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Featured Reviews




Valli Otago 2017 – 2015 Whites and 2016 Pinot Noirs

20 November,2017

Valli Vineyards was my ‘Winery of the Year’ in 2016. Grant Taylor has crafted superb Central Otago Pinot Noirs for some of the leading labels in the district for over 20 years, and his Otago regional bottlings under his own Valli Vineyards brand since 1998. In doing so, he has demonstrated his intimate knowledge of Otago’s sub regions, including the relatively new Waitaki North Otago area, which he staunchly champions. His wines also show his deep understanding of the Pinot Noir grape and how it performs in Otago. The Valli style of Pinot Noir not only captures sub-regional expression, but has a house style of multi-faceted complexity. However, it is not just Pinot Noir that Valli Vineyards excels in, but also Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and especially Riesling. Grant’s bottlings of these varieties also reflect his passion for making great wine, full stop. At the beginning of 2015, the very talented and experienced Jen Parr joined Grant at Valli Vineyards. On my visit to the Valli winery in Cromwell earlier in March, I could see how Grant and Jen complemented each other in their outlook on making wine. I can say they make an incredibly formidable team, and this augurs very well for the future. Here, I review three white wines, ranging from 2017 to 2015, and the four sub-region Otago Pinot Noirs from the warm 2016 season. The white wines are excellent, and the Pinot Noirs are exceptional. www.valliwine.com

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Valli Waitaki North Otago Riesling 2017

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago

18.5+/20

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, pale on the rim. The nose is very fresh and taut, with tightly bound aromas of lime fruit with white florals, honied nuances and a little musky talc, unfolding mineral notes. The aromatics are soft and refined, but refreshingly vibrant and clear in presentation. Off-dry to taste and light=bodied, this has a taut, tightly concentrated core of white florals and lime fruit, along with nuances of honey and steely minerals. The mouthfeel is brisk and near-racy, with crisp, steely acidity. The wine flows along a fine-textured line of fruit extract and delicate phenolics, carrying to a dry, lingering finish of lime, florals, honey and minerals. Thisd is a taut, concentrated dryish Riesling with vibrant lime, floral, honey and mineral flavours. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 5-6+ years. Waitaki Valley fruit, vines planted 2007, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 9.5% alc. and 25 g/L RS, TA 9.82 g/L and pH 2.91. 90 dozen made. 18.5+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $30.00

Valli ‘Gibbston Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago

18.5/20

Brilliant light straw colour, paler on the rim. The nose is elegantly concentrated with a fine core of white and yellow stonefruits, lifted white florals and hints of exotic honeysuckle elements, unveiling a minerally edge, This has purity and fine intensity, Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright, lively and fresh fruit flavours of white stonefruits, white and yellow florals, nuances of honeysuckle and minerals. The mouthfeel is finely textured with delicate phenolic grip, and the acidity is balanced and refreshing. The wine carries to a long, sustained and concentrated finish of stonefruits and minerals. This is a taut, bright and lively dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit, floral, honeysuckle and mineral flavours on a fine-textured palate. Serve with Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine over the next 4+ years. Fruit from the estate ‘Gibbston’ vineyard, vines planted 2001, fermented to 13.0% alc. and 4.4 g/L RS. 530 dozen made. 18.5/20 Nov 2017 RRP $30.00

Valli Waitaki North Otago Late Harvest Riesling 2015

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Otago

18.5-/20

Bright lemon-gold hued yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full and voluminous with complex aromas of citrus fruit harmoniously melded with notes of honey, musk and toast, along with minerally elements. Sweet to taste and light-bodied, the palate has piquant and penetrating flavours of citrus fruits, honey and musk, with complexing secondary toastiness. The mouthfeel is soft with some unctuousness, and smooth-flowing with delicate textures and crisp, underlying acidity. The wine flows with good energy and carries smoothly to a soft, honied finish with florals, musk and toast. This is as gently rich, sweet Riesling with citrus fruits, honey, and floral flavours, nuanced by complexing musky botrytis and a layer of secondary toastiness. Match with mildly spicy Asian and Middle Eastern fare, and with fruit desserts over the next 4+ years. Fruit from the Waitaki Valley with botrytis, vines planted 2007, WBP and fermented to 9.1% alc. and 85 g/L RS, TA 10.4g /L and pH 3.15. 198 dozen made. 18.5-/20 Nov 2017 RRP $45.00

Brilliant, very pale straw colour, near colourless. The nose is very soft and gentle with honey and talc from botrytis along with lime and lemon fruit. This unfolds minerals and hints of toasty complexity. Very sweet to taste, the palate is very fine and tightly bound, but is lusciously rich, with honey, apple, lime and mineral flavours. A little phenolic grip carries the palate, with crisp acidity adding to the linearity. Some honey, toast and talc botrytis shows on the finish. 9% alc. and 85 g/L RS. 18.5-/20 Aug 2017 RRP $N/A

