Caves Rd, Wilyabrup, Cowaramup, 6284
Cellar Door: Daily (10-5)
Ph: (08) 9755 6220
Mike Peterkin’s Pierro is one of the iconic wineries in the region and was established in the 1970s.
After graduation in medicine from the University of Western Australia in 1973 at the age of 24, Mike Peterkin decided to pursue his love of wine and winemaking. He attended South Australia's respected Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1976 and 1977 and gained a Diploma in Oenology. From 1978 to 1981, he made wines at Enterprise Wines at Clare, Cullen Wines at Margaret River (as the region’s first professional winemaker) and Alkoomi in Western Australia's Great Southern region.
Despite advice to the contrary from his Clare Valley mentor, Tim Knappstein he bought the rocky property at Wilyabrup in 1979.
Mike uses some limited irrigation water as he believes that the lack of water in the three months prior to harvest in Margaret River causes vines to close down for long periods during the day. He argues that controlled watering, which averts this, will result in the finished wine having more aroma and flavour. Unlike a number of other vineyards in the region he planted north-south orientated vine rows, which he judged would receive up to 20% more sunlight. He also introduced vines with half the normal width between the rows and two-thirds the breadth. This was to make the vines more competitive, balance their fruit yield and promote flavour intensity.
Soil, aspect, and a high number of vines per hectare are the critical factors for achieving high quality at Pierro. The vines all face the sun on the mid- to low slopes of the rolling gravel hills formed by the dissecting creek system. The soils are moderately deep laterite gravel with interspersed granite, over ancient base rock with friable pink clay merging into a shattered rock layer (well suited for deep root penetration).
Pierro broke with the 1970s fashion for single varieties. The first vintage saw what Mike claims was Australia’s first Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend and also the first Australian release of the Margaret River’s signature red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with dashes of Malbec and Cabernet Franc (the blend now also includes a small amount of Petit Verdot). I haven’t seen any claims to the contrary.
The range now also includes another Margaret River classic variety, Chardonnay and a spritzy Blanc de Blanc. There is also a second Fire Gully range sourced from fruit from a neighbouring vineyard that Mike manages.
There are three types of Tasting notes:
(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)
(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer
(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)
Pierro Reserve Chardonnay 2014
Purchased: Not ($82)
(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2016, complex style with full blown malo and barrel ferment, richly flavoured peach, honey melon and lime with a hint of lemon brûlée and matchstick, leesy with excellent length and becomes more savoury down the line, well integrated clove/cinnamon oak (*****)
Pierro Ltc Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Purchased: Not ($34)
(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2016, partial barrel ferment with a touch of Chardonnay, as usual is focussed and intense with lemon grass ad nectarine with tobacco and lanolin notes, a touch of spritz in there was well, fine and racy phenolic: acid balance and very good length (****1/2)
Pierro Chardonnay 2011
Purchased: Not ($78)
(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2013, full barrel ferment and malo, silky, succulent and complex showing nectarine, honeydew melon and lemon brulee with fig and matchstick nuances, very long and unpinned with slaty minerality, seamless toasty cinnamon/cedar/vanilla oak, tangy orange rind acidity (*****)
Pierro Ltc Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Purchased: Vintage Cellars, Toorak ($36)
(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2013, the Ltc stands for little touch of Chardonnay, partial barrel ferment on the Semillon, vibrant lemon and nectarine with tobacco, lemon grass, lanolin and lychee notes, spine of tingly phenolics with some mid-palate smoothness from Chardonnay, elegant, textural and carefully assembled, the best Ltc I have had (****1/2)
Pierro Chardonnay 2010
Purchased: Not ($78)
(GXY) Tasting: Apr 2012, mostly from the estate’s close planted mature Gin Gin clones, 100% malo, an ethereal wine that opens up to great complexity as the glass warmed in my hand, silky, leesy and multi-layered nectarine, honeydew melon and lemon brulee with ginger, nougat and matchstick nuances, very long and shapely palate with slaty minerality, tightly integrated clove/cinnamon/cedar oak, tangy mandarin rind acidity (*****)
Pierro Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2005
Purchased: Not ($79)
(GXY) Tasting: June 2011, blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, perfumed and briary glazed black cherry and mulberry with violets and slightly subdued spiciness, even and medium-full bodied palate, slightly green and vegetal with a parsnip note, ample cedar/vanilla oak with dusty tannins (***1/2)
Pierro Chardonnay 2007
Purchased: Not ($70)
(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, this rich, seamless and creamy wine has undergone 100% malo and 50% barrel ferment and plenty of lees stirring, stonefruit, melon, nectarine and tangerine and a hint of matchstick and hazelnut, spicy oak with clove and vanilla inputs, the racy cut of grapefruit acidity stops this feeling stale or over-worked, continues to be one of the region’s flagship wines (*****)
Pierro Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot LtCf 2006
Purchased: Not ($33)
(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, the LtCf stands for little touch of Cabernet Franc, there are also tiny Malbec and Petit Verdot inputs, the record cold vintage meant that there was no Reserve Cab Merlot so the declassified premium fruit makes up nearly half of this wine, more austere and savoury than usual, black cherry and mulberry with white pepper, mint, earthy rhubarb and leafy notes, glycerolly and medium bodied palate is underpinned with lingering chalky tannins with balanced cedar oak, one of the better reds from this most challenging of vintages (****)
Pierro Ltc Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Purchased: Vintage Cellars, Chinatown, Melb ($28)
(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, the wine-maker says its his best vintage since 2005, as usual there is a Little Touch of Chardonnay that is added to the synergestic blend to fatten up the mid-palate, taut but relatively lively guava, topical fruit, lemon grass with some snowpea, melon, smoke and spicy capsicum notes, creamy mid-palate, savoury features on the crisp and chalky finish that also shows the faintest whisper of vanilla oak (****)
Firegully Shiraz 2004
Purchased: Not ($24)
(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, there is a small Viognier input that brings a herbally lift, smooth and early drinking prospect, ripe black cherry, blackberry and plum with pepper and anise notes, fine tannins, drink soon (***)
Pierro Semillon Sauvignon Blanc LTC 2007
Purchased: Not ($28)
(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2008, LTC once stood for Les Trois Cuvees but has also been quipped as for the Little Touch of Chardonnay that is added to the blend, a taut core of fairly vibrant melon, lemon and cut grass with some dried herb notes, the Semillon is also barrel fermented to add to the texture, just gives a little more fatness, ageability and complexity to the well trodden SSB formula in the Margaret River (****)
Pierro Chardonnay 2005
Purchased: Not ($65)
(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, vibrant melon, grapefruit with a hint of pineapple, creamy palate with seamless structure, smooth sweet vanilla oak with some clove notes, minerally finish, tighter structure than 2004 (****1/2)
Pierro Chardonnay 2004
Purchased: Not ($65)
(GXY) Tasting: March 2006, intense honeydew melon and stonefruit with a hint of pineapple, mouthfilling creamy palate with seamless mid-palate crescendo, smooth sweet vanilla oak, lingering finish (****1/2)
Pierro Pinot Noir 2003
(GXY) Tasting: March 2006, nose shows raspberry and other red berries with some vegetal and spice notes, restrained palate shows more red cherry on the glycerolly smooth palate (***)
Pierro Blanc de Blanc
Purchased: Not ($26)
(GXY) Tasting: March 2006, unusual blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, light aperitiff style with apple and citrus flavours, frizzante and creamy features on palate (***1/2)