With less than a month until Christmas I wouldn’t normally be sitting here writing, however at the moment inside is the only place to be. We are having one of the wettest Novembers I remember. There are no complaints from me though: Not only is it good weather for writing, it is also very good weather for grapes. They are a lot happier going into the summer with high levels of soil moisture. Soon enough they will face our hot, dry summers and don’t need to be pushed into it too early.
This warm wet spring also keeps our most adverse weather event - frost - away. This has been the first season in many we haven’t had to fire up our wind machines. When it’s raining, we have no frost.
The most common question I get asked this time of year is “How 2023 shaping up?" If that question is on your mind, the answer is so far, so very good.
Perhaps you didn’t come here for a weather report, so to its main purpose: to offer two new releases, both suitable for holiday drinking and the cellar.
VALLI Out of the Shadows Waitaki Pinot Noir 2016
This is the second release of Valli’s “Out of the Shadows” series and comes from the exact same block as the inaugural 2012.
Every once in a while, there are a couple of special barrels or a unique site that as a winemaker, you would like to bottle separately, hide in the warehouse, pull out of the shadows and share once they are approaching maturity.
In 2016, a single vineyard site along Waitaki Valley’s Grants Road delivered such a wine. It is now time to share as this wine is just beginning to show the complexity that can only come with age. While we have done much of the cellaring for you and it is already delicious, we do expect it will last and improve for another 8-10 years.
VALLI Otago Vineyards Late Harvest Riesling 2022
In 2022 we had two small lots of beautifully botrytised Riesling: one in the Waitaki Valley and one in Bannockburn. Too small to ferment separately, we combined them to create a most complex late harvest wine.
You know you will be eating sweet things and cheese over the holidays, probably agonising over what wine to serve. I do believe this wine is the solution.
Here are Jen Parr's tasting notes to give you an idea of what to expect:
“A delightful nose of NZ bush honey, fig, ginger, lime zest and white blossom. The palate displays an abundance of florals, with apricot and honey giving a delicious sweetness that harmoniously envelopes the acidity. The texture is delicately weighted with a seamless flow that finishes with a pleasant warming sensation despite the modest alcohol. A pretty, medium bodied sweet wine that is delicious on its own at the end of a meal, or with cheese or desserts that are low on the sweetness scale. This wine is highly enjoyable at release and will continue to develop for 12+ years.” - JP
I see the sun is back out now, which means it is time to leave the indoors and check on the vines. However, if the rain comes back and I am forced indoors you may get another note from me - not at all about wine, but about art and a fundraising project for the Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown that I am involved in. Though it does involve wine lees...
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays,