Charteris Central Otago Pinot Noir 2018
Charteris’ Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir has had an incredibly consistent run of high quality releases. CAMPBELL MATTINSON, The Wine Front
River. Winemaker PJ Charteris has unruly hair, but his wines are beautifully turned out. GARY WALSH
PJ is running a consultancy ‘sans frontières’ (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 its surname, denying the bombastic notes that afflict many Central Otago Pinots. JAMES HALLIDAY
PJ Charteris. The man. The myth. The legend. I think everyone in the trade knows the man or at least knows of him. Perhaps though he may not be as well known to some consumers. A little resume might help contextualise this for those that don’t know him, though his star has certainly risen with incredible speed with regards to his NZ winery, Charteris in Otago.
He has worked around the traps in Oz at some of our more prestigious wine businesses before settling in as Chief Winemaker at Brokenwood (one of Australia’s most highly regarded winemaking positions). He is also an accomplished judge and hugely respected wine communicator.
While he may have built his huge reputation here he is an import from across the ditch and that is where he chose to settle back down and begin his family business with this eponymous label. He acquired established vineyards and immediately began to craft Pinot that was obviously going to break the mould in Otago. His first release, and every bottling since, have shown a degree of elegance and finesse rarely seen in the region. They are wines nuance and detail with silken profiles and a wonderfully airy nature. No escaping their origins but PJ encourages a little more liveliness and buoyancy in his wines without losing structure.
This release has a really lovely primary feel and perfume about it. Gorgeous wine. Crazy to think that a man who made his name on the back of Aussie Shiraz is now producing some of the most elegant Pinot in Otago. I think that speaks volumes to the talent of the intellect behind the label and his understanding of wine as a whole.
In recent years PJ and Christina’s (the other half of this remarkable team) wines have garnered a loyal and somewhat rabid following. His releases are gobbled up quickly and usually sell out quickly after release. The hype around his wines is justified, they are a new benchmark in the region for style and class. The 2018 is another sensational release from the estate and considering its only $38 a bottle in a straight six pack that makes it, in my mind, the best value Pinot in Otago by some distance.