About Pierro

The wines of Pierro are the culmination of passion, innovation, location, climate and time. Wherever our wines are enjoyed around the world today they invariably impart a tangible trace of their idyllic place of origin – warm southern climes, ancient soils, healthful vines and years of skilled hands-on viticulture and winemaking.

For over a quarter of a century we have striven to fuse these elements to produce superior wines of singular extraction, character and elegance. Our quest for heightened quality continues with each passing vintage.

We are fortunate in that our beautiful Willyabrup vineyard is located in what is widely regarded as amongst the finest wine grape growing terrain in the world. Located in the heart of Western Australia’s renowned Margaret River wine region, this far-flung locality has a viticultural pedigree second to none.

The district is situated in the continent’s deep south-west, a relatively young region unsullied by the impact of human population and development. Fresh air, clean seas, unspoiled country and fruitful earth have been simple, priceless qualities here for millennia.

Surrounded by open water on three sides between capes Leeuwin and Naturaliste, the wine region is almost completely free of pollutants and contaminants. Year-round it is swept by pure, cool sea breezes, blowing in off the Indian and Southern Oceans. Mild, wet winters and sun-splashed summer seasons add to the viticultural equation.

A stable and predictable Mediterranean maritime climate is a vigneron’s dream-come-true, and Margaret River has this too. The vineyard is situated on the north-facing south bank of the Willyabrup Brook, a pristine freshet that meanders down its namesake valley to the sea.

As is the case with many premier vineyards elsewhere in the world the presence of this natural watercourse provides a nourishing life source for the vineyard. It is no coincidence that several of the State’s other premier vineyards and wineries are also situated in this gently undulating country by the brook.

Couple this with soils ideally suited to the needs of classic varietal grapevines and we find ourselves in a kind of viticultural paradise. Amid this marvellous terroir sits Pierro Margaret River Vineyards.

Our history is inextricably aligned with the emergence of Margaret River as one of the great young wine regions of the world. We couldn’t be located in a better grape growing or winemaking district if we tried!

OUR STORY

Mike was anything but conventional when it came to establishing Pierro. In fact, in many areas of the vineyard he went completely against the customary methodology.

While studying at Roseworthy he was influenced by the alternative and somewhat unfashionable ideas of Richard Smart, an advocate of canopy management and the controlled use of irrigation to reduce vine stress. Much of what both men preached and acted out has now become standard practise in many Australian vineyards.

miketeacup

From day one he has had firm – and sometimes contrary – views on vineyard management. Although it still remains controversial, Mike is pro-irrigation, believing that its limited and sensible use in the vineyard brings improvements in much the same way as the careful use of refrigeration in the winery.

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. 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. These granite soils are some of the most open, warm and well drained of our viticultural soils, allowing great root penetration and exploration.

Pierro was the original high-density vineyard planting in Margaret River and also one of the first in Australia. Vine density ranges from 4,000 to 5,500 vines per hectare, compared to a conventional Australian vineyard of 1,900 per hectare.

Mike emphasises the primacy of viticulture in determining wine quality. For him, winemaking involves team effort, with everything from pruning to hand-picking to bottling contributing to the character of the finished wine. Here is a man who doesn’t crush grapes; he hugs them into the bottle!

During his first vintage in Margaret River in 1979 Mike introduced two wine styles which have become the mainstay of winemaking in the district. He produced the first Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend in Australia. The style is unique and refreshing, as it emphasises the fruit flavours and aromas in the wine, as opposed to the barrel matured style from Bordeaux.

This was the era of single varietal wines in Australia and blended wines were unpopular, but Mike persisted and refined the blend. By the 1980s a few other regional winemakers started to follow his lead, including David Hohnen at Cape Mentelle.

Today, that “few” has turned into a virtual stampede with literally hundreds of wineries across Australia seeking to emulate the popular style. Semillon Sauvignon Blancs are now the fastest growing category of white wine in Australia.

Similarly with red wine in 1979 Mike started the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends with a touch of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. This is now the pre-eminent red wine style in Margaret River.

Mike also continues to develop the winery with state-of-the-art technology. The winemaking philosophy has always been to combine the traditional hand made techniques of the Old World with the modern technology of the New World. Therefore all the fruit is picked carefully by hand and then chilled to 5 degrees centigrade before pressing to retain the fruit flavours and aromas. The fruit is then handled in the winery in small batches so each particular vineyard area can receive the attention it deserves.

The result of all this planning, design and hands-on innovation is amply expressed in the Pierro wines.

The Pierro reds are now among the very best in the region. Vine age has given the Pinot Noir greater intensity of flavour and the Cabernets improved richness, intense fruit characters and a velvety texture.

The winery is very highly regarded for the quality of its delicate, fine white wines – indeed, the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc remains one of the finest expressions of the quintessential Margaret River blend. The Pierro Chardonnay has been rated as one of the world’s best white wines.

