We were hosted by the winemaker of over 25 years Gordon Russell. Esk Valley like Vidal are under the umbrella of Sir George Fistonich’s Villa Maria brand. They have recently moved their wine production to Te Awa in Gimblett gravels. Esk valley vineyards are some of original plantings 10 km North of Napier and amongst the first to plant Verdelho and Malbec and Merlot. They maintain Gordons philosophy, a specific concrete vat was made for the new winery at Te Awa.
Esk Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Marlbourough fruit, sites from 69% Wairau Valley, mix of gravel and clay warmer than Awatere ValleyPlenty of texture here from lees ageing and richness is obvious, Aromatic gooseberry fresh wine good balance and length
Esk Valley Verdelho 2018 ( only 7 hectares nationwide)
Planted in 1998 and 2002 first Verdelho vines in New Zealands history, 1 hectare in Gimblett gravels low cropped, on stony soils,oak barrel fermented, wild yeast lees stirring, Citrus slight, orange full bodied fresh acidity.
Esk Valley Pinot Gris 2019
Slight rose tint, tank and old barrels ferment lees ageing and stirring, Pear citrus lovely texture and finish
Esk Valley Chardonnay 2018
Tropical fruit subtle oak butter vanilla 27% Malolactic 75% barrel fermented, minimal intervention
Esk Valley winemakers réserve 2016
lovely smooth fresh ripe tannins blackberry plum, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Malbec one of First New Zealand Merlot producers, oak aged 17 months 40% new
Esk Valley the terraces Malbec Merlot Cabernet 2016
Co-fermented together 40/33/27 one hectare site above Esk Valley winery originally planted in 1940.
Concrete vat ferment hand plunging 50% new oak 17 months unfined, unfiltered, Velvety tannins fragrant black fruit
Interestingly for a New Zealand wine this is sold en primeur.
Esk Valley wines appear to be excellent value for money especially the entry level range. They reflect Gordon’s wine making talent and experience.