2008 Charteris The Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir

PJ's Notes:

With our Winter Vineyard I probably don’t need to say too much apart from the fact that we are very happy with our flagship wine and we are moving closer to perfection from this small plot of dirt with every passing harvest. Power with restraint continues to be the hallmark of this wine and our new release 2012 Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir fits the mould beautifully. As I understand more about the site and the vineyard matures, depth and intricacy start to form more of the backbone of the wine.  The 2012 season finished with a long, mild run into late autumn, which has delivered the concentration and power to the wine. The spice and fragrant herbal notes being the result of some very cool nights before picking. More in line with the 2009 compared with the 2008 and 2010, great aging potential but great drinking in its youth (based on the glass I have in front of me).

Tasting Notes:

Satsuma plum fruit with a hint of dark rose musk. Focused fruit and spice/herb ripeness gives depth and concentration without overtness. Subtle smoked tea and Allspice lift add complexity. The wine is quite primary at this stage with omnipresent secondary perfume hidden behind the fruit. It is just a question of when and how long the perfume will take to show itself.

There is an ever-present thyme and floral musk character that we have come to see as a marker for the Winter Vineyard. Dark, brooding and in need of at least another 12 months in the cellar to really settle and show it’s true colours. Subtle yet powerful fruit and extract fill the entry of the wine, plum, licorice and spice come in waves, building intensity across the palate.

The tannin texture grows with stem influence giving great length and focus to the structure of the wine. Classic, grainy stem tannins that will develop into silkiness and perfume over time. This wine shows the strength and depth of the 2012 vintage.


7 to 10 years if cellared well.

Technical info:

  • Hand picked on 27 April 2012 at 24.3 Brix
  • Small open fermenters
  • A blend of 777, 115 and Abel clones
  • 20% whole bunch in the fermenter with the balance whole berry
  • Shit load of hand plunging
  • Remained on skins for a total of 26 days for tannin development and structure
  • Basket pressed
  • Racked straight into new French oak (30%), the balance 1 and 2 year old for 11 months
  • Total production10 barrels / 475 six packs


  • Wine Reviews

    Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front

    PJ Charteris is the winemaker at Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley though this is his solo project. It’s made from a vineyard in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otage (New Zealand) and it was hand-picked and hand-plunged and hand everything. Only 140 dozen were made. Given that it’s a first release the price is a bit alarming, but given that it’s from Central Otago and that it’s made by PJ Charteris and that there isn’t much of it, I’m guessing that the restaurant trade will snap most of it up.

    I had this open on my desk for most of the day and it’s still tight and pretty much unyielding. Lots and lots of tannin here, assertive and (just) into the realms of aggression.

    Red – purple colour but not too dark/dense. Cherries and sap and citrus. Twiggy elements, in a good way. Maybe even some undergrowth too, though it’s spotlessly clean. Dried tobacco. Complex , certainly. Needs quite a few years in the bottle to show itself properly.

    The kind of wine that would probably develop better under cork (but let’s not go there). This is an impressive wine!

    Rated 93+ Points

    Matt Skinner, The Sun Herald Uncorked – 26 JUNE 2011

    It’s a nice enough dream. The one where you own a pretty little vineyard out in the country the kind of place where gentle slopes and rows of healthy vines produce wines that keep the kids in private school, you behind the week of a European car, and the bank manager smiling. Ever entertained the idea of chucking it all in for a little slice of that? Sure you have. But the above mentioned fantasy is a reality for just a privileged few. For the rest, growing grapes and making wine circa 2011 takes courage and plenty of it.

    Occupying the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, Central Otago is a region in which grape growing is just another of the extreme sports the region is so fond of. It just shouldn’t be possible to grow grapes here, yet somehow, against the odds and despite an adverse climate and lack of water, unique microclimates have helped turn out some of the lushest Pinot Noirs outside Burgundy!

    2008 CHARTERIS Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir
    Located as far south of the equator as you can grow grapes, Central Otago produces some truly stunning wines. Charteris grapes are harvested by hand and treated gently, with natural fermentation, minimal handling and no fining. Expect lush Pinot with an intense nose, rich palate and silky texture.

    Drink it with roast duck and a muscatel sauce!


    Wine Front Monthly - Mike Bennie

    One of the most difficult things as a wine writer is assessing wines made by your mates. PJ Charteris, AKA Brokenwood’s ship steerer and main man of plunging, racking and soothsaying, is a close friend. That being said, assessment should always be neutral as possible, hence why I choose blind tastings as my medium for judging wines. I was presented this wine recently; his wife Chrissie, also a great friend, handed me the sample with baby Sienna in arms in a hurried fashion to finally get to me this rarely seen wine. But, as per all wines possible, and assessed at my home, it was masked, lost amongst a run of Pinots and served blind to myself, and for good measure, to a group of friends who are wine pros and enthusiasts alike. It was one of the standouts amongst the bracket.

    Anyways, cross purposes alike, this wine warranted a comment here. The vineyard practice is judicious; PJ traipses across the Great Sheep Divide in regular intervals to ensure his carefully managed Bannockburn site is in good condition. The wine itself, well, it gives the classic Central Otago (nay Bannockburn) reek – ripe red cherry, earth clod, some savoury notes and a vibrant fruit pulse that serves the wine well. The palate plumps up – sure its ripe and full flavoured, like Otago has made its name, but the general feel is restraint, a more muted, pristine and finessed line that delivers more cherry, some vibrant/blocky black currant and an almost grainy tannin to bind the wine. I like its more tactile, slender line. I like its juicy yet delicate finish. I like the prettiness often missed in other Otago-for-Shiraz-drinkers Pinot veins; which this wine clearly is not. This is good Pinot Noir from a region that continues to show that small, judicious producers still hold court for lovers of wine.

    Hard to score as a mate, but to be fair, in blind circumstances, this is an excellent, sessionable drink with finesse and guile so I put my number down.

    93 POINTS