Pierro Chardonnay, latest 2008 releases

I’m teeing up for tomorrow’s celebration of Western Australia’s Foundation Day by whetting my whistle in style on the latest 2008 Chardonnay releases from Margaret River’s Pierro.   I met with Dr Mike Peterkin, Pierro’s founder, last year.  He gave me chapter and verse on the Chardys for which he is justly renowned (see my detailed report here).   Compared with the 2007s, which I wrote about then, the 2008s seem a little tighter, which makes sense in terms of the milder vintage:

Fire Gully Chardonnay 2008 (Margaret River) – Peterkin’s other label is sourced from the Wilyabrup vineyard of that name, Fire Gully, which he acquired in 1998.  A tight lemony/grapefruity nose and palate with sweet pear skin and ripe white peach typifies Western Australia’s Gin Gin clone of Chardonnay.  Rich yet firmly structured with, as Langton’s Andrew Caillard MW memorably puts it, an “al dente” texture, it has presence, indeed a youthful focus.  Very good.   It’s around £15/bottle (2006 vintage – a cracker for Chardy) at John Gerard Wines.

Pierro Chardonnay 2008 – as Peterkin told me last year, his prestige label’s opulent style is influenced by a full malolactic fermentation, though he picks with low malic acid followed by batonnage and time in barrel (12 months in 50% new French oak) to keep the buttery diacetyl notes at bay.  While the Fire Gully has a youthful focus about it, the Pierro is more sophisticated with that bit more girth (a sure sign of maturity!) and no shortage of backbone either.  It shows perfumed, vanilla pod edged canteloupe and white peach on the nose, with incipient nougat, which impression follows through on the palate, together with some (attractively) textured pear skin notes.  Ample, yet well balanced, this is a beautifully tailored, perfumed Chardonnay, already giving lots of pleasure, but with the concentration and structure to eke out said pleasure factor for a good few years yet.  Around £28/bottle (2006 vintage) at Waitrose (2007) and  John Gerard Wines (2006).

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