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What We Are Drinking This Week August 25th 2019

This week was a bit light on with wines for drinking rather than tasting, but over the weekend I decided to spoil myself with my last bottle of Charteris Wines 2013 Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir.

If you don't know PJ Charteris you might be familiar with his work. He was Chief Winemaker at Brokenwood for 10 years and remains Chairman of Judges at the Royal Sydney Wine Show. He would have to rate as my favourite Central Otago Winemaker.

About 10 years ago, he and wife Chrissi managed to find a plot of land on Felton Road Bannockburn in Central Otago (you don't get any more quintessential Central Otago than Felton Road - see picture above) and Charteris Wines was born. I was introduced through a mate of a mate and managed to snag a six pack of the first vintage.

I managed to eke it out over a few years, and I have to admit each year got better. I know PJ had been making wines for a long time but first wines are pretty special. 

Last year at Pinot Palooza I grabbed some of the 2013 Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir, it is a marvelous wine.

PJ Charteris Pouring at Pinot Palooza

Ironically or by design, the stand next to Charteris at Pinot Palooza was Akitu Pinot Noir for which PJ is also the winemaker.

Akitu is from the Wanaka district of Central Otago further north from Bannockburn, the owners managed the vineyard for ten years to ensure fruit quality before they got PJ to make the wine. The releases since have been magnificent.

But I digress...the Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir.

My only disappointment was that the bottle finished way too soon. And at six years old it was still a baby, if you happen to have any of the Charteris Winter Vienyard Pinot lying around the cellar, don't be afraid to leave it for a decade.

The nose was interesting, offering aromas of forest berries, briar, rhubarb, woodsmoke and something vaguely chocolaty.

But the palate blew my mind. Initially I tasted a really intense black cherry chocolate flavour and the flavour intensity was at the same level as say the oozing chocolate centre of a lava cake, but then as the wine opened this evolved into rhubarb, raspberries and cherries wrapped in a velvety blanket.

Make no mistake this is a powerful wine, the tannins create this wonderful structure that holds everything together and it goes on for days down the palate.

There is significantly more to this wine that I have missed. If you happen to find a bottle of Charteris Wines Winter Vineyard Pinot Noir, expect good things...PJ has not got it wrong yet.

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