Last vintage Tapanappa Tiers earnt the tag of “Best In Australia”. This year, it has gone one better and is actually the best Chardonnay in the world. According to the Decanter World Wine Awards it is equal best, sharing the honours with a Grand Cru Burgundy. Those of you who bought some last year (or any year to be honest), will not be surprised by this.
Often the best vintages for a region are the ones that are the opposite of the norm. For example, I prefer to drink wines from cooler years in the Barossa. The 2016 vintage for Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay offered a very warm growing season, which is not the normal climate for the very cool Piccadilly Valley. This gives the wine some extra meat on its bones: More obvious, ripe fruit and more drinking appeal from day one. However, the underlying structure of the wine is still there make for a perfectly balanced wine. In short, I can’t think of a reason not to buy this wine, the best in the world.
The Tiers vineyard is one of the great Chardonnay vineyards in the world. Planted in 1979 and made famous by Petaluma. The legend was further elevated by the style made under the Tapanappa label. This old vine fruit is hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. Left to gravity settle before racking to French Vosges oak barriques of which 33% are new. The wine is barrel fermented and left on full lees in barrique until the summer. It is then bottled in March.
Brian Croser’s ability to pick vineyard sites should be heritage listed. His work with Tapanappa seems to have taken this to a new height: These wines are sheer quality and class from Adelaide Hills, Wrattonbully and Fleurieu Peninsula.
Tiers is so complex, you want to serve it at cellar temperature to make sure you get all the nuances. Because of the vintage, it is drinking now but will evolve over the next 7 years and hold that peak for who knows how long..
Keep it simple and fresh to let the wine be the star. Try roast chicken or La Tur cheese.
This is a big and varied region. It stretches from the top of the McLaren Vale all the way to the bottom of the Barossa. This means there is a big scope for climatic conditions. In the central part where its altitude is quite high you can get some of the best sites in the world for Sparkling wine. In the slightly warmer parts of the centre, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme with Riesling, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc worthy of honourable mentions.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation.