Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard 1.5m 2023 Chardonnay

2023 Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay stands alongside its older sibling, the 2023 Tiers Old Block, as an equal but with the subtle differences induced by its close spaced, French clone, earlier ripening habit. Both wines are truly outstanding vintage examples of the Tiers special terroir.

It is a buttercup green-yellow colour, very similar to its older vine sibling. The aroma is of pear, fig and honey and with the slight brioche and cinnamon complexity of the yeast and oak.  The flavour is intense, fruit ripe and fresh. The aroma is dominated by the intensity of the Chardonnay fruit. The flavour reflects the aroma with significant length of flavour.  The trade-mark Tiers texture is offset by the acid and grapefruit finishing cut of the Tiers 1.5m Vineyard.

The late ripening of a small crop in cool, dry and sunny conditions, has defined a “near perfect” expression of Chardonnay from the unique and distinguished Tiers 1.5M Vineyard terroir.

Vintage Notes

In 2003 the Croser family removed 1.3 hectares of the original Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay, that was planted in 1979 in the Piccadilly Valley as the first Adelaide Hills vineyard. The area was replanted with the French Bernard clones 76 and 95 on rootstocks on very close 1.5 metre row spacing with the fruiting wire at only 0.5 metres above the ground. This unique vineyard section produces earlier ripening, fuller flavoured Chardonnay than the 1981 old vine Chardonnay, on it’s own roots across the centre road in Tiers Vineyard. So unique is this small area of Chardonnay that we made the decision to bottle it separately from the 2015 vintage onwards.

Like the 2021 and 2022 vintages before it, the 2023 vintage in the Piccadilly Valley was “near perfect” and is the coolest of the three. The 2023 vintage was marginally cooler, with 1093C-days, than the long-term average of 1135C-days. We have now had four successive cooler vintages (2020 to 2023) after the near unrelenting warmth of the previous decade of vintages.

The Chardonnay crop was very modest in the Tiers 1.5M block at 6 tonnes/hectare. The Chardonnay grapes in the 20-year-old Tiers 1.5M Vineyard ripened in still and cool air, sunny conditions, ideal autumnal weather just before a rain event.

Tiers Vineyard 1.5M yielded up its exceptional quality fruit on the 12th and 13th of April, two weeks later than average, one of the latest ever.

Winemaking Notes

The hand harvested Chardonnay grapes from the Tiers Vineyard 1.5M block were chilled in trays in the cold-room to 2C.

The cold grapes were tipped into our gentle air-bag presses and the whole fruit pressed juice was pumped into tank before being gravitated to French oak barriques (one third new) for fermentation. The fermentation lasted two months in the cool autumn conditions. The wine was barrel aged on full lees until November of 2023 when it was clear racked from barrique and bottled.

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