2019 Winemaker of the Year finalist

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, making him a worthy finalist for Winemaker of the Year.

“Our grapes taste ready to pick, delicious in fact, but we won’t be making wine from them. They are stuffed from the smoke we endured during the #tasbushfires. Big thanks to industry friends who have reached out and ‘kept us in the game’ this year… Feel like a real farmer now.”

Jim Chatto posted on Instagram on 6 April 2019 with the heading ‘Moment of acceptance’. “Our grapes taste ready to pick, delicious in fact, but we won’t be making wine from them. They are stuffed from the smoke we endured during the #tasbushfires. Big thanks to industry friends who have reached out and ‘kept us in the game’ this year… Feel like a real farmer now.”

Like some others in Tasmania’s Huon Valley, Chatto made the hard decision to not make wine from his vineyards this vintage – although the grapes seemed fine – because the wine would almost certainly taste of bushfire smoke-taint. 

The strange thing about smoke taint is that the winemaker can’t always know for sure how smoky the wine will be till after it’s fermented. Harvesting grapes by hand costs a lot of money, and if the wine is no good, that money is wasted. It’s a sobering moment for a man who has enjoyed such a stellar career. 

He was concurrently chief winemaker for McWilliam’s and Pipers Brook, and is currently group chief winemaker at McWilliam’s, and consultant to Pipers Brook. Chatto had previously been chief winemaker for First Creek and Pepper Tree in the Hunter Valley before moving to McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant where he shook things up with spectacular results, helped in no small part by the great 2014 Hunter vintage, from which he produced a raft of special bottlings including single-block, old-vine shirazes. 

A seminal judging gig at the Tasmanian Wine Show in 1999 proved a watershed: he met and eventually married his Tasmanian wife Daisy, and tasted the Tassie pinot noirs that got him hooked on the island state. In 1999 and 2000 he worked vintages at Rosevears Estate in the West Tamar. Soon after, the couple bought land at Glaziers Bay, planted vines and eventually moved there full-time. 

“Jim Chatto is an inspirational winemaker who pays the bills consulting to large companies in diverse parts of Australia from the Hunter to Tasmania, while pursuing his dream to establish a tiny family vineyard making world-class pinot at chilly Glaziers Bay.”

Mike Bennie


Chatto is certainly learning what it means to be a farmer: in the 2017 vintage his vineyard produced just 40% of the crop it had in 2016. But the quality has been spectacular from the outset. 

In this issue’s Tasmanian pinot noir panel tasting, Chatto’s 2017 Isle was one of the top wines. Each year, the best part of the vineyard is bottled separately as Chatto Isle, while the remainder of the grapes, augmented by bought-in fruit, goes into a second label, Chatto Huon Valley Pinot Noir. This year he’s made pinot, but none from the Huon. 

So confident is Chatto of his wine’s quality that for the past three years he’s staged a trade tasting where he’s pitted his Isle against a leading Burgundy producer’s grand and premier cru wines. Three vintages are presented blind. At the most recent, Domaine Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin, Clos de la Roche and Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers were the combatants. In each of the three vintage brackets, the Chatto Isle came third, beating the premier cru.

The confidence to mount such a cheeky challenge comes from having an outstanding palate. Chatto is a senior wine show judge with over 20 years’ experience across regional and capital city shows. He’s currently chief judge at the Royal Queensland Wine Show.

In 2009 he was named Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year, and in 2010 (while at Pepper Tree) a GT WINE Winemaker of the Year finalist. He was also a Len Evans Tutorial Scholar in 2002.

Chatto is bullish about Tasmania, and content that he’s chosen the right area. He sees Huon Valley and Pipers Brook as the most marginal regions and best suited to pinot noir – while the East Coast and Tamar Valley are the earliest to pick and tend to make bigger, riper wines. That’s not what he seeks: Chatto is after perfume and subtlety, elegance and intensity at lower alcohol levels. 

