I have never been great at acting or anything musical, although not for lack of trying. So, I didn’t think I had a clue what a veteran theatre actor feels like right before going on stage, particularly on the opening night of a new production. I’d imagine that the years of experience and countless rehearsals do not fend off the “jitters”, the fear, and the excitement; knowing that once the curtain rises, everyone in the theatre is waiting to be transported, to be entertained, to sit at the edge of their seat. As I write these words, I realise I am actually describing how a Winemaker feels (well, at least this Winemaker) when a new vintage is about to be released. No matter how many vintages I have under my belt, I feel the same nerves, the same exhilaration, and some hesitancy each time a new one is released.
The team at Valli likes to release our four Pinot Noirs from the same vintage at the same time, so all these emotions are amplified. We often say in wine, we have one shot each season to get it right. I prefer to say “to make it real” as we aren’t seeking perfection in our craft but rather the truth of the season. So right now is when you might want to tell me to “break a leg” as the curtain opens on Valli Gibbston, Bannockburn, Bendigo and Waitaki Pinots from the “Playwright” Vintage 2022.
Personally I am enamoured of the tempered generosity of the three Central Otago Pinots. They are already playful but will certainly go the distance. By contrast, the Waitaki - North Otago Pinot has the delightful edginess I have grown to love. All four truly show their distinct origins and bring out the magic of a challenging yet compelling season - perhaps my favourite to date. Each wine deserves equal billing in this production as not one outshines the other. Each of these Pinots has a prominent role to play in a celebration, a delicious meal, in great company, or in the cellar.
In the winery, we live in a permanent cycle of rehearsals. There is always a new production to bring to the stage, and both familiar and new audiences to entertain. Although in truth, we don’t make wine to hear the roar of the applause, we are too immersed in the act itself to hear it. We do it because there is nothing we would rather do than put smiles on faces, including our own. I hope you enjoy getting to know all these new wines; they are full of character and have so much to tell you. And before you know it, there will be another “opening night” and more wines to share. On that, you can rely!