Valli – four sub-regional 2020 Pinot Noir and 2021 Waitaki Riesling
A look at the 2020 Growing Season and Grape Harvest
"2020 will be one of those more easily remembered vintages, not just because of the nervousness surrounding Covid-19 but also because of the nervousness over summer. The growing season was cooler than average in Otago and by late March we were wondering if our fruit would ever reach desired ripeness levels before the season ended.
Then came April and May. It would be impossible to dream of a better autumn for winemaking: six weeks of warm, dry, frost-free weather. The grapes had all the time needed to fully ripen.
Our last day of harvest was May 9th. My memories of that day are of discarded jackets, sweaters, shirts, even singlets hung on posts at the end of the row by mid-day and the thermometer reading over 20 c. Oh, for harvest conditions like those again…minus the virus of course.
The cool summer, particularly at the start, had the effect all summers like that have: slower cell division giving us smaller berries. Consequently, the total yields for all of Central Otago wineries were 28% lower than the previous year, even including new vineyard plantings coming on stream. Those lower yields also helped make it easier for what we had to ripen." Grant Taylor
Expect concentrated and age-worthy Pinot Noirs.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Valli Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Jun-2022Deep crimson with a garnet hue, moderate transparency, lighter on edge. This is immediately appealing, with aromas of Morello cherries, strawberries underlying savoury mushroom and forest floor entwined with hibiscus, thyme and spice. Medium-bodied, Morello cherries and strawberries have a fresh core, interweave hibiscus and cherry blossom, underlined savoury earth and mushroom alongside delicate spice added depth to the flavour. The mouthfeel is contributed by a creamy line and dusting tannin extraction; a light grip added a chewy texture. Lacy, crisp acid line provides good drive and freshness. This Gibbston Pinot Noir shows classic red fruit, floral and savoury details with grace and class. Match with smoked duck and pork loin over the next 8+ years. Clone 777, 115, UCD 5, 114, fermented with 22% whole bunch to 13% alc, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 32% new oak. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) June 2022 RRP $75
Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Jun-2022Deep ruby-black with a purple hue, lighter on the rim. This has an alluring and broody bouquet, penetrating dark fruit aromas with olive, thyme, smoky barrel elements with underlying power. Medium-full bodied, highlighted dark cherries and blueberries melded with olive, graphites and thyme, followed by an amalgam of spice and smoke. The mouthfeel is silky and sleek with ultra-fine tannins and structure; integrated, salivating acidity drives excellent focus and carries a smoke hint throughout the palate. This Bannockburn shows multi enticing layers and refined structure, with elegant fruit and herb, moreish acidity on a harmonious, sleek palate. A very sexy Pinot! Match with lamb rack and black truffle over the next 12+ years. Fruit from Hall Road, fermented with 22% whole bunch to 14% alc, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 29% new oak. 19.5-/20 pts (97 pts) June 2022 RRP $75
Valli Bendigo Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Jun-2022Deep ruby-black with a purple underlay, lighter on edge. The nose is full, with power, aromas of spice, ripe blackberries and dark cherries melded with herbs, liquorice, mocha and savoury earth. Medium-full bodied, sweet fruit of blackberries and cherries layered with an amalgam of spice, rosemary and thyme, unfolding mocha and a hint of smoke. The wine has a complex range of flavours featuring a core of spice and dark herbs. Ripe, silky tannins contribute to a fine structure; piquant acidity elevates and injects freshness. This Bendigo Pinot Noir is generous with flavour and texture; underlying power and drive lend a long, satisfying finish. Match with lamb and venison loin over the next 10 years. Fruit from Chinaman's Terrace, fermented with 40% whole bunch to 14% alc, aged 11.5 months in French oak barrels, 29% new oak. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) June 2022 RRP $75
Valli Waitaki Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020, North OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Jun-2022Deep ruby-red, good clarity, lighter on the rim. The nose is perfumed, soft and enticing, with lifted aromas of dense cherries, raspberries, a suggestion of plums interweaving hibiscus and rose, fine black pepper powder and cinnamon. Medium-bodied, the palate is filled with concentrated aromas of cherries, raspberries and plums entwined with hibiscus and dark rose petals, unveiling cinnamon, fine pepper dusting and crunchy minerals. Vivacious flavour immersed, supported by lacy, lively acidity, persists a lasting, fragranced closing. Delicate and silky tannin extraction alongside a soft grip sustains vitality. This captivating Waitaki Pinot Noir possesses a concentrated red fruit spectrum with delicate floral and mineral details on a silky mouthfeel. Match with roasted pigeon and pork rillette over the next 10+ years. Clone 115, 777, Abel, UCD 5, 114, fermented with 20% whole bunch to 13% alc, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 32% new oak. Unfined, unfiltered. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) June 2022 RRP $85
Valli Waitaki Vineyard Riesling 2021, North OtagoRiesling from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 16-Jun-2022Bright, even, pale yellow with a green sheen. This has a soft and gentle release of lime and citrus zest melded with a savoury element and minerals. Medium-light bodied, off-dry to taste, lime and mandarin core entwined with zesty spice, jasmine, sea salt and crushed rocks. Crunchy minerals flow along with acid tension and good energy, and a touch of sweetness adds flesh and broadens the palate. The wine has a long, focused and crisp finish. This crisp Riesling shows excellent balance, features crunchy minerals and jasmine with a strong citrus core. Match with river trout and shellfish over the next 8+ years. Fruit from Estate vineyard on Grant's Road, fermented to 12% alc, 12.2 g/l RS. 19/20 pts (95 pts) June 2022 RRP $34.50