Tag Archives: Jim Chatto

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New Tastings: Pinot noir

Expect to hear relentless debates for the next year or so over which is the greater vintage for southern Victorian pinot noir: 2012 or 2013? The ‘12s are a wonderful crop of pinots, for sure, and the top cuvées from all leading producers are now

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McWilliam’s winemaking coup

McWilliam’s Wines (tastings) has landed a coup, employing Jim Chatto as chief winemaker. Chatto is one of Australia’s best winemakers and finest palates. He will be based at the family-owned company’s Hunter Valley winery, Mount Pleasant (tastings). He becomes only the fourth chief winemaker at Mount Pleasant since

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Geologist John Davis of Pepper Tree

I’m not the only person who has long believed that the red soil in many of the best vineyards of the Hunter Valley was volcanic in origin. It’s enshrined in all of the reference books and taught in schools. Now, I know better. It is in fact terra rossa, derived from underlying limestone – similar to the famous soils of Coonawarra. A marine soil, not volcanic. “Close your eyes and open them again and you’d swear you were in Coonawarra,” says John Davis, owner of Pepper Tree winery. In fact there is plenty of limestone in the Hunter Valley, says Davis, and he can prove it by taking you for a quick tour of his Tallavera Grove vineyard, in the Hunter’s picturesque Mount View sub-region.

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Hunter Valley our most idiosyncratic region

The Hunter Valley is one of our most idiosyncratic wine regions, for many reasons, not least its climate – which doggedly follows its own pattern, different from any other Australian region. Its wine styles are also highly distinctive – in the case of dry white semillon arguably unique; in the case of its other great wine, shiraz, also a style that’s quite different to most other regions.