In 2003 the Croser family removed 1.3 hectares of the original Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay, 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 spacing and at only 0.5 meters above the ground. This unique section of The Tiers Vineyard produces earlier ripening, fuller flavoured Chardonnay than the 1979 old vine, OF clone Chardonnay on own roots across the centre road in The Tiers Vineyard.
The Piccadilly Valley welcomed the Croser family back into the Tapanappa Winery with a typical cool weather vintage of exemplary quality. The winter provided average rainfall and replenished the subsoil but from August to December very dry conditions prevailed, The Tiers Vineyard receiving just 40% of normal rain.
The three spring months and December were much warmer than average, only exceeded by the temperatures preceding vintage 2016 and vintage 2010. The warm dry conditions led to an early and perfect flowering and fruit-set in the Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay and a balanced crop of 8 tonnes/hectare.
After December, the ripening months were cooler than average by about the same amount as the first three months were above average. Hence the 2015, seven month vintage heat summation coincided with the long-term average of 1173 C days. A January rain event relieved developing stress in the vines.
The Tiers 1.5m section was hand harvested on the 16th of March and so unique is this small area of Chardonnay that we made the decision to bottle it separately in the glorious 2015 vintage.
Hand harvested Tiers 1.5m Chardonnay grapes were destemmed, crushed and chilled to the new Willmes Merlin airbag press. The 2C free-run juice combined with the light pressings was settled briefly then racked and gravitated to French Vosges oak barriques (33% new) for a cool autumn air fermentation.
As soon as the fermentation was finished the barriques were topped and the wine was left to mature on full yeast lees. In the summer the wine was clear racked off lees in preparation for bottling in mid March 2016.
The post bottling analysis of 2015 Tiers Vineyard 1.5m Chardonnay is
The Taste of the Wine
Tapanappa 2015 Tiers 1.5m Chardonnay is unmistakably a reflection of the unique terroir of The Tiers distinguished site. It has the ripe stone-fruit aroma and flavour and the significant texture of Tiers Chardonnay. Because of the precocious Bernard clones and the reflected ground warmth of the low slung 1.5m vineyard, Tiers 1.5m Chardonnay ripens earlier and more completely than the older vine Tiers Chardonnay. The texture is rich even though the natural acid provides tautness and the flavours are of luxuriant ripe Chardonnay with a slight quince finish.