Valli – 2015 Pinots
Barry Weinman: October 31, 2017
Grant Taylor established Valli in 1998 and has been making the wines ever since. The focus in primarily on Pinot Noir, from five vineyards across Central Otago.
Tasting through the Valli range is a lesson in terroir. Whilst the Pinots come from different sites across the region, the vineyards all have a similar clonal composition and crop at between 4 – 5 tonnes per hectare. Approximately 35% of each undergoes whole-bunch fermentation and the oak regime is consistent across the range (1/3 new).
The exception to this is the Waitaki vineyard. The vines really struggle here, producing lower yields of very small berries. This results in a higher proportion of solids, so the amount of whole bunch fermentation drops to between 15 and 20%.
All the wines are excellent, but for me, the two standouts are the Gibbston and Waitaki. Both brilliant wines, in slightly different styles.
I suggest getting a few friends around, and tasting through the range yourself. It really highlights the impact that the microclimate can have on a wine.
Valli – Pinot Grigio – Gibbston Vineyard – 2016. Vibrant fruit, with a saline/iodine-like tang. The palate is bursting with fruit and spice notes, leading to a long, textured finish. A small amount of skin contact is allowed, to add texture.
Valli – Pinot Noir – Gibbston Vineyard – 2015. Vibrant, almost exuberant fruit up front, with cherry and spice notes. On the palate things get serious with the fine oak and ripe tannins combining with fresh acidity on a very long finish. Excellent wine that offers medium-term cellaring potential.
Valli – Pinot Noir – Burns Cottage Vineyard – 2015. Whilst the fruit is still ripe and sweet, this is less floral than the Gibbston. The palate is where the differences are more pronounced, with savoury/earthy characters coming to the fore. The long finish gets a bit chewy to close.
Valli – Pinot Noir – Bannockburn Vineyard – 2015. From a warmer sub region, this wine sits in the middle ground stylistically. Excellent drinking, though lacks the floral highlights of the Gibbston. May need a few years to come out of its shell.
Valli – Pinot Noir – Bendigo Vineyard – 2015. From the warmest of the sub-regions, here the pretty fruit is compact and nicely defined. The palate is ripe and plush with savoury notes that build on the finish. A fine wine with excellent length.
Valli – Pinot Noir – Waitaki Vineyard – 2015. A brilliant wine, with pretty, floral, perfumed fruit. The elegant fruit is a feature on the palate, and there is great depth behind the prettiness. Right on the close, the savoury tannins start to build, suggesting that 5 years in the cellar would not hurt this in the slightest. A remarkable wine!