WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN MAGAZINE – James Halliday Wine Review
15 June 2019
97 POINTS- 2014 Charteris The Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir
Only 250 dozen produced and held in the winery for five years. From patches of deeper soil on the vineyard 36% whole bunch, 64% whole berry. Juicy plum and cherry fruit has a plushness along with the Charteris hallmark of elegance.
96 POINTS- 2017 Charteris Central Otago Pinot Noir
Poor weather at flowering decimated the yield of this wine (140 dozen bottles) and the Riesling. This is the magic of PJ’s pinot in fair weather or foul – a highly fragrant, multi-spice bouquet dances in the glass, the light-to medium-bodied palate reflecting 30% whole bunch in a nigh-on apologetic fashion
96 POINTS- 2017 Charteris Central Otago Riesling
Shows why there’s more Riesling grown in this region than chardonnay. It fills the mouth in an utterly seamless, seductive fashion, the crucial balance between acidity (high) and residual sugar (low) perfect, allowing citrus/granny smith apple fruit flavours of utmost varietal clarity.
Owners are like their dogs. Or is it the other way round? And does it matter how well life has treated them? The same questions revolve around a winemaker and his wines.
Tousle-haired PJ Charteris- christened Peter-James but known to all and sundry as PJ – was born in the South Island of New Zealand, gained his oenology degree at South Australia’s Roseworthy and thereafter travelled the wine world at a daunting pace through the Hunter Valley, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Mildura, Barossa, Oreogon, California, the Rhone Valley, France, Spain and Italy.
He came to roost at Brokenwood in 1999 and spent 12 years as senior winemaker, meeting an marrying Brokenwood’s beautiful Marketing Manager, Chrissi. He formed a formidable partnership with Brokenwood CEO Iain Riggs; both had stellar careers as wine judges, Riggs throughout Australia and China, and PJ is currently Chair of Judges at the Sydney Royal Wine Show.
PJ is running a consultancy ‘sans frontlieres’ (without limits) on either side of the Tasman. But the real story is how a Hunter Valley shiraz winemaker can return to his nest in Central Otago and make a pinot noir with finesse it’s surname, denying the bombastic notes that afflict many Central Otago Pinots.
He’s like that dog, digging up its prize bone, smelling its essence but then burying it again until he thinks it’s at its best. In fact, there are two bones: the ’17 Central Otago Pinot Noir and the ’14 The Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir. The ’14 came after the best vintage in Central, and the question was whether it was released too early. Both wines now released come 100% from small vineyard sites in Bannockburn, the one released young (’17) labelled Central Otago, the other (’14) released years later entitled The Winter Vineyard. An no, it wasn’t released too soon!