2007 was a warm, moderate and dry harvest in the Piccadilly Valley, accruing 1210°C days of heat during the growing season, versus the average of 1172°C days.
The 2007 harvest of Tiers Chardonnay yielded a moderate crop level of 6 tonnes/hectare without fruit thinning. Rain events in January and March were sufficient to sustain the vines to achieve full fruit ripeness by the last week of March, about one week earlier than normal. The hand- harvested fruit was delivered in perfect condition to the winery, which is situated at the foot of the Tiers Vineyard. The analysis of the fruit at delivery was sugar 23.6 Brix, pH 3.34 and acid of 6.74 gpl as tartaric.
Immediately upon arrival at the winery, the Tiers Chardonnay fruit was de-stemmed, crushed and chilled to 3°C on its way to the air bag press. Cold juice was gravitated away from the skins through the press and only light pressings were added back. A small amount of SO2 was added to the juice on the way to the tank where the juice was allowed to settle for 4 days. SO2 was the only addition to the juice prior to fermentation.
The clear juice was racked to new (50%) and 1 use (50%) oak barriques from the French Vosges forest. 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 finish of malo-lactic fermentation the wine was racked from barrique, SO2 was added and the wine was put back to barrique to sit on lees for a further 6 months.
After a total of 10 months in barrique, the 2007 Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay was racked clear and prepared for bottling. The wine was bottled without filtration in January 2008.
The in-bottle analysis of 2007 Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay is: Alcohol 13.59%, pH 3.16, total acid 6.29 gpl as tartaric, SO2 136 ppm, volatile acid 0.24 gpl.
The Taste of the Wine
2007 Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay is a very typical wine of the Tiers Vineyard in a good vintage. The aromas are subtle varietal white peach and clove, with marzipan and brioche contributed by the malo-lactic, yeast lees contact and oak.
A consistent terroir feature of Tiers Chardonnay is the significant texture followed by a savoury finish and the persistence of the flavours. The 2007 Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay will develop spicy honey and brulée characters with bottle age of up to 10 years.