He believes his wines are getting better, year by year, and it will be “awesome” to see what they’re like in the future, as the Isle vines are only 12 years old this year. “Tasmania’s best wines are still 10 years away. This will be a big step away from mainland Australia.” 

And summing up his own career, he says “I’ve spent a lot of time making wine all around the place for other people. Now I want to specialise.”  

HUON HOOKE

FACTS AND FIGURES

REGION  |  Huon Valley, Tasmania

YEARS IN INDUSTRY  |  26

ANNUAL CRUSH |  18 tonnes

STAND-OUT WINES  |  Chatto Isle Pinot Noir

Review 2017 Isle Pinot Noir

Huon Hooke, GT Wine Magazine

December/January 2019

An astonishing wine from vines just ten years old. It’s tremendously intense, powerful and long, with great fleshy texture and drive. Firm tannins add their stamp of authority. Vegetal, whole bushy notes have a hint of fragrant Italian herbs. A very exciting wine

98 Points

James Halliday, The Weekend Australian Magazine November 24-25 2018

Strange, then, that one of the best winemakers today, 46 year old Jim Chatto, has moved between the Hunter Valley and southern Tasmania since he began his distance education degree in wine science and applied for his first job at Mount Pleasant in 1994. He didn’t get the job, instead joining nearby Tamburlaine. in 1998 he obtained his degree and became winemaker in charge at Rosevears Estate in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, where I came face to face with the most talented associate wine judge I have ever met. After two years he moved back to the Hunter Valley and worked for First Creek Wines (2000-07), Pepper Tree Wines (2007-12), and then McWilliams as group winemaker.

The circle complete? Yes and no. In 2000 he and wife Daisy established their eponymous vineyard overlooking Glaziers Bay in Far South Tasmania. In August 2017, McWilliams and Kreglinger/Pipers Brook announced he had been appointed chief winemaker for both groups. While he and Daisy have long term plans for Chatto, Mount Pleasant is also dear to his heart. He has passed the baton to Adrian Sparks, having transformed the approach to the mosaic of its priceless vineyards.

2017 Isle Pinot Noir

A four-clone block, fermented with 33% whole bunches, matured for 11 months in used French puncheons. It has a striking power, layered and intense, the flavours embracing black cherry, plum and exotic spices, the tannins expertly poised throughout.

97 Points; to 2032

Review 2017 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

An eight-clone block, 15% whole bunches, 8 days cold soak, pressed to French puncheons (24% new) for completion of fermentation and maturation. Has the Chatto trademark perfume in the bouquet, and a long finely drawn palate. The fruit spectrum covers strawberries and a splash of blueberry.

James Halliday

James Halliday, The Weekend Australian Magazine November 24-25 2018

If you were asked to pick two regions that illustrated the vast differences and distances on the Australian viticultural map, the hot Hunter Valley in NSW and the cold Huon Valley of Tasmania would be obvious choices.

Tasmania was a conundrum. It was one of the first regions to make wine for commercial sale. in 1823 Bartholomew Broughton planted a vineyard near Hobart. But it proved all too difficult and it wasn’t until 1956 when French engineer Jean Miguet defied orthodoxy by establishing Provence (changed to Providence after his death) – Claudio Alcorso followed suit in 1958 with Moorilla Estate – that winemaking in Tasmania was revived.

Strange, then, that one of the best winemakers today, 46 year old Jim Chatto, has moved between the Hunter Valley and southern Tasmania since he began his distance education degree in wine science and applied for his first job at Mount Pleasant in 1994. He didn’t get the job, instead joining nearby Tamburlaine. in 1998 he obtained his degree and became winemaker in charge at Rosevears Estate in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, where I came face to face with the most talented associate wine judge I have ever met. After two years he moved back to the Hunter Valley and worked for First Creek Wines (2000-07), Pepper Tree Wines (2007-12), and then McWilliams as group winemaker.