Valli ‘Gibbston Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

19.5+/20

Dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. This has a softly full and well-concentrated and packed nose of ripe dark-red berried fruits harmoniously entwined with a layering of dark herbs and soft whole bunch stalk perfumes and a touch of undergrowth. The aromatics possess savoury earthy complexities, and the nose is quite complete in expression. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and lusciously vibrant fruit flavours of ripe, dark-red berries harmoniously melded with a layering of dark herbs entwined with savoury whole bunch stalk flavours and hints of undergrowth. Nuances of dark-red florals and minerals add to the complexity. The mouthfeel has fresh acid vitality with fine, grainy textures and tannin structure providing plenty of presence. The fruit sweetness carries the wine to a very long, lingering finish of savoury dark fruits and herbs. This is a rich, lusciously vibrant Pinot Noir with deeply concentrated flavours of dark-red berry fruits, dark herbs, whole bunch complexities on a well-structured palate. The wine is complete in expression. Match with slow-cooked game meat and casseroles over the next 8-10+ Years. Clones 5, 6, 115, 113, 114 and 777, from the estate ‘Gibbston’ vineyard, vines planted in 2000, fermented with 30% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 28 days on skins and aged 11 months in 28% new French oak. 1, 250 dozen made. 19.5+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $69.00

Valli ‘Bannockburn Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

19-/20

Even ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter edged. The nose is elegant with fragrant and ethereal aromas of dark-red berry fruits. The aromatics build in richness, intensity and depth, showing dark herb nuances and subtle whole bunch stalk elements. The aromatics are softly packed and combine savoury complexities with floral perfumes, unfolding nutty and slightly cedary oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and broad, and gently mouthfilling with flavours of sweetly ripe dark-red berry fruit along with an amalgam of dark herbs, soft whole bunch stalk notes, and nutty, lifted oak with cedar suggestions. The fruit sweetness is enhanced by lacy acidity and underlined by fine-grained powdery tannin extraction. This has a serious structure and the wine flows with a lovely balance of fruit richness and grip to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a gently rich, mouthfilling Pinot Noir with sweet, dark-red berry fruit, subtle herb and whole bunch detail, and sweet, nutty, cedary oak on a fine-grained palate. Match with wild duck and pork over the next 7-9+ years. Clones 117, 777, 113, 10/5 and 13 from Bannockburn, vines planted in 2000, fermented with 34% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 27 days on skins and aged 11 months in 31% new French oak. 650 dozen made. 19.0-/20 Nov 2017 RRP $69.00

Valli ‘Waitaki Vineyard’ North Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

19.5-/20

Moderately dark ruby-red with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is fragrant and perfumed with high-toned red florals and dark-red cherry and berry fruit, with piquant dark herbs and nuances of whole bunch stalk elements. This is beautifully intense and fine in penetration. Medium to medium-full bodied, the fruit is vibrantly rich and sweet, with dark-red cherry and berry flavours and subtle notes of dark herbs and an array of red and violet florals. The mouthfeel is refined, possessing excellent freshness and vitality, with fresh acidity and very fine-grained tannin extraction. The wine flows with very good energy leading to a long, sustained aromatic finish of cherries and berries with fragrant florals. This is a beautifully elegant Pinot Noir built on dark-red cherry and berry fruit with fragrant aromatics and subtle herb and whole bunch nuances on a refined palate. Match with poultry dishes over the next 7-8+ years. Clone 5 and 115 from the Waitaki Valley, vines planted in 2001, fermented with 20% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 22 days on skins and aged 11 months in 29% new French oak. 630 dozen made. 19.5-/20 Nov 2017 RRP $69.00

Valli ‘Bendigo Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

19+/20

Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red, a little lighter on the edge, very youthful in appearance. The nose is firmly packed with deep and dense, tightly concentrated black berried fruits along with notes of liquorice, plum and spice, with nuances of dark herbs and whole bunch suggestions. The nose unfolds layered complexities. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a deeply concentrated and densely packed core of ripe dark-red and black berried fruits with nuances of black plums and liquorice, along with subtle notes of herbs and whole bunch elements, revealing mineral nuances. The palate has considerable extraction with fine-grained, flowery tannins and integrated, ripe acidity. The structure carries the wine to a fine, firm, dry-textured finish. This is a firm and densely packed, black-fruited Pinot Noir with liquorice notes and subtle herb, stalk and mineral complexities on a well-structured palate with flowery tannins. Match with roasted beef, lamb and venison, and semi-hard cheeses over the next 8-10 years. Clones 667, 777, 115, Abel and 5, from Chinaman’s Terrace, Bendigo, vines planted in 2006, fermented with 40% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 30 days on skins and aged 11.5 months in 31% new French oak. 497 dozen made. 19.0+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $69.00

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