Valli Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir, Central Otago
The topsoil (schist derived alluvial loess) in Valli’s estate vineyard in Gibbston sits on top of free-draining gravel. The vines, close-planted (4050 vines/ha) are cropped and harvested to just 1kg per vine. These demanding conditions force the roots to search the well-drained soils for a source of water then the restricted output is concentrated in the berries that are permitted to thrive. The challenge in getting this balance right is required for an area like Gibbston, one of the coolest subregions of Otago.
Otago Winemaker Grant Taylor planted this vineyard in a north-to-south direction, the first in the region to do so, to maximise the long days of sunlight. Gibbston has one of the slowest ripening periods in Otago and the time on the vine is essential to developing character in the grape and complexity in the wine.
Grant Taylor has been making wines in the region since 1993. When he started out, there were few vineyards. Today, the region is renowned for making some of the most desirable ‘New World’ Pinot Noirs. Along the way, he has built a reputation as a pioneering winemaker who has won the Best Pinot Noir Trophy at the International Wine Competition four times, more than any other winemaker.
Dark, deep ruby-red colour. The nose is fine and deep, with classical Gibbston aromas of fresh dark red berry fruits laced with fresh and dark herbs and a subtle, savoury stalk perfume that is both whole cluster and a cooler place. Rich, bright and lively on palate, this is tightly bound with a concentrated core, unfolding waves of savoury red berry fruits, herbs, and stalk notes in the most positive complexing sense. The fruit is underlined by a fine, firm structured line and the mouthfeel lively and vibrant from the fresh acidity. The depth and layering of flavour is the highlight.
19 points, Raymond Chan (March 2017)
Fine, expressive nose with spicy highlights alongside fresh raspberries and cherries. Very pure with lovely plum fruit. Bright, expressive and pure with nice weight.
95 points, Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak
Deep, youthful colour with lots of purple. The aromas are sweet strawberry to raspberry, with stemmy overtones. Intense, full, elegant but concentrated, resonant with alcohol on the after-palate. But it is well-balanced and very appealing.
93 points, Bob Campbell MW (September 2017)
Snappy red fruit flavors mingle with red licorice and clove-scented baking spices, set on a smooth and sleek frame.
90 points, MaryAnn Woobiec, Wine Spectator (2017)
Central Otago, located at the southern end of the South Island of New Zealand, is the world’s most southerly wine region. In a short amount of time, the area has established itself as a world-class region for Pinot Noir. The picturesque region is surrounded by mountains ensuring a cool semi-continental climate that experiences a large diurnal range contributing to the creation of intensely concentrated wines with perfume, and complexity. Central Otago’s vineyard area is divided into six distinct sub regions each with their own climate and wine style. Best known for producing intensely Fruity medium to full bodied Pinot Noir, Central Otago’s cool climate also produces outstanding Riesling as well as superb bottle-fermented Sparkling wines.