Double Gold Medal – New Zealand International Wine Show 2020
Gold Medal – New Zealand International Wine Show 2019
Gold Medal – Hawkes Bay Wine Awards 2020
The 2018 Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay is a single vineyard wine, from Esk’s Bay View vineyard near the airport on the uplifted marine clay soils, all dry grown. Made as naturally as possible with minimal intervention – gentle press and put into barrel to do its thing with some barrels going through malo-lactic and regular less stirring.
Winemaker Gordon Russell says he is really excited by this wine. It has loads of flavour and personality. There’s ripe grapefruit, mineral salt, some reductive smokiness combining on the palate which has freshness and complexity. With just 12.7% alcohol there’s a very clever lightness as well.
Winery notes (2018 Vintage)
"This wine is an individual barrel selection from the Howard's Bay View vineyard. Situated on the former tidal estuary of the Esk River prior to the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake and planted in 2001 with Burgundy clone 95, this vineyard produces powerful wine with underlying acidity and white peach notes. The vineyard is dry farmed and intensively managed with low yields to maximise the quality of fruit from the site.
The fruit was hand-picked and whole cluster pressed after overnight chilling. Only low juice yields were taken and run directly to barrel for fermentation with wild yeasts. Post fermentation some of the barrels were allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation to lower acidity and add complexity to the finished wine. The wine underwent extended barrel ageing with occasional lees stirring, before blending and bottling without finings in July 2019.
This is an elegant, complex and creamy textured chardonnay which vividly displays the complexities of this great vineyard site. Flavours of white peach, grapefruit, flint and nuts are to the fore with a long mineral finish. Naturally made, with a 'hands-off' approach it is both food friendly and age-worthy and vividly exhibits the land in which it was grown. Further complexity has been added with subtle oak and yeast-derived complexity from long term barrel ageing. Suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets as the wine was bottled with finings."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2018 Vintage)
"Often one of the region’s most distinguished Chardonnays. The 2018 vintage is a single-vineyard wine, hand-picked at Bay View and fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques (40 per cent new.) Bright, light yellow/green, with a smoky bouquet, it is a medium to full-bodied wine, full of youthful vigour, with deep stonefruit flavours, mealy and biscuity notes adding complexity, lively acidity and a tightly structured, long finish. Best drinking 2022+."
Reviews for the 2017 vintage below…
Platinum Medal & 97/100 – Decanter World Wine Awards 2019
Gold Medal – International Wine Challenge 2019
Sue Courtney, wineoftheweek.com. July 2018 (2017 Vintage)
"Light yellow gold in the glass. Inviting aromas of ripe peach, toasty oak, and vanilla. Tasty, mouthfilling, malty, mealy flavours with gunsmoke, spicy oak, underlying flint and gobs of juicy tropical fruit that lingers tantalisingly. Exudes class all the way through."
95/100 IWC 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"Charry, flinty start with red apple, vanilla and cashew aromas. Lively texture palate. Savoury charry and long smoky finish."
DWWA 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"Flint, cashew nut, oak and citrus aromas dominate the nose. The palate is rich and full-flavoured with fine wood tannins and notes of ripe peach and pineapple. This is extremely well made, powerful and weighty with a lengthy finish."