The circle complete? Yes and no. In 2000 he and wife Daisy established their eponymous vineyard overlooking Glaziers Bay in Far South Tasmania. In August 2017, McWilliams and Kreglinger/Pipers Brook announced he had been appointed chief winemaker for both groups. While he and Daisy have long term plans for Chatto, Mount Pleasant is also dear to his heart. He has passed the baton to Adrian Sparks, having transformed the approach to the mosaic of its priceless vineyards.

2017 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

An eight-clone block, 15% whole bunches, 8 days cold soak, pressed to French puncheons (24% new) for completion of fermentation and maturation. Has the Chatto trademark perfume in the bouquet, and a long finely drawn palate. The fruit spectrum covers strawberries and a splash of blueberry.

95 Points; to 2027

Review 2016 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

”I’m just at the start of a long journey. I know that I’ll make better wines as I absorb the multitude of lessons and experience year on year. Even more, I know by the time my daughters are was old as I am now, they’ll be making better wines than those of today,”

Jim Chatto

James Halliday, The Weekend Australian Magazine September 23-24 2017

Jim Chatto has a razor sharp palate, a quicksilver mind and an outgoing personality. There are other winemakers in Australia with similar talents, but none has the X-factor of being able to turn the impossible internality, and keep everyone in the loop happy.

Chatto is now chief winemaker of McWilliam’s Wine Group and Kreglinger Wine Estates (Pipers Brook) and co-owner with his wife Daisy of his eponymous Tasmanian vineyard, which is as tiny (866 dozen) as McWilliams is large, with Pipers Brook in between at 70,000 dozen.

Time was when the large wineries would not tolerate any of their winemakers making wine on their own behalf, no matter how small. But chief winemaker for two major wine groups and his own family venture? It’s truly without precedent.

The other day Chatto launched the ’16 Chatto pinot noir, the Huon Valley White Label and the Isle Black Label, tossing yet more balls into the air. The four-course degustation lunch pitted Chatto (’13) and Chatto Isle (’14 and ’15) in a blind tasting against Grand Cru and Premier Cru burgundies of Mongeard-Mugneret.

He came away a happy yet humble man, saying:”I’m just at the start of a long journey. I know that I’ll make better wines as I absorb the multitude of lessons and experience year on year. Even more, I know by the time my daughters are was old as I am now, they’ll be making better wines than those of today,”

Chatto only has 1.5ha of vines, with two clones (777 and 115) on the best soil going to the estate based Isle Black Label. The other part has eight clones, supplemented by yet more in the form of very small amounts of contract-grown fruit for the White Label – including the Abel clone (5% of the total volume of this wine), which has Chatto buzzing with excitement. His children had better keep a close eye on the old man.

2016 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

The bouquet is still locked up, the palate anything but: intensely and immediately expressive, dark cherry/berry fruits held in an embrace of fine but persistent tannins and an airbrush of French oak. Its balance and length guarantee a long future, with spices bursting through.

97 Points; to 2030

The Winefront – Campbell Mattinson  28 July 2017.

2016 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

Chatto and his home vineyard down in the Deep South of Tasmania are killing it right now.

The wines being grown on this vineyard are remarkable. A long and storied history looks likely; we’re getting in on the ground floor. This adds a chalkiness to the foresty fruit, the warm spice, the florals here peppered with scrunched dry leaves. It matches presence to persistence; it places every step as firmly as it does carefully. Time will bring yet greater charm.

94 Points; to 2025+

Review 2016 Isle Pinot Noir

“There was a time when the large wineries would not tolerate any of their winemakers making wine on their own behalf, no matter how small. But chief winemaker for two major wine groups and his own family venture? It’s truly without precedent.”

-James Halliday

James Halliday, The Weekend Australian Magazine September 23-24 2017

Jim Chatto has a razor sharp palate, a quicksilver mind and an outgoing personality. There are other winemakers in Australia with similar talents, but none has the X-factor of being able to turn the impossible internality, and keep everyone in the loop happy.