As it turned out, this lovely Margaret River vineyard, first planted in 1980, now produces a delightful array of wines, including of course one of the world’s most coveted chardonnays.

In the words of Jeremy Oliver, one of Australia’s most highly respected wine writers:

“Pierro is one of the few Australian wineries that could claim to have established a trend that many others have followed. Since the mid-1980s Mike Peterkin has crafted a Chardonnay of not only monumental power, but of simultaneously smooth and silky delivery.

“Pierro Chardonnay is the role model for so many of Australia’s more opulent and hedonistically proportioned chardonnays and is a stunning expression of Margaret River Chardonnay.”

Mike Peterkin had initially intended to specialise in Riesling on his Willyabrup plot, so it was a tad fortuitous that Chardonnay became Pierro’s most famous wine.

His vine supplier had been let down on a large order of Chardonnay rootstock, approximately 5000 cuttings, and offered them to Mike at a cut price. In order to help out his friend he agreed to take them.

It was an inspired decision. Today the two finest Chardonnays in the region are Pierro and Leeuwin Estate. Seeing as Margaret River is indisputably Australia’s premier Chardonnay producing region, this is a major honour.

During the last two decades the two wineries have received praise and accolades from around the world for their consistently outstanding efforts with the variety.

Innovation and location have been the key factors in developing the quality of the Pierro chardonnay.

Dissatisfied with the first three vintages of Chardonnay (1983-85), which were carried out following standard Australian winemaking practices, Mike decided to make some radical changes and the Pierro Chardonnay style was born in the 1986 vintage.

Today there are three distinct blocks of chardonnay on the property. About 95% of the Pierro Chardonnay is the Gin Gin clone, which produces the best quality wine, and one that has been particularly successful in Margaret River.

Each block features high-density narrow rows on rocky soil that slope down to the Willyabrup Brook and are orientated to the west and north. The vineyards are managed to maximise fruit, leaf and cane exposure to sunlight; minimise wind damage in the often blustery southern spring; and to heighten flavour development in the summer ripening period.

Irrigation at Pierro is different from other vineyards in Margaret River. Mike attempts to reproduce natural rainfall patterns when watering, giving the vines a good drink when they need it, rather than trickle or drip-feeding. This mimics a typical summer shower.

Vine management at Pierro is designed to achieve maximum balance with good leaf vigour supporting just the right amount of fruit. Such techniques result in healthy, highly flavoursome grapes arriving in the winery for processing.

In the winery Mike puts his Chardonnay through one hundred per cent malolactic fermentation which helps achieve superior texture, mouth feel and a more refined and persistent flavour.

The result is a world-class white. The wine has won many awards over the years and is well entrenched in the top three Chardonnays of Australia. No mean feat for a chap who at one stage of the vineyard development was regarded as a crank for his innovative practices in vine planting and canopy management.

This is a white of great finesse yet impressive power, tight structure yet generosity of flavour; ripe melony, peachy characters yet noticeable restraint and subtlety; an unctuous mouth-feel yet with taut, fine acidity on the finish.

Indeed, it is a fitting ambassador for Margaret River wine and the on-going quest for ever greater quality at Pierro.

1979

PIERRO PROPERTY PURCHASED

The Pierro property on Caves Rd is purchased by Dr Mike Peterkin in 1979. The block is chosen due to its north facing slopes, gravelly loam soils along with the Willyabrup brook that flows through the entire property.

The first Semillon Sauvignon Blanc was produced by Mike Peterkin in Margaret River in 1979 when he was making wine for Kevin and Di Cullen. That wine was labelled Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and sold as such. Dr Peterkin never claimed any originality for the idea, he simply borrowed it from the French. What he did do was create a new style which emphasized aroma, freshness and fruit character. He believes that this was the first Semillon Sauvignon Blanc produced in Australia.

That first Semillon Sauvignon Blanc produced in 1979 went on to win the trophy at the Perth Royal Show for the best full bodied dry white wine, and so is on the public record. It also clearly established the potential that a blend of these two varieties had in Margaret River. The grapevines for this 1979 wine would have been planted in 1975 or 1976.

When Dr Peterkin planted Pierro in 1980 the potential was obvious and he devoted a third of the total plantings at that time to these two varieties. Some of the people who played a major role in the development of this style of wine are :

  • Dr Mike Peterkin for starting the blend in 1979 and repeating it in 1980 and 1981 vintages and for establishing the style.
  • Kevin and Di Cullen for continuing the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc wine  established by Dr  Mike Peterkin in subsequent vintages at Cullen.
  • David Hohnen at Cape Mentelle who started in the early to mid 1980’s, and helped popularize the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc name.
  • David Gregg of Vasse Felix and later Frank Tate of Evans and Tate who greatly popularized the Classic Dry White form of this wine.
  • Kate Mackillop and Mark Fesq, both Sydney wine distributors, who both got this unique Margaret River style well established in what was then the most important market place in Australia at that time.

