Chatto 2019 New Release


The confidence to go out on his own has paid off for Jim Chatto, the quality of his Chatto Wines has been spectacular from the outset… HUON HOOKE

Jim Chatto is recognised as having one of the very best palates in Australia, and has proved to be an outstanding winemaker. He and wife Daisy long wanted to get a small Tasmanian pinot business up and running, but having moved to the Hunter Valley in 2000, it took six years to find a site that satisfied all of the criteria Jim considers ideal. It is a warm, well drained site in one of the coolest parts of Tasmania, looking out over Glaziers Bay. So far they have planted eight clones of pinot noir, with a spacing of 5000 vines per ha. This will be a busman’s holiday for some years to come following Jim’s appointment as chief winemaker for Mount Pleasant and Pipers Brook. JAMES HALLIDAY

Putting aside the primary thrust of this email, which is Jim Chatto is great and you should not hesitate to buy wine crafted from his very gifted hands. Particularly his set of excellent 2019 Tasmanian Pinot Noirs. A couple of epiphanies rose up out of putting this offer together.

One, the current quality of Australian Pinot Noir is exemplary, the industry has progressed to a point where, we have maturing vines, knowledgeable peers and an ever growing understanding of our wine growing regions. This is no mean feat given the gauntlet that Burgundy threw down centuries ago. This evolution continues at a rapid pace, meaning the future in this vinous space is very bright indeed.

Second would be the way this sector of our winemaking community interacts. There is a certain amount of generosity that goes around, whether it be the sharing of knowledge or in times of need, supporting others with quality sources of fruit to work with. There is only a finite amount of good Pinot Noir sources around and with an unquenchable thirst for Pinot around, sharing is not necessarily needed. The latter I believe is a key reason behind the rapid ascension in the former.

The 2019 Chatto releases embody these aspects of our industry. This vintages suite of wines is made exclusively from external fruit sources and from the other side of Tasmania from where Jim, his wife Daisy and their home vineyard sit. This was due to bushfires that rendered their own fruit smoke tainted and unusable. Given the Chatto’s relationships and history with the wine community they were able to work with mature vine Pinot Noirs from vignerons in Tasmania’s north, well away from the fires!. The Tasmania blend is composed from two vineyards in the West Tamar (one of which is the Marions Vineyard site, first planted in 1979) and a 15 year old site (the Bird Vineyard) which is located in Pipers River. It probably goes without saying that the Bird & Marion’s cuvée’s are single vineyard wines from the same vineyards that help make up the blended cuvée.

These wines have not missed a beat and sit perfectly in the Chatto stable of wines. Jim Chatto’s ability to interpret site with beautiful clarity is evidenced in his work with Tasmanian Pinot Noir and cemented with his work in the hot and humid Hunter Valley as Chief Winemaker to McWilliams. For those who may not know, Jim’s work at McWilliams was instrumental in restoring the Mount Pleasant wines back to their former glory. But I digress.

Usually Jim Chatto’s Pinot Noirs would be under strict allocation, but given turbulent times we’re working in, we have the opportunity to secure some more. Having said this, timing is the key to avoid disappointment, please be quick as the wines are sold on a first come, first serve basis