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Tiers Vineyard Latest Reviews
Pale yellow. Highly perfumed nose offers a complex array of smoky, leesy citrus and pit fruit aromas underscored by toasty oak and sweet butter. The fresh peach and yellow plum flavors possess impressive depth and are nicely brightened by fresh floral and baking spice notes. Impressively precise for a wine with such flavor impact. The juicy, persistent finish features traces of peach pit and toffeed orange. Lots going on here.
Former Petaluma supremo Brian Croser had to treat his vineyard owner wife Ann to a week in the best hotel in Paris to convince her to release half of the chardonnay grapes from her Tiers Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley to his new Tapanappa winery venture.
The result is the 2005 Tapanappa Tiers chardonnay ($70) from the same vineyard as Petaluma's far more expensive Tiers chardonnay.
Tapanappa, a joint venture between Croser (who was bought out at Petaluma by Lion Nathan in 2001), the Cazes family, Chateau Lynch Bages and the Bollinger group, aims to produce great wines from great Australian terroir and is also making superb red from its Whalebone vineyard in Coonawarra. The wines are hard to find (two thrids are exported) but the search is well worth the effort. The chardonnay is probably the best made in the Adelaide Hills.
Meaning 'Stick to the path' in aboriginal language, Tapanappa is a super-premium Australian label, launched by one of the great names of Australian winemaking, Brian Croser (left). Croser found fame as owner and winemaker at Petaluma, one of Australia's icon estates. In late 2001 Petaluma, which Croser had founded in 1976, was taken over by the giant Lion Nathan group. But "even as the ink was drying on the Petaluma purchase," as Croser says, he was putting together a plan for a new venture with long-time associates Champagne Bollinger and Bordeaux's Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages.
The concept of Tapanappa is to make ultra-premium, terroir-specific wines from their South Australian vineyards. Tiers vineyard was selected for the Chardonnay because it "mirrors the southern end of the Cotes de Beaune, where the great Montrachets are grown." The wine pours a very delicate gold colour, with a gorgeous nose of very high quality French oak, giving notes of honey, toasted almonds and sesame seeds, and fine, racy orchard fruits. The palate has a lightly creamy, oatmeally quality and medium body, with a deliciously crisp lemon acidity immediately adding cut and edge to quite full, sweet fruit. There's an orange fruit brightness, and just a perception of more luscious, tropical tones. The wine stays quite crisp and racy through to the finish, with lovely succulence and balance. Very impressive stuff this.
Later that day I proceeded to dinner with the same underlying message: there is never enough great wine and always too much mediocre product, the main virtue of which is its alcohol content. At the dinner the hosts were the three Tapanappa partners: Brian Croser, Jean-Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch-Bages in Pauillac, Bordeaux, and Arnould d'Hautefeuille of Bollinger. (Strictly speaking, it is a partnership of three family-owned businesses.)
The wines, served with a splendid dinner at Circa, were: 1999 Bollinger Grand Annee; 2005 Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay; 2004 and 1995 Chateau Lynch-Bages; 2003 Chateau Les Ormes de Pez; 2004 and 2003 Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz; 2002 Petaluma Essence Botrytis Semillon (an outsider these days); and a sneak preview of the superb Bollinger RD 1996.