2016 in Central Otago will go down as one of the best vintages. Valli Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 comes from a single site. Having been to Bendigo, it is impressive wine-growing land, and I am never surprised when the wines taste as good as this. Valli Bendigo 2016 is a ripe, red and blue fruited Pinot. There is a lick of oak just underneath the fruit layer. The palate of Valli Bendigo is concentrated with some firm tannin.
Drink Valli Bendigo from now; it’ll need a bit of air. Or leave Valli Bendigo 2016 for another 5-10 years to let it mellow further.
Valli Bendigo is a wine to drink on its own, or with something simple.
Back in 2008, I got to visit Grant at Valli. About that time, it seemed like he was just hitting his potential. Which makes sense, Grant Taylor started Valli in 1998. His goal was and still is, to make single-vineyard Pinot Noir from sub-regions of Central Otago. Valli offers Pinot Noir from Gibbston, Bannockburn, Bendigo, and Waitaki Valley (which is North Otago, not Central).
The Valli wines are appealing, and open, to put them on the table wouldn’t require long explanations. But being able to try multiple sub-regions certainly makes for a fun experience.
Valli Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 Wine Review
The Real Review
“Dense, ripe pinot noir with dark-fleshed plum, liquorice, cassis and spicy oak. A weighty wine with a firm structure of ripe tannins that give a drying finish. Quite youthful. Will reward cellaring. Drink 2017-2024.”
Grabbed the imagination of the world for full-bodied and powerful Pinot. While some were a bit shallow, if you go searching beyond the surface level, you’ll find pockets of fascinating wines. The sub-regional Pinot experiments are great. The aromatic whites, especially Pinot Gris and Riesling, have the ability to be outstanding.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony. Apart from the best reds in the world, you can find world-class Pinot Noir rosé, sparkling. You can even find sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.
New Zealand shot to fame with their unique take on Sauvignon Blanc. The wines of Marlborough were unlike anything in the world at the time. And over a decade on, a lot of people still love that style. In my opinion, they dropped the ball. It could have been the next Champagne: Limited, rare, expensive. The following fashion was the robust Pinots Noir from Central Otago, for about 18 months they were the hot ticket red.
On the back of these fads, wine lovers discovered other regions. Pinot from Martinborough, Cabernet from Waiheke Island, reds from Hawkes Bay, the whites and Pinot from Nelson.
For me, New Zealand has a lot of potential, and perhaps their best wines are yet to come. I would argue that the wines are made to drink now or drink young. They are delicate with overt fruit, and most don’t chase savoury flavours.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
It is interesting to know that you can make white wine from almost any grape. The colour comes from the skins, and if there is no contact, there is no colour. White wines tend to be delicate, perfumed, higher in acid and lower in alcohol. It seems for this and many other reasons, it is hard to make an incredibly impressive white wine. But those that have mastered the art are indeed some of the best winemakers in the world.
It is a falsehood to think that white wine does not age as well as red wine. But it is correct that white wine, as a rule, doesn’t age for as long.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.