For the team at Pierro, attention to detail in the vineyard is the factor which most clearly determines the success of the Pierro Chardonnay. It is sourced mainly from a north facing block on the south bank of 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 (25 to 30 years old in 2010) are from high density plantings, 4,000 to 5,500 vines per hectare.
The success of this wine has meant that there is much about the winemaking process that has become 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 has regular lees stirring (battonage) 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 the Chardonnay. Battonage gives a seamless character and creamy texture to the wine.
The new Pierro winery was completed 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 aging potential of the Chardonnay: its phenolic content has been lowered by whole bunch pressing and the reduction in 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.
Picked over 1 month, hand-sorted, chilled to 5C, whole bunch-pressed, 90% cultured yeast, 10% wild, primary and mlf in French oak (50% new) with 12 months maturation and stirring. One of the Margaret River princes of chardonnay, with perfect balance and length, the suite of flavours so complex they border on savoury; the length is remarkable. Rating: 96 Points; Drink by: 2023; Price: $82.00; Date Tasted: Jan 2016; Alcohol: 14%; James Halliday Wine Companion
Consistently one of the best Chardonnays in this country. A great vineyard meets an exceptional winemaker with a worked nose that shows layers of fig, nectarine and richer mealy notes. The palate has a spicy and nervy acidity as a constant with a cacophony of flavours ranging from wood smoke to white peach and nougat. The complexity to finish is brilliant with oak, pure fruits and creamy richness held in balance by elegant acidity. Drink: 2016 - 2026; Rating: 96 Points; Patrick Eckel; Wine Reviewer