters complement the typical Tiers Vineyard peach flavour and aroma and significant texture. The Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay is softer and richer than the old Tiers Chardonnay from across the road. The wine finishes with a grapefruit and quince nuance again typical of The Tiers 1.5M Vineyard terroir expression.

The 13 year-old Tiers 1.5M Vineyard has clearly confirmed its status as a “distinguished site” and the 2016 Tapanappa Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay “is a pure expression of a unique Australian terroir.”

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Vintage Notes

2016 was the warmest vintage on modern meteorological records in most of the southeast of Australia. If you wish to prove this look at the CliMate site,, and choose the geographical site you wish to examine. Go to How’s the Season?, then Season’s Progress, then select the region you want to look at and finally select Data Type-Heat-Sum base 10°C, Starting In-October, Lasting For-7 months.

Scrolling down the array of curves for the chosen location will reveal the heat summation for all years back to 1949 and invariably the curve at the top by a wide margin will be 2015, which is October 2015 through vintage 2016 to April 2016.

The heat summation for the 2016 growing season at the Tiers Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley was an extraordinary 1539°C days compared to the last 12 years average of 1235° C days. The 2016 heat summation is way ahead of the next warmest vintage, 2010 at 1360°C days.

2016 vintage was uncharted territory for me even after 47 vintages. Despite the persistent warmth there were no extreme heat events and only 13 days between October 1 and April 30 exceeded 30°c and only two of these exceeded 36°C. The sugar levels were very moderate at 23 to 23.5 Brix, the acids surprisingly held up at 7.5gpl (2 grams of malic) and pH’s remained in control at 3.2.

The Tiers 1.5m section was hand harvested on the 12th of March and so unique is this small area of Chardonnay that we made the decision to bottle it separately in the 2015 vintage and again in 2016.

Winemaking Notes

The Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay was hand harvested into 0.5 tonne bins.nAt the Tapanappa winery, the fruit was de-stemmed, crushed and must chilled to 2°C on the way to the Wilmess Merlin airbag press. The cold juice was lightly pressed to tank and after gravity settling, the partially clarified juice and its fluffy lees were racked to French Vosges oak barriques, 33% new and the balance 1 and 2 use and allowed to ferment at the cool air temperature of the Piccadilly Valley autumn.

The 2016 Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay was left on full lees in barrique until the summer when it was clear racked and prepared for bottling in mid February.

The 2016 Tiers Chardonnay was left on full lees in barrique until the summer when it was clear racked and prepared for bottling in mid March.

The “in bottle” analysis of Tapanappa 2016 Tiers Vineyard 1.5M Chardonnay is:

Alcohol 13.9%

pH 3.12

Total Acid 7.2gpl


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