I have described the 2021 vintage in the Piccadilly Valley as “near perfect”. Like 2020, the 2021 vintage was marginally warmer than average. What a relief to have two successive cooler vintages, (indeed 3 as I observe the evolving 2022 vintage), after the near unrelenting warmth of the previous decade of vintages.
The Chardonnay crop was very modest in the Tiers 1.5M Vineyard at 5 tonnes/hectare, not because of the flowering conditions in November 2020, but because the previous vintage had experienced very bad flowering conditions, reflected in low fruitfulness of the shoots bearing the 2021 vintage.
The Chardonnay grapes in the 18-year-old Tiers 1.5M Vineyard ripened in still and cool air, sunny conditions, ideal autumnal weather. The seven-month growing season heat above 10ºC (Growing season degree days- GDD), was 1233ºC days versus the long-term average of 1076ºC days.
Tiers 1.5M yielded up its exceptional quality fruit on the 24th of March.
The hand harvested Chardonnay grapes from the Tiers Vineyard 1.5M block, were chilled in trays in the coldroom to 2ºC.
The cold grapes were tipped into our gentle air-bag presses and the whole fruit pressed juice was pumped to tank before being gravitated to French oak barriques (one third new) for fermentation.
The fermentation lasted two months in the cool autumn conditions. The wine was barrel aged on full lees until December of 2021 when it was clear racked from barrique and bottled in January of 2022.
Winemaker BRIAN CROSER
The Taste of the Wine
2021 Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay stands alongside its older sibling, the 2021 Tiers Old Block, as an equal, but with the subtle differences of its close spaced, French clone, earlier ripening habit. Both wines are truly outstanding vintage examples of the Tiers special terroir.
The 2021 Tiers 1.5M is a delicate green-yellow colour, very similar to its older vine sibling. The aroma is restrained, more of white peach than nectarine and with the slight brioche and cinnamon-vanilla complexity of the yeast and oak. The flavour is intense and very fruit ripe and fresh. The aroma is dominated by the intensity of the Chardonnay fruit. The flavour is intense but refined reflecting the aroma with exceptional fruit sweetness and length of flavour. The trade-mark Tiers texture is offset by the acid and grapefruit finishing cut of the Tiers Vineyard.
The late ripening of a small crop in perfect cool, dry and sunny conditions, has defined a “near perfect” expression of Chardonnay from the unique and distinguished Tiers 1.5M Vineyard terroir.
2021 Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay is “a very special vintage of a unique wine defined by the truly distinguished Tiers Vineyard terroir”.