Perfect score for Valli Pinot Noir


If you are a New Zealand Pinot Noir fan, you would have heard of Valli Wines, founded by Grant Taylor in 1998 and produced for 25 years under the label, focusing on sub-regional Pinot Noir expressions but also Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The very talented winemaker Jen Parr joined the team in 2015 and made an incredible team complementing Grant's skills. They continue producing regional-specific expressions of wines that win wine lovers all over the globe.

Since I've been in Queenstown since 2009, working in fine hospitality venues, I have had the privilege to taste all the Valli sub-regional Pinot Noirs side by side every year. First, Gibbston vineyard, Waitaki vineyard and Bannockburn vineyard, then Bendigo vineyard followed in the 2010 vintage, benchmarking sub-regional Pinot Noir expressions.

I'm mostly biased towards Gibbston Vineyard because I have been a small part of the harvest team for over ten years. The experience gave me great insight into the vintage condition over the growing season, vineyard management, and sorting leads to yielding and the final fruit quality. But, Gibbston 2021 isn't the 20/20 points. Which one is it?

Valli Waitaki Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021 took my breath away! This Pinot Noir's fruit came from Grant's Road in Waitaki, on a plateau 200m above sea level, with limestone-based soil spread through river gravels. I could smell this wine from afar, with its typical hauntingly beautiful notes of floral, red fruit, earthy and herb details. The concentration and length strike a perfect harmony and a moment of immense enjoyment and admiration that I had to give it 20 out of 20 points.

Gibbston Vineyard is harmonious and complex; the low yielded crop of just 2.5 tonnes/ hectare showings its concentration and delicate aromas, and this wine will age very well. Only 667 dozen produced compared to 1,149 dozen in the previous vintage, a 42% drop. Bannockburn and Bendigo possess their typicity of enticing bouquet, structure, complexity and persistence. An exceptional vintage overall.




  • Valli Waitaki Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021, North Otago
  • Valli Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021, Central Otago
  • Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021, Central Otago
  • Valli Bendigo Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021, Central Otago
  • Valli Waitaki Vineyard Pinot Gris 2022, North Otago

Latest wine reviews, news, events and more. 🍷
We respect your privacy.