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Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

** PLEASE CHECK BEFORE ORDERING - THIS IS THE 2016. THE 2014 IS THE DECANTER WINE. **

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition expert tasting of Global Bordeaux blends (see blue link below).

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2014 - April 2020 Decanter review

Please see some notes written for us by Esk Valley's winemaker, Gordon Russell, regarding this new 2016 vintage.

 

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve CS-Merlot-Malbec 2016 - winemaker notes

Situated in the north of New Zealand's picturesque Hawkes Bay, at Bay View is the Esk Valley Estate winery. The winery sources fruit from Hawkes Bay, including the world-renowned Gimblett Gravels, and Marlborough, as both regions consistently produce grapes of an extremely high quality.

Esk Valley is a boutique winery, but it is unique in that many of the techniques used to craft its award-winning wines are dictated by the winery itself. The old concrete vats, the layout of the buildings, and the absence of modern technology mean the winemakers at Esk Valley have had to make wine in a simple, honest, hands-on way.

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Wines are made from grapes sourced from specific, lower-yielding, intensively-managed blocks of vines. Thety are widely recognised as being amongst the best wines of their kind in New Zealand. Along with The Terraces, this is Esk Valley’s most iconic and revered collection of wines.

This, the Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Red is also the wine which pioneered the use of Malbec in Bordeaux-style blends in New Zealand.

It is only made in the best years/harvests and its blend varies from year to year in order to optimise use of the very best varieties in that year (which explains the changing % mix, names and labels across the vintages).

The fruit is hand picked, de-stemmed, then loaded into Esk Valley’s open-top concrete fermentation vats where it is hand-plunged and left in its skins, before being pressed off into barrels for malolactic fermentation.

Each vineyard parcel is fermented and aged separately before blending. In 2016, 40% of the wine went in to new French oak barrels, creating a wine that is full bodied and powerful, but elegant and food-friendly too.

Cabernet Sauvignon 38%, Merlot 32%, Malbec 30%.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Esk Valley. NB: it's a small thing, but we know how eagle-eyed some of you are ... Esk have used the wrong bottle image on this sheet, being that for a year in which Merlot and Malbec  were the more prominent varieties!

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Malbec 2016 - fiche technique

Since the initial 1990 vintage, this is the first Cabernet-based vintage reflecting the nature of the season and Esk's desire to produce the finest wine possible. Deeply coloured, showcasing black cherry, fruitcake, tobacco and subtle oak spice, this is a dry, complex and age-worthy wine.

ABV = 14.0%.

£22.00

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2014 (1x75cl)

** LAST REMAINING APPRECIABLE UK STOCKS OF THE HIGHLY-ACCLAIMED 2014 VINTAGE (and none is left at the winery)! **

** PLEASE NOTE THAT THE EXCELLENT, CABERNET SAUVIGNON-RICH AND RECENTLY-RELEASED 2016 VINTAGE IS ALSO AVAILABLE AND RECOMMENDED! **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition expert tasting of Global Bordeaux blends (see blue link below).

Situated in the north of New Zealand's picturesque Hawkes Bay, at Bay View is the Esk Valley Estate winery. The winery sources fruit from Hawkes Bay, including the world-renowned Gimblett Gravels, and Marlborough, as both regions consistently produce grapes of an extremely high quality.

Esk Valley is a boutique winery, but it is unique in that many of the techniques used to craft its award-winning wines are dictated by the winery itself. The old concrete vats, the layout of the buildings, and the absence of modern technology mean the winemakers at Esk Valley have had to make wine in a simple, honest, hands-on way.

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Wines are made from grapes sourced from specific, lower-yielding, intensively-managed blocks of vines. Thety are widely recognised as being amongst the best wines of their kind in New Zealand. Along with The Terraces, this is Esk Valley’s most iconic and revered collection of wines.

This, the Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Red is also the wine which pioneered the use of Malbec in Bordeaux-style blends in New Zealand.

It is only made in the best years/harvests and its blend varies from year to year in order to optimise use of the very best varieties in that year (which explains the changing % mix, names and labels across the vintages).

The fruit is hand picked, de-stemmed, then loaded into Esk Valley’s open-top concrete fermentation vats where it is hand-plunged and left in its skins, before being pressed off into barrels for malolactic fermentation.

Each vineyard parcel is fermented and aged separately before blending. 60-70% of the wine goes in to new French oak barrels, creating a wine that is full bodied and powerful, but elegant and food-friendly too.

"This is a wine that has been made to age well in the bottle, I can quite confidently predict that it will still be drinking beautifully in fifteen years." – Senior Winemaker, Gordon Russell

Merlot 54%, Malbec 31%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Esk Valley. NB: it's a small thing, but we know how eagle-eyed some of you are ... Esk V have used the wrong bottle image on this sheet, being that for a year in which Cabernet Sauvignon was the better/more prominent Cabernet!

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2014 - fiche technique

This Winemakers Reserve blend is widely regarded as one of the finest of New Zealand’s red wines. The 2014 vintage is deeply coloured with aromatics hinting at black fruits including cherries and blackberries, with hints of cedar and smoke. The flavours, typical of Gimblett Gravels Merlot blends tend toward fruitcake, cