Valli 2018 Waitaki Riesling, 2017 Pinot Gris and 2017 Regional Pinot Noirs


Grant Taylor’s Valli Vineyards wines have always figured high in my estimation. The regionally expressive Pinot Noirs in particular have demonstrated Grant’s intimate knowledge of the Pinot Noir variety, its performance in different sites and sub-regions of Otago, and the nature of the soils and climate in these sub-regions, as well as his understanding of Otago built up from nearly a quarter of a century of experience. Grant has serious, regionally-expressive Pinot Noir bottlings from his home site in Gibbston, and from Bannockburn in Central Otago. supplemented by a Waitaki Valley wine from the limestone-influenced soils of the Waitaki Valley in North Otago, and most recently a wine from Bendigo. These wines are superlative and consistent expressions of sub-regionality, and this earned Valli Vineyards my ‘Winery of the Year’ award in 2016 (click here to see my article).

However, Grant has great skills with all the varieties he touches, and wonderful Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay wines gave appeared under the Valli Vineyards label. However, the most exciting addition Grant Taylor has is the coming on board of talented and detailed winemaker Jen Parr at Valli at the beginning of 2015. She is a fantastic foil to Grant, and between the two of them, they make one of the most formidable winemaking teams in Otago. The wines I’ve seen since Jen has joined Valli Vineyards have actually taken a step in in quality, character and definition. Grant has an undefinable innate knowledge of the fruit, and Jen has the wonderful sense to know what to do to bring out the best in the resulting wine.

Here, I review the latest releases, a 2018 Waitaki Valley Riesling, a 2017 Gibbston Pinot Gris, and 2017 Pinot Noirs from Gibbston, Bannockburn, Waitaki Valley and Bendigo. The cooler sub-region of Gibbston has benefited from recent favourable growing seasons, and the wines have been stunning. 2017 in Gibbston had a cooler spring with reduced crops and small bunches which lent great concentration. The Waitaki Valley has also benefited from good and 2017 was a ‘normal’ cool growing season. With Grant, and Jen’s interest in the Waitaki Valley sub-region, some very interesting wines have been made, and the Pinot Noir is deemed to show plenty of savoury complexity. www.valliwine.com


  • Valli ‘Gibbston Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017
  • Valli ‘Gibbston Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
  • Valli ‘Bannockburn Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
  • Valli ‘Waitaki Vineyard’ North Otago Pinot Noir 2017
  • Valli ‘Bendigo Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

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