We are open and are taking extra health & safety precautions per NZ COVID-19 Level 2 standards. Bookings are currently required. Our online shop is also open!

Full Menu

2009 Reserve gets royal treatment


Wine drinkers around the world already know Gibbston Valley Winery for being Pinot Noir pioneers in the Central Otago region. Now the winery can proudly say their vintages are fit for a Queen, just ask New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. 

After Key’s weekend visit with the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the Prime Minister departed leaving her majesty with several gifts. One of them was a case of premium New Zealand wines that included a bottle of  Gibbston Valley 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir. If that’s not getting the royal treatment, we don’t know what is.

"The Gibbston Valley Reserve Pinot Noir is a wine with an incredible pedigree,” said Gibbston Valley Winemaker Christopher Keys when the wine was released in 2010. “It represents the pinnacle of our Pinot Noir production. Sophistication and elegance are its hallmark, being a wine both beautiful and intense – a rare state reserved for a spare few."

Little did Keys know at the time that being “reserved for a spare few” meant the wine would end up in the hands of the Queen.

Before the gift announcement yesterday, the winery received a request from the Prime Minister’s office to send a bottle of the 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir, but they weren’t aware of what it would be used for.

“It’s going to happen maybe once in your life, if you’re lucky,” said Keys after seeing his wine included as part of the Prime Minister’s gift to the Queen on the news. “I’m really quite humbled by it."

His advice to the Queen is to drink and enjoy the wine now with family.

“You make some of your best decisions after a bottle of our Reserve Pinot Noir,” said Keys.

Here’s a look back at this incredible vintage.

Tasting Notes

Since its inaugural release, the Reserve Pinot Noir has been awarded a lavish thread of success including multiple trophies. To be included in a Gibbston Valley Reserve Pinot Noir, the fruit must be something very special. Largely this amounts to a piece of the indefinable bestowed on a few rows of fruit in a great vintage. The growing seasons obviously played a part.

Growing Season

A cool beginning to the growing season restricted yields to moderate levels. Warm weather through February and March ensured evenly proportioned and ripened fruit resulting in wines from 2009 having a fresh, fleshy beauty. The vines were grown from a high altitude Bendigo vineyard, and the soil type is fine loess and sand over glacial outwash and schist.

Winemaking Details

Hand-picked fruit was destemmed into small open-top fermenters with 5-10% whole clusters used. Each parcel was given long, low impact macerations contributing to length and structural linearity. This meant no more than 2 daily punchdowns during the heart of fermentation. Tannin complexity was promoted above extraction. Pressing took place after 4 – 5 weeks of maceration.

Following pressing, the wine spent 16 months in barrel in the Gibbston Valley Wine Cave, all of it French, 60% new. Bottling took place in September 2010. The Reserve Pinot Noir is neither filtered nor cold stabilised.

Aroma and Palate 

The wine has a wonderful deep read colour. The nose expresses both beauty and ripeness, with dense plum characters supported by rose petal florals and a spicy backdrop of clove and cinnamon. The palate is harmonious, very filling and svelte, but always elegant.

The concentration of fruit is the dominant force as a young wine; time will allow the mineral underbelly to become more prominent as the wine gains complexity. Very silky tanning finish what is a delicate yet fulfilling textural experience.

Cellaring and Food Matching

The Reserve Pinot Noir can be cellared between 10 and 15 years. Its energy allows it to match superbly with dishes rwith richness, anything slow cooked or braised, and the amalgam of game, poultry and duck that Pinot Noir has an affinity with.

More Gibbston Valley news...