Chatto is now chief winemaker of McWilliam’s Wine Group and Kreglinger Wine Estates (Pipers Brook) and co-owner with his wife Daisy of his eponymous Tasmanian vineyard, which is as tiny (866 dozen) as McWilliams is large, with Pipers Brook in between at 70,000 dozen.

There was a time was when the large wineries would not tolerate any of their winemakers making wine on their own behalf, no matter how small. But chief winemaker for two major wine groups and his own family venture? It’s truly without precedent.

The other day Chatto launched the ’16 Chatto pinot noir, the Huon Valley White Label and the Isle Black Label, tossing yet more balls into the air. The four-course degustation lunch pitted Chatto (’13) and Chatto Isle (’14 and ’15) in a blind tasting against Grand Cru and Premier Cru burgundies of Mongeard-Mugneret.

He came away a happy yet humble man, saying:”I’m just at the start of a long journey. I know that I’ll make better wines as I absorb the multitude of lessons and experience year on year. Even more, I know by the time my daughters are was old as I am now, they’ll be making better wines than those of today,”

Chatto only has 1.5ha of vines, with two clones (777 and 115) on the best soil going to the estate based Isle Black Label. The other part has eight clones, supplemented by yet more in the form of very small amounts of contract-grown fruit for the White Label – including the Abel clone (5% of the total volume of this wine), which has Chatto buzzing with excitement. His children had better keep a close eye on the old man.

Review 2016 Isle Pinot Noir

Cherry and plum both contribute to the bouquet. The palate is altogether serious, with a remarkable mouthful built around the foundation of precisely calibrated tannins and hints of forest. Great purity and intensity.

98 Points; to 2031

HuonHooke.com – Huon Hooke 4 September 2017

2016 Isle Pinot Noir

A lightly smoky aroma with black and red cherry nuances beneath. The texture is silky soft and gentle, beautifully balanced. There is sweet fruit in the middle and a delicate but intense and quite firm structure. Plenty of supple, ripe tannins. The balance and texture are what distinguish it. It’s not especially concentrated but certainly a lovely pinot. Like the white label, I suspect it will grow in stature with a little time in bottle. (Jim Chatto rates 2016 his best Tasmanian vintage to date.)

95 Points; to 2022

The Winefront – Campbell Mattinson  28 July 2017.

It’s best drinking years are some ways off but there’s no need for guesswork: everything is clearly laid out and arranged; tasting it now is like observing the mis en place of a master.

-Campbell Mattinson

2016 Isle Pinot Noir

This is the famous Chatto Black Label Pinot Noir, for your eyes only, or Isle Vineyard by it more formal name. It’s in a standard 750ml bottle, of course, stated as 0.75L: so euro. The back label says that its from “a tiny vineyard in far south Tasmania”. It then has the tagline “making serious pinot fun”, which I reckon they could lose, especially given that these Chatto wines are fast becoming established in the very top tier of Australian wine. This will be released on August 1. Expect a stampede.

If this doesn’t mature into a super, super wine then I’m a monkey’s uncle. It’s seriously good gear, built to age. It’s strung tight, it’s spokes of tannin spinning through dry liquorice, sour cherry, musk, crushed dry spices and herbs, it’s ripeness served cool but complete. Sweetness and savouriness share the melting pot. Nothing is mushy and yet everything is in it’s rightful place. It’s best drinking years are some ways off but there’s no need for guesswork: everything is clearly laid out and arranged; tasting it now is like observing the mis en place of a master.

Review 2015 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

This has Chatto Pinot Noir written all over it. I tasted this blind and it stood out, in a good way. It’s dry, savoury and reductive with strings of woody herbs. Beautiful flow. Tension plus. Sweet almost-stewy fruits provide a rush of flavour. It combines elegance and prettiness to form charisma. Lovely.

