Valli Otago Pinot 2018 Pre Arrival Offer

I was eager to taste at Valli Wines for the first time because Grant Taylor’s sweet, sappy Pinot Noirs have been consistent standouts in my peer group tastings in recent years. Taylor was one of the trailblazers in Central Otago, having begun making wine in the region in 1993. STEPHEN TANZER, Vinous Media

Most Central Otago winemakers are linked to a single subregion. Grant Taylor launched his Valli label “with the aim of creating true representations of Otago’s sub-regions with unflinching intensity and purity”.
He’s been making wine in Central Otago since 1993, mostly as winemaker for Gibbston Valley (tastings). Taylor’s intimate knowledge of his much-loved region, his passion to make high-quality wine and his experience as a Central Otago winemaker helped him to rapidly achieve his goal to produce benchmark sub-regional styles. BOB CAMPBELL MW

This has to be one of New Zealand’s most exciting wine success stories. No, they aren’t making the kinds of volumes Coudy Bay are but they are definitely making bigger waves around the wine traps these days.

Along with a small, core group of like minded local vignerons, the team at Valli have really tapped in to the potential of Otago and captured what we all thought might be there but rarely saw in days gone by, truly great terroir to grow great truly Pinot. It’s wines like these that make me recall the comment from Jancis Robinson MW a few years ago now “many believe this is where the Pinot grail is to be found”. It isn’t there yet but producers like Valli give me a considerable amount of hope that Otago really can achieve a degree of greatness rarely seen outside of the Cote de Nuits.

Throughout his very long career Grant Taylor has helped establish the region’s international success working with many of the older, more recognised, estates in Otago. His extensive international winemaking career meant he brought with him, back to his home turf on the South Island, a depth of knowledge and experience needed in the burgeoning region. Working alongside the likes of Felton Rd, Mt Difficulty, Carrick, Peregrine he helped many of the areas stars rise as a consultant or winemaker at their various wineries.

It was that time working for so many different estates that gave him the insight, and access, to some of the areas greatest sites and the understanding of how each terroir was best given its voice. Today he makes a range of Pinot from some of Otago’s most renowned vineyards, including a project where he and the team at Burn Cottage swap parcels to make. With his collection of vineyards he crafts some of the area’s most transparent and seductive wines. He doesn’t seem to shy away from the riper, fleshier nature of Otago but neither does he produce the darkly coloured and brutish wines that were the hallmark of the region for a while. Elegance, sophistication and purity are Valli’s trademarks but always, in every year, vineyard expression is the foundation upon which these tremendous Pinots are built.

Grant is one of NZ’s most awarded winemakers and Valli is the jewel in his bedazzled crown. He doesn’t work alone though and his chief winemaker Jen Parr was named NZ Winemaker of the Year in 2020 Gourmet Traveller Wine. It is just further evidence that everything at this estate is top tier. The estate was also listed by Real Review as one of the Top Wineries in NZ in 2020. The list of awards for Valli is goes on and on.

Today these wines easily sit in the very top echelon coming from those little islands to our east. Sadly, with that success has come the fame and these days his wines rarely make it to the shelves of the store, and if they do they don’t last long.