Highly prized, beautifully pitched and evocative, Pierro
Chardonnay is truly one of Australia's greatest Chardonnays. To put it in context, if Leeuwin Art Series is the Margaret River Chardonnay ace, then Pierro is the king! It is the second highest ranked Margaret River Chardonnay in the Langton's Classification.
Typically fragrant and minerally with lemon curd grapefruit, white peach, cashew nut aromas and flavours, the wine displays lovely mid-palate richness and underlying new oak; a fresh indelible acidity cuts across the palate giving further dimension.
The wine is vinified in the Burgundian fashion with barrel fermentation in new and one-year-old French oak. Malo-lactic fermentation, regular lees stirring and lees contact takes place over a 12 month maturation period.
The 2007 Pierro Chardonnay is exquisitely balanced between complexity, richness and finesse. Still in barrel the wine is intensely perfumed with pear skin/ nectarine aromas and underlying savoury/ biscuity oak. The palate is well concentrated, fresh and creamy with white peach/ nectarine/ leesy/ grilled nut flavours, underlying savoury oak and fine long indelible acid cut. The wine finishes long and sweet. This is a great Margaret River Chardonnay with the flavour, texture and volume to drink early and the bright acidity and tautness to cellar for the medium term. Andrew Caillard MW
The Pierro vineyard is one of the most special vineyard sites in Margaret River. Its natural beauty draws the eye into its textured landscape of stony outcrops and rounded hillocks. Tall gum trees skirt and protect the vines from prevailing winds. Below, the Wilyabrup River, sometimes no more than a trickle, cuts through the property reaching a man-made lake below a new concrete/earth winery.
The vineyard was originally going to be planted to Riesling, but a need for vineyard expertise and an accompanying offer of 5000 Chardonnay cuttings changed the course of Pierro's fortunes. Vineyard management is an important concern. The vines (the same Gin Gin clone as Leeuwin Estate) are closely spaced – approximately 4000-5500 per hectare – which increases the relative humidity in the vineyard. Fruit exposure is a critical component of this practice. The vineyard is very stony which means at night the heat irradiates back into the clusters of Chardonnay effectively burning off excessive levels of malic acid.
Low levels of malic acid in the Chardonnay fruit means that the complex aromas and flavours deriving from malo-lactic fermentation do not smother fruit definition. Pierro Chardonnay is vinified in Burgundian fashion with barrel fermentation in new French oak, lees stirring (battonage) and lees contact. Doctor Mike Peterkin (Pierro is the Italian translation of his surname) is able to mix a fastidious attention to detail with a relaxed approach. Pierro Chardonnay possesses incredible intensity, generosity, complexity and concentration. A fresh, indelible acidity cuts across the palate giving further dimension. Andrew Caillard MW
The 2007 vintage turned out to be an excellent year for Pierro Chardonnay. Yields were low for the second vintage in a row due to very early spring gales and overcast weather during late spring affecting berry set. After that it was an ideal season with moderate temperatures and even growth. The low crop ensured an early harvest, well before the risk of autumn rains. The weather was fine in the critical month prior to ripening and all the grapes were handpicked in excellent condition. The wine is looking very good in barrel and will be bottled under screw cap to maintain freshness and allow better bottle maturation. Mike Peterkin – Winemaker
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.