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Friday 3 May 2024

New release a tribute to winemaker's Mum

Experienced winemaker Ben Riggs usually makes wines for his Mr Riggs label that suit his own palate.

For one recent release he's made an exception, however, eschewing his beloved McLaren Vale to make an impressive Adelaide Hills pinot noir for one special person: his mother.

The $35 Mr Riggs Valerie Pinot Noir honours his mother Valerie, the Matriarch of the Riggs family, pictured above.

The name Valerie is of French origin meaning ‘strong, brave, valiant’.

"My mother is over 90 years old and still going strong," says Riggs. "She sees the positive in most things in life, has perhaps kept her youthful."

With over four decades of winemaking experience, the former Wirra Wirra chief winemaker started his own label in 2001 and has a reputation for bold, flavoursome reds.  


The 2023 Pinot Noir (above) is part of the Mr Riggs Regional Series and is made from fruit grown on a Woodside vineyard: a cool-climate site planted on heavy clay.

Due to the cooler vintage, the fruit was picked in late April, in the early hours of the morning to help maintain natural acidity. The grapes were crushed directly into open fermenters, with 15% kept as whole bunch to add texture and complexity as well as a little bit of tannin weight.

Pair it with roast chicken or a ripe, soft French cheese, where something a little magical happens.

It is bright, aromatic and very food friendly. I liked it a lot. 


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