Bruce Tomlinson at Lenton Brae did not plant his vineyard until 1982 or 1983 and did not produce his first Semillon Sauvignon Blanc wine until 1987.

The Northern facing vineyards of Pierro contain the classic Bordeux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec which were planted in 1988. On a Southern gravelly slope facing the Willyabrup brook there are 10 small rows of very low yeilding Pinot Noir planted in 1980.

The fruit is hand picked and bunch sorted prior to being berry selected, with only perfect berries entering the one tonne open fermenters. Once in the open fermenters, the must is cold soaked and hand plunged every 4 hours prior to being gently pressed and poured into French barrels. The wine is stored for between 12-18 months and then bottled and stored for between 2-3 years prior to release.

Pierro Margaret River Vineyards

One of Margaret River’s greatest chardonnay producers. Mike Peterkin combines lateral thinking with a pragmatic approach to his viticulture and winemaking. More recently, Mike’s investment in new winemaking equipment including more refrigeration has resulted in further refinement. The wines have a finer and more delicate finish to them.

OWNERS :  Dr Michael Peterkin
WINEMAKERS : Dr Michael Peterkin
ESTABLISHED : 1979
VINEYARD LOCATION : Wilyabrup
ANNUAL CRUSH : 150 tonnes
VARIETIES : Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir

CELLAR DOOR : 4050 Caves Road, Wilyabrup
OPEN : Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
WINE PRICES : $24 – 108
PHONE : 9755 6220
EMAIL : info@pierro.com.au
WEBSITE : www.pierro.com.au
DISTRIBUTION : Cellar Door, Wholesaler, Online, Mail Order, Retail, Winery


Pierro VR chardonnay 2014 ($108)

Boy, the extra time since I first tasted this chardonnay has allowed so many wonderful complexities to build up. Butterscotch and lemon curd with a mealy grapefruit character. Has deepened and enriched so that it is now such a compelling and beautiful example of great Margaret River chardonnay. And it is not going to go away in a hurry. Wonderful wine.
SCORE 97/100 CELLAR 8 Years

Pierro chardonnay 2015 ($82)

A wine that shows the remarkable consistency and quality of these chardonnays from Pierro. In the last few years there has been a vital freshness and tightness about them, yet the style is unmistakable. Minerally and savoury with light butterscotch and peachy stone fruit with a bracing acidity that focuses the finish. Slightly flinty and dry on the finish. Mighty good.
SCORE 96/100 CELLAR 10 years

Pierro chardonnay 2016 ($82)

Showing slightly more obvious toasty butterscotch than the 2015. It’s so intense through to its very long finish. Displays a freshness yet with a hint of savouriness that brings further interest into the equation. There’s also a trace of honeysuckle with a vanilla bean edge. Nice wine in its early stages.
SCORE 95/100 CELLAR 10 years

Pierro LTC 2017 ($33.50)

Another cracking good wine from Peterkin which in its vintage is sauvignon blanc dominant as a result of the season. The LTC component as always just a smidgeon of chardonnay to bring some texture into the palate, which it does so well. Such a distinctive expression of the blend from Margs and as always one of the very best. These cellar for a long time.
SCORE 94/100 CELLAR 10 years

Pierro LTCf cabernet sauvignon merlot 2014 ($40)

A very good example of this distinctive style and blend from Peterkin. The LTCf is a light touch of cab franc which brings a perfumed fragrance to the wine. It’s silky smooth and shows a seamless integration of the cabernet and merlot. This is clearly one of the best of this line from Peterkin. Love it.
SCORE 95/100 CELLAR 10 years

Pierro Reserve cabernet sauvignon merlot 2013 ($77)

In addition to the cabernet and merlot, this also has small amounts cab franc for perfume and petit verdot for tannins. The whole thing comes together so well. It’s one of the more elegant and stylish Marg cabernet blends, but it also has relentless power that extends through to its very long finish. Has a satiny mouthfeel, with the sweet fruit balance by a chalky tannin feel. Damn fine wine.
SCORE 96/100 CELLAR 15 years

Pierro VR cabernet sauvignon 2013 ($108)

A new release for Peterkin with this vintage reserve that he’s held back for five years. The result is a compelling endorsement of holding wines back a little or cellaring them for a few years before opening. The smooth seamless integration of fruit, oak and tannin is stunning, with sweet fruit balanced with a leafy tobacco character and a fine chalky minerality. Love it.
SCORE 96/100 CELLAR 12 years

New Vineyard Planted

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec along with more  Chardonnay are planted on the Pierro site.

Wine Making Process

Pierro

4051 CAVES ROAD WILLYABRUP Busselton Western Australia, 6280

CONTACT

Phone 61 8 9755 6220
info@pierro.com.au

Website

http://www.pierro.com.au/index.php/click-to-enter?tmpl=splash

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RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017