The journey of refining a wine from a “distinguished site” is a long one full of self-doubt. How does the vigneron know that quality from a vineyard is improving year on year and that wine-style is refining. Mostly it is achieved through self-assessment, the vigneron comparing vintage after vintage from the same vineyard and using comparison of wines from the same variety and style intent from comparable regions in Australia and internationally. Occasionally this self-assessment process needs to be ground-truthed through independent expert review.
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Tiers Vineyard Latest Reviews
This is now the third bottle of Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay 2018 and each time it gets better. Now officially at ‘phwoar’ level.
For a little context about Tiers, you need to start here. In my mind, this is the model of restrained power – an acknowledgement that Chardonnay can be both bold and refreshing, which the best white Burgundy does so well. This ’18 is a bigger, broader wine than the ’17 vintage release but I think I like it even more. It’s a full-flavoured Chardonnay, all white peach fruit, the oak intertwined throughout the palate, the finish still sprightly and vital, the acidity briney and almost unexpectedly so after the mid palate width. It feels powerful, uncompromisingly varietal… a Chardonnay for Chardonnay drinkers. Delicious, mouthfilling wine.
Would I buy it? Yes!
Earlier this year, The drinks business published a guide celebrating the talent of the winemakers who have scooped the highest accolade of our Global Masters tasting series, which is judged almost exclusively by MWs. Each week we profile the winemakers behind these medal winning wines – the creatives, scientists, mavericks and dreamers who are at the pinnacle of winemaking.
Brian Croser began as a winemaker with Thomas Hardy and Sons in 1969, later attending The University of California at Davis and establishing the Wine Science program at Charles Sturt. By 1976 he had established Petaluma, followed by Argyle winery in Oregon in 1986. Tapanappa was established in 2002 in partnership with Bollinger and the Cazes family of Lynch Bages in Pauillac, and in 2014, the Petaluma winery.
Eden Valley Riesling 2018
Founded on the philosophy of fealty to distinguished single sites, this juicy riesling hails from the meagre granitic souls of the 50yo Bartholomeus Vineyard. Pink grapefruit pulp, bath salts and lemon rind notes cascade along a gentle phenolic waft and juicy acid rails. This is ripe and luscious, eschewing contemporary trends toward earlier harvest windows and brittle acidity. At once pointed and richly flavoured. Finessed, too, while boasting a real propulsion of flavours and textures. Mouthfilling, gratifying and very long.
95 points (Gold)
Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2018
The warm season is certainly reflected in this wine, with honey, fig and even brulee, all finely balanced by citrussy acidity. Enjoyable drink now style.
94 points (Silver)
I think it was Xavier Bizot who had the idea of celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the planting of the Tiers vineyard in the Adelaide Hills in 1979.
He is the son-in-law of Brian Croser, who initially planted the vines for his nascent Petaluma wine operation. Much wine has flowed under the bridge since then, including the sale of Petaluma in 2001 to Asian brewers Lion Nathan and the establishment of the Croser family’s own Tapanappa label in the old Petaluma winery from 2015.
Medium to light straw-yellow hue, with a dominant note of sawn-timber and cedary oak in the aroma. The palate is refreshing with abundant lemony flavour and crisp, elevated acidity, the aftertaste tangy and nervy. This needs food, the acidity is a little shrill on its own.
The 2018 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay has won Gold at The Drinks Business 2019 International Chardonnay Masters
This continues a fantastic run, Master Chardonnay 2015, Gold 2016, Gold 2017
About the competition:
The Global Masters is a series of blind tasting competitions, drawing in entries from across the world. One of the key elements to its success is the quality and the dedication of the judges involved.
Every wine is measured on the taste of its grape and the skill of its winemaker. For the first time all preconceived ideas about the importance of location are pushed to one side as wines from across the world are judged by style and price exclusively.
The chardonnay vines on the Tiers Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley are all now well over 30 years old though some were planted in the late 1970s. Dramatically concentrated but long and elegant. Essence of the variety. White peach and pear, chalk and honeysuckle, sweet cedarwood, toast. It all gathers and then soars through the finish. Top shelf chardonnay without a doubt. Will be better again in a year or two.
Light to medium yellow hue, with a lightly smoky, wheaty-oak and roasted cashew nut bouquet, the palate intense and refined, long and saline. Oak is visible but not unbalanced, and will vanish in a year or so. It's rich and powerful and fills the mouth with flavour, the finish and follow-through underlined by a subtle tannin grip. This vintage is remarkably overt for a young Tiers.
Bright, light yellow colour, the bouquet and flavour big on citrus fruits, driven by lemon; a little biscuity oak. The palate is refreshingly fruity, dry and lemony, with nerviness and restraint. Terrific intensity and drive. An impressive young chardonnay with electric flavour and refreshing nerve, cleansing and very long in its aftertaste. It's more refined than the old-vine Tiers Vineyard 2018