Campbell Mattinson

*Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront 17 August 2016

There are a small band of newish wine producers in Australia who are quietly establishing must-be-on mailer lists. Wineries like Wendouree and Rockford have long held this status but wineries like Clonakilla (not so new), Serrat, Marius and Chatto (among others) are worth getting on, lest you’ll miss out. Chatto’s 2015 pinot noirs have just become available but already there’s not much left of them; indeed the Isle is largely sold out.
This has Chatto Pinot Noir written all over it. I tasted this blind and it stood out, in a good way. It’s dry, savoury and reductive with strings of woody herbs. Beautiful flow. Tension plus. Sweet almost-stewy fruits provide a rush of flavour. It combines elegance and prettiness to form charisma. Lovely.

93+ Points; to 2024

*Huon Hooke, huonhooke.com 8 July 2016

Medium-full red-purple hue; sweetly fragrant herbal aromas, balsamic, minty. Masses of gorgeous fruit to sniff and taste. Intense, fine, slim and lively in the mouth, but just a trifle bony and disjointed and needs more time. Excellent fruit and aromatics. I feel sure it will deliver with a little more time in bottle.

92 Points; to 2027

*James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2017 ed.

Eight clones, hand picked and sorted, 25% destemmed whole berries. 8 days cold soak, wild open ferment, 15 days on skins, pressed to French oak (24% new) at 1◦ baume for 10 months maturation. Intensely aromatic and flavoured, small red fruits a silken web also catching precisely balanced spices, fine tannins and wholly intergratedoak. A very high quality wine from its bouquet through to the finish, never wavering.

96 Points; to 2028

Review 2015 Isle Pinot Noir

2015 Isle Pinot Noir reviews

Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine April/May 2017 ed. pp52-53

Extract from article titled ‘Worth the Wait’ by Nick Stock

“It has poise and grace; drink now with plenty of airing but better from 2018 to 2025.”

Nick Stock

This pet project of winemaker Jim Chatto and wife Daisy is up and running and the recently released 2015 vintage wines are another step in terms of momentum. The wines are growing in stature as the vineyard beds itself in and the vines get established. The winemaking approach is thoroughly modern and assertive, a formwork that these wines will grow into over time.

The 2015 Chatto Pinot Noir (A$50) is a tight-wound, modern pinot that has a meaty, reductive edge on first opening. Aromas of charcuterie and toasty oak give way to cinnamon-dusted dark cherry as it unfurls into a complex young pinot with musky, violet-like florals. The palate is built around a central core of neatly woven tannins that guard bright red cherry, holding pure into a gently grainy finish. It has poise and grace; drink now with plenty of airing but better from 2018 to 2025.

The 2015 Chatto Isle Pinot (A$75) is darker in the glass than the regular Chatto pinot and it has a deeper, more resolved nose with dark cherry, plenty of fine baking spices and a gentle peppery edge. The mocha-scented oak has been better subsumed by more assertive pinot fruits. The palate is texturally entrancing, the classic iron-fist-in-velvet-glove style of pinot with sinewy tannins wrapped in plush, bright red and dark cherry flavours rolling up and out of the exhilarating finish. Drink now to 2025 and beyond.

Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront 17 August 2016

“I’m a firm believer that great sites makes old vines, and old vines make great wines, but the great site comes first. Young vines on a great site can still produce wonderful wines.”

Campbell Mattinson

I listened to Jim Chatto speak on his wines recently and while I was busy tasting through an array of beautiful wines – including all the Chatto pinot noirs so-far released – I jotted down a couple of quotes. These included:

“As time goes on I’m going for gentler and gentler oak.”
“I’m a firm believer that great sites makes old vines, and old vines make great wines, but the great site comes first. Young vines on a great site can still produce wonderful wines.”
“Our Isle pinot is the wine I want to drink. The white label is no less in quality, it’s just made to be safer.”

This is the Chatto Isle Pinot Noir. I don’t think it sees any new oak; could be wrong. This is the second year where both a black label (Isle) and white label (“standard”) Chatto pinot have been produced.
It’s another fantastic release too. It’s absolute cracking. It was served amid a bevy of Burgundy beauties and yet I kept just wanting to come back to this. Cranberries, roses, herbs, five-spices, woodsmoke. Opens exotic and keeps the show going. Length. Juice. Layers of tannin. Kick to the finish. Complete pinot noir. It knows what it wants to be, and eschews distraction. Beautiful.

96 Points; to 2026

*Huon Hooke, huonhooke.com 8 August 2016

This wine has similar aromatics to the Huon Valley label, but with greater intensity, power and penetration. An amazingly powerful bouquet of fragrant herbs, balsamic and distinctive. The concentrated fruit is sweet and luscious, primary and powerful. It’s incredibly long and decadent. Amazing flavour and amplitude; even more opulent than the 2014. (one-third whole bunches; no new oak)

97 Points; to 2030

*James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2017 ed.

Dijon clones 777 (75%) and 115 (25%), hand-picked and sorted, 25% destemmed whole berries, 8 days cold soak, open-fermented, 15 days on skins, pressed to French oak (35% new) at 1˚ baume for 10 months maturation. Deeper colour than their standard Pinot, the bouquet and palate follow suit with darker fruits led by plums, the texture and structure still with the outstanding mouthfeel, balance and length. Tasted in the same month as it was bottled, which makes it unbelievably harmonious, its line and length flawless.

97 Points;  to 2030

Review 2014 Isle Pinot Noir

Its tiny production – only 50 or so dozen I believe – could easily define it. Instead, its quality does.

Campbell Mattinson

*Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront 31 July 2015

Its tiny production – only 50 or so dozen I believe – could easily define it. Instead, its quality does.

It lingers for longer. I could go on about cherry this and sourness that, about the interplay between peppers and smoked woody spices – but who could be bothered when the entire thrill of quality here revolves around the wine’s unmissably long, reedy finish? With each sip, the persistence of flavour allows enough time yet for a hundred indecisions, and a hundred visions and revisions – to borrow from J. Alfred Prufrock – before finally slipping away into a past we are desperate to immediately revisit. Call it a poetic wine. Or a sensation. It matters not a great deal anyway.

97 Points; 2016-2030

*James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2016 ed.

The first release of 50 dozen, 60 magnums from the best part of the estate. Clones 777, 115 and 8048, matured for 11 months in 1yo French oak. Bright, full purple-crimson, this is a world apart from the varietal Pinot Noir, more powerful, complex and deep, black cherry and plum driving the palate. Will develop superbly.

96 Points; to 2029

*Huon Hooke, huonhooke.com July 2015

Ranked #3 of 67 2014 Pinot Noir tasted from Australia

Deep, vivid, young purple/red colour. Slightly smoky reductive or toasty oak aromas (or a combination) dominate somewhat at this point. Some burnt tobacco notes. The palate is soft and fleshy, smooth and attractively textured, although toasty oak is playing a big role here. Good length and it really satisfies. It has great structure for aging. So much for Tassie pinot being too fruit-bomby! It’s ready already, however.

95 Points;  2016-2030

Review 2014 Huon Valley Pinot Noir

It billows with favour and yet it feels taut throughout; like a spinnaker. In short, its a ripper.

Campbell Mattinson

*Philip Rich, The Australian Financial Review Magazine – December ed.

Best wines 2015 – Top 20 –  Chatto Huon Valley Pinot Noir 2014

It’s an exciting time for Tasmanian pinot. Jim Chatto, whose day job is chief winemaker at McWilliams in the Hunter Valley, planted his own small 1.5-hectare vineyard in the Huon Valley, South of Hobart, in 2007. Early results suggest the future couldn’t be more promising. Made using a blend of seven clones cropped at a low 5 hectolitres per hectare, this pinot has gorgeous aromas of red fruits, spice and dried herbs. Its medium bodied palate is vibrant, crunchy and long.

*Huon Hooke, huonhooke.com July 2015

Medium to deep, bright red/purple colour, with an intense, expressive aroma of blueberry and raspberry, with an overtone of sulfide. It’s intense and refined in the mouth, a deliciously light-bodied but intense fruit-driven pinot of charm and finesse. Real fruit purity and length, with just the right amount of tannin to provide structure which is persuasive but subtle. The sulfide blows off fairly quickly. A gorgeous, aerial, fragrant pinot.

97 Points; to 2029

*James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2016 ed.

The third release….Bright crimson-purple; fragrant cherry and plum blossom aromas foretell a beautifully sculpted, long and fine palate, the fruit having eaten the oak, the tannins a fine filigree.

95 Points; to 2024

* Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront 31 July 2015

Talking of stars of Australian wine: Chatto Wines out of a tiny vineyard in southern Tasmania has to be right up there.

The wine impresses; easily, fluidly, its touch velvety, its heart strong. It’s firm and smoky, reductive and yet beautifully fruited, its notes of herb-strewn cherries touched in equal measure by sourness, smokiness and savouriness. It billows with favour and yet it feels taut throughout; like a spinnaker. In short, its a ripper.

95 Points; 2015-2025

* Max Allen, Weekend Australian September 26-7 2015

Very pretty pinot with bright strawberry and raspberry fruit underscored by savoury flavours of wood smoke and damp humus.

Review 2013 Chatto Pinot Noir

2013 Reviews

* Nick Stock, Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine Oct/Nov 2014

It’s a complex, layered and youthful pinot that has plenty of modern reductive meaty character on the nose, clear and toasty oak, darker spices and a wealth of red and dark cherry fruit strapped in below. There’s gentle herbal notes here, too. The palate has clarity and brightness, acidity is a feature, framed in layers of supple yet muscular flesh and ripe, long tannins. But the real joy here is the space created in this wine. It’s very complex with plenty going on, bunt nothing lost in the mix. It speaks of an experienced winemaker who understands the essence of great pinot noir.

* Huon Hooke, huonhooke.com August 2014

Ranked #1 of 23 2013 Pinot Noir tasted from Tasmania

Bright, medium to full red/purple colour, and a meaty, smoky oak bouquet. The wine is bold and fairly straightforward, primary and youthful at this stage, with deliciously bright, deep, cherry fruit flavour dominating the palate. It’s still a baby and will be better in a year or two. It also may respond to decanting. It’s a little oaky right now and improves with airing in the glass.

93 Points; 2016-2022 

* James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2015 ed.

***** Winery rating

Has the Dijon clones 777, 114 and 115, and MV6; around 25% whole bunches, an 8 day cold soak, wild yeast fermentation; after 15 days on skins pressed to French puncheons (30% new), the final stages of fermentation completed in barrel, where it remained 11 months. The perfect colour (hue and clarity) is a clue to the bouquet, with bright red fruits to stem and forest notes, the palate is picking up those markers and translating them into a perfectly proportioned and balanced wine; while the primary accent is on varietal fruit there is both a flavour and textural play from the fermentation methods and the oak, together providing silky tannins. 333 dozen made. Screwcap. 13.5% alc.

96 Points; 2014-2023  

* Jeremy Pringle, Freelance, July 28 2014

A different expression of the Huon Valley’s Isle Vineyard and one which tops Jim Chatto’s previous release in my opinion.

More body and intensity while leaning further into the savoury, wild spectrum. Exhibits a great deal of complexity. Deep cherry and redcurrant fruits, sarsaparilla root, orange peel and tea-leaf. Some darker briary notes. It’s a substantial Pinot yet agile through its line. Girdled with tannin too, far more so than its predecessor. Stalky, herbal tweaks on a distinguished finish. Impressive with the architecture and balance to see it stand the test of time.

95+ Points