Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Pinot Noir, Central Otago
The Bannockburn Vineyard is situated in the Cromwell Basin. While it’s not all that far from Gibbston, the wines are considerably different, built around of a framework of tannin rather than acid. Owing more to the weather gods than those of the earth, the warmer temperatures in the region produce wines with darker fruit profiles, greater concentration and more power.
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 with purple hues, a little lighter on the edge. This has a very full, soft, near-ethereal nose of savoury dark red berry fruits with suggestions of red-brown fruits along with earthy and dried herb layers harmoniously interwoven with subtle whole bunch stalk nuances. This is well-packed and blossoms with ease. Medium-full bodied, the palate features soft and fulsome flavours of rich and succulent savoury red berry fruits unfolding layers of earth and sweet cedar, dried herbs and nuances of whole bunch stalk hints. The mouthfeel is very harmonious and balanced with supple and fine-grained tannin structure supporting the sweet fruit. Soft acidity adds to the richness and rounded mouthfeel. The wine flows smoothly to a soft, long, blossoming finish of sweet red fruits and savoury complexities. This is a mouthfilling, harmonious and succulent, savoury, red fruited Pinot Noir with fine tannins and complexing layers.
19- points, Raymond Chan (April 2016)
Delicately scented pinot noir with red cherry, plum, violet and spicy oak flavours. Sweet fruit is balanced by fine, drying tannins while soft acidity adds subtle energy. Approachable now but should cellar well.
94 points, Bob Campbell MW (June 2016)
Some deep red and dark cherry fruits here complement seamless oak integration, a flinty edge and attractive spicy complexity — not to mention impressive freshness. The palate has a taut tannin shell locked in bright red-cherry and boysenberry flavors for an effortless, expansively shaped finish.
93 points, Nick Stock (December 2016)
(from a high site in an area normally harvested on the late side): Bright medium-deep red. Vibrant, fruit-driven nose offers scents of raspberry, candied cherry and darker berries, plus a hint of the wild thyme that's commonly found in Central Otago. Sappy, saline and bright, conveying excellent energy to its dark fruit flavors. Finishes ripe but classically dry and broad, with a slight youthful dryness to its tannins. Doesn't have quite the grip of the Gibbston Vineyard bottling but this wine also needs some time in the cellar.
90+ points, Stephen Tanzer (May 2016)
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.