2005 was a cool vintage in the Piccadilly Valley accumulating just 1113°C days of heat during the growing season versus the long-term average of 1172°C days. In fact April was the only month after flowering that was warmer than average and the fruit had been harvested by the time the April burst of heat arrived at the end of the first week.
A modest crop of 6 tonnes/hectare was hand harvested in the first week of April in cool air, sunny and dry conditions. The analysis of the fruit at delivery was sugar at 23.9 Brix, pH 3.19. and acid of 8.0gpl as tartaric.
The hand picked Tiers Chardonnay fruit was delivered to the winery adjacent to the vineyard. The fruit was de-stemmed and chilled to 5°C on the way to the air bag press. The cold juice was gravitated away from the skins and only light pressings were added back. A low level of SO2 was added to the juice on the way to the tank where the juice was allowed to settle for 4 days. The SO2 was the only addition to the juice prior to fermentation.
The clear juice was racked to new (70%) and 1 use (30%) oak barriques from the French forest of Vosges. A selected yeast strain, native to the vineyard, was added to initiate fermentation and the bacteria for the malo-lactic fermentation was added at the same time.
The primary fermentation was complete in 6 weeks after which the yeast lees were stirred in the barriques weekly until the malo-lactic fermentation was complete 2 months later. At the end of malo-lactic fermentation the wine was racked from barrique, SO2 was added and the wine was put back to sit on lees for a further 4.5 months.
After a total of 8 months in barrique, the 2005 Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay was clear racked from barrique and prepared for bottling. The wine was bottled without filtration in January 2006.
The in-bottle analysis of 2005 Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay is: Alcohol 13.5%, pH 3.26, total acid 6.0 gpl as tartaric, SO2 140 ppm, volatile acid 0.46 gpl.
The Taste of the Wine
Tapanappa 2005 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay captures the personality of this special 26 year- old vineyard. In every way a distinguished site, the Tiers Vineyard has consistently produced the most complex and complete Chardonnay of the Piccadilly Valley.
The colour is pale lemon. The aroma is very complex but ripe white peach can be discerned in amongst the roasted malt, crème brulee and cinnamon of the oak, yeast and malo lactic influences. The flavour is of sweet ripe fruit supported by a soft and full texture. Despite having a significant mouth feel and flavour the finish of the wine is savoury and long.