Gold Medal – New Zealand International Wine Show 2018
Gold Medal – New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition 2018
Gold Medal – New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition 2019
Verdelho is one of winemaker Gordon Russell's many 'firsts' in New Zealand winemaking. The Verdelho variety originates from Portugal and best known as the variety of Maderia. In the 1980's it was grown for dry table wine in Australia and Gordon thought it may do well in the Bay and so he set about getting cuttings and after a long process the first vines were planted in 1998 on a 1ha block in the Gimblett Gravels. Being from what is a sub-tropical island (Maderia) the variety is quite suited to the recent rain affected Hawkes Bay vintage – the bunches are quite loose and the berries thick skined. The down-side is that it is often very low cropping, hence there has been no rush from growers getting onto the Verdelho band wagon. Luckily Gordon has persevered, and he has refined the style he produces. Usually around 30 -50% is naturally fermented in older oak with the balance using a cultured yeast Gordon is happy with.
This 2018 has ripe tropical fruit flavours, finishing with a Camapri-like bitterness, making it a perfect summertime aperitif. This is the biggest selling wine at the Esk Valley cellar door – worth seeking out.
4 ½ Stars, Top 10 & Best Buy, Cuisine Speciality Whites Tasting, August 2019 (2018 Vintage)
"Known as the grape of the Portugese island of Madeira, this variety is respected for holding acidity even in warm climates. This youthful expression has a tropical tone with lime and quince flavours and is a fine example of how our warmest sites can successfully ripen such varieties."
4 Stars Michael Cooper (2018 Vintage)
"The 2018 vintage was grown in the company's Omahu Gravels and Joseph Soler vineyards, and 30 per cent of the blend was barrel-fermented with indigenous yeasts; the rest was handled in tanks. Full-bodied and vigorous, it has strong, lively, citrusy flavours, a sliver of sweetness (5.1 grams/litre of residual sugar), appetising acidity, minerally notes and lots of youthful impact. Best drinking 2019+."
90/100 Rebecca Gibb, May 2019 (2018 Vintage)
"There's bugger all Verdelho in NZ but based on this wine, there should be more – it's tangy and full bodied. Plenty of concentration here with a burst of mouthwatering mandarin-like acidity that makes you think of summer."
Reviews for the 2017 vintage below…
Winery notes (2017 Vintage)
"Verdelho is a traditional and famous variety originally from the Portuguese island of Madeira where for many centuries it has been used in the production of fortified wine. Esk Valley has been New Zealand’s pioneer of this variety, producing a dry style Verdelho from our Hawkes Bay vineyards since 2002.
This is a full bodied wine with a fresh acidity. It exhibits the exotic flavours and aromas of peach, passionfruit and mandarin.
This Verdelho is a single vineyard wine from our Omahu Gravels Vineyard located in the Gimblett Gravels. The vines were planted in 1998 and hold the distinction of being the first Verdelho vines planted in New Zealand’s recent viticultural history. The fruit reflects the stony soils in which they are grown and provides the wine with a mineral infused note and flavours of mandarin and passionfruit."
5 Stars Yvonne Lorkin, September 2017 (2017 Vintage)
"Verdelho the famous white grape grown on the Portuguese island of Madeira where for aeons it’s been used in the production of sherry. In 1998 the team at Esk Valley planted some in the rock star region of the Gimblett Gravels and in 2002 Gordon Russell produced the very first kiwi version. This shiny new sip is like peaches personified, laced with lemon verbena and lusciousness like you wouldn’t believe. This is one of those wines that I just want to shout “Taste this now!!” at the top of my lungs. Fresh, tropical, complex and creamy – it’s an absolute star."