The key to the success of the Pierro Chardonnay is attention to detail in the vineyard. It is sourced from blocks on the estate surrounding the Willyabrup Brook which flows down the valley to the nearby Indian Ocean. Mike Peterkin believes that this natural watercourse provides a nourishing life-source for the vineyard. The mature vines (14 to 31 years old in 2011) are all from high density plantings, 4,000 to 5,500 vines per hectare. It was the deep roots of these mature vines that particularly flourished in the warm dry conditions.
The success of the refinements made to the wine in the past decade has meant that the winemaking process has become established, or even traditional, at Pierro: the wine is barrel fermented in new and one year old French barriques; a hundred per cent goes through the malolactic fermentation and is given regular battonage (lees stirring) during its 12 month oak maturation. Mike Peterkin remains a strong supporter of the role that the malolactic fermentation can play in improving the flavour and length of palate of his flagship wine. Battonage gives a seamless character and creamy texture to the wine.
The new Pierro winery was completed just over a decade ago and so the changes that this made possible have become an integral part of the winemaking process. Mike Peterkin believes that three things have improved the ageing potential of the Chardonnay: its phenolic content has been lowered by whole bunch pressing and there has been a reduction in the temperature of each batch of grapes which gives more delicacy and greater length to the wine; paying greater attention to the levels of dissolved oxygen and sulphur dioxide during processing; and the use of screwcaps which offer better protection from oxidation.
So back to the wine. The Pierro Chardonnay is primal with pure white tropical flavours providing its core. There is, however, so much more. The mouthfeel is enticing: unctuous, viscous and creamy before its tight structure leads to a refreshing cleansing zesty finish. There are delicate nutty characters and schisty minerally notes that give complexity and a more savoury flavour profile. Expect finesse, focus and power: balance and harmony, too, before a delicious tangy dryness that lingers.Sku: LQ06967