2019 Tiers Chardonnay
2022 Vintage Release
The Tiers vineyard in the heart of the Piccadilly Valley was planted over 40 years ago by Petaluma’s founding father Brian Croser. The soils are free draining clay loams with the geology of Clac silicate which imparts the distinctive mineral characteristic in the Tiers Chardonnay fruit that is unique to this vineyard.
The Piccadilly Valley received plentiful soaking winter rainfall in 2018 proceeded by an extremely dry spring. Cold weather conditions during the start of flowering lead to a very poor set which resulted in one of the lowest yielding vintages for many years, up to 60% lower than average. The overall growing season was slightly warmer than the long term average skewed by two short heatwaves with cooler conditions experienced between these heat spikes. This allowed the fruit to be in pristine condition despite the tiny crop which ripened earlier with hand harvesting commencing on the 19th March.
The fruit was transported from the Piccadilly Valley to our nearby winery at Woodside before destemming, crushing and chilling to tank presses prior to being pressed to tank. The juice was cold settled for a week, before seeding with our chosen yeast to conduct the primary fermentation then transferred immediately to barrel. Approaching sugar dryness the barrels were inoculated with bacteria to encourage the malo-lactic fermentation (MLF). Each barrel was monitored and assessed on merit, with the MLF fermentation often being arrested before completion to achieve optimum complexity. The barrels were then topped and allowed to rest on yeast lees for a total of eight months. For the 2019 vintage we chose barrels from a number of French coopers, predominantly Dargaud et Jaegle and Francois Frere with Sirugue and DeJarnac making small, yet important contributions. The final blend is comprised of 100% new French oak. Prior to blending we selected our ten favourite barrels then combined the precious Chardonnay in tank, gave the wine a very light milk fining before sterile filtering to bottle in January 2020.
The 2019 Petaluma Tiers Chardonnay is a complex and textured wine. Ripe white peach and grapefruit dominate with a subtle creaminess and toasty smokey oak which complement the bright juicy acidity. A wine of immediate appeal the 2019 Tiers Chardonnay had the ideal vintage conditions and will cellar gracefully.
Rated 95 points by Andrew Caillard (MW)