Food and beverage stories
Kreglinger on Chatto worklist
Nationally respected wine-maker and judge Jim Chatto has strengthened his Tasmanian presence, taking on the role of Chief Winemaker for Kreglinger Wine Estates at Pipers Brook.
Mr Chatto is continuing in the same role for the McWilliam’s Wines Group, based in Scoresby, Victoria, and will also continue to make his own wines from his small Tasmanian vineyard at Glaziers Bay in the Huon Valley.
With his wife Daisy, he co-owns the Isle vineyard which produces fewer than 900 dozen bottles a year (Pipers Brook churns out 70,000 dozen and the McWilliam’s group many times more).
Wine critic James Halliday wrote in The Australian: “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.”
Mr Chatto, who has been making wine for 20 years, is also a senior wine show judge with over 18 years’ experience across both regional and capital city shows.
He is Chairman of Judges for the National Wine Show of Australia.
Mr Chatto moved to Tasmania as the inaugural winemaker for Rosevears Estate in the Tamar Valley in 1988. He fell in love with Tasmanian pinot noir; and with a Tasmanian woman.
The couple left the State for the Hunter Valley in 2000, but kept their link with Tasmania and pinot noir when they launched a Chatto label and used Tasmanian fruit in early offerings.
“We then spent the next six years searching for the perfect vineyard site,” Mr Chatto said.
Isle Vineyard is sunny and well-drained, but it is in an undeniably cool region. “Right on the edge of viticultural possibility,” Mr Chatto said.
They began planting in 2007 and the first vintage (2012) was released in 2013.
“In 2014 the fruit quality from pockets of the vineyard saw the introduction of the single vineyard Isle label,” the winemaker said.
The Chattos’ 2016 wines, their fifth vintage, were released in August.
“Pinot is my wine passion, it’s what I have chosen to specialise in, and what better place than Tasmania,” Mr Chatto said.
“Tasmanian wine needs its best-known brands to be a national and international success. My goal at Pipers Brook is just that.”
In his dual corporate roles, Mr Chatto will provide stylistic direction, blending and strategic guidance to develop and mentor winemakers from both companies to produce wines with regional quality and integrity.
“Jim Chatto has a razor-sharp palate, a quicksilver mind and an outgoing personality,” Halliday wrote.
“There are other winemakers in Australia with similar talents, but none has the X-factor of being able to turn the impossible into reality, and keep everyone in the loop happy.”
Halliday penned his expert opinion on the two Chatto wines released in August:
2016 Chatto White Label 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. 13.5% alc, screwcap
97 points, drink to 2030, $50
2016 Chatto Isle Black Label Huon Valley Pinot Noir
Cherry and plum both contribute to the bouquet. The palate is altogether serious, with a remarkable mouthfeel built around the foundation of precisely calibrated tannins and hints of forest. Great purity and intensity. 13.5% alc, screwcap
98 points, drink to 2031, $75
Image courtesy of Jim Chatto
5 November 2017