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 1.5 metre row spacing with the fruiting wire at only 0.5 metres above the ground. This unique vineyard section produces earlier ripening, fuller flavoured Chardonnay than the 1979 old vine Chardonnay on own roots across the centre road in Tiers Vineyard.
So unique is this small area of Chardonnay that we made the decision to bottle it separately from the 2015 vintage onwards.
Like the 2021 vintage before it, the 2022 vintage in the Piccadilly Valley was “near perfect”.
The 2022 vintage was marginally warmer, 1176C-days, than the long-term average of 1098C-days.
We have now had three successive cooler vintages, (indeed 4 as I observe the evolving 2023 vintage), after the near unrelenting warmth of the previous decade of vintages.
The Chardonnay crop was very modest in the Tiers 1.5M block at 6 tonnes/hectare.
The Chardonnay grapes in the 20-year-old Tiers 1.5M Vineyard ripened in still and cool air, sunny conditions, ideal autumnal weather.
Tiers Vineyard 1.5M yielded up its exceptional quality fruit on the 6th and 7th of April, two weeks later than average.
The hand harvested Chardonnay grapes from the Tiers Vineyard 1.5M block, were chilled in trays in the cold-room to 2C.
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 2022 when it was clear racked from barrique and bottled.
In-bottle analysis :
Total Acid 8.0 g/L
Volatile Acid 0.37 gpl
Alcohol 13.5 %
Winemaker BRIAN CROSER
The Taste of the Wine
2022 Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay stands alongside its older sibling, the 2022 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 2022 Tiers 1.5M is a buttercup green-yellow colour, very similar to its older vine sibling. The aroma is 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 reflecting the aroma with exceptional length of flavour. The trade-mark Tiers fruit sweetness and texture is offset by the acid and grapefruit finishing cut of the Tiers Vineyard.
The late ripening of a small crop in cool, dry and sunny conditions, has defined a “near perfect” expression of Chardonnay from the unique and distinguished Tiers 1.5M Vineyard terroir.
2022 Tiers 1.5M Chardonnay is “a very special vintage of a unique wine defined by the truly distinguished Tiers Vineyard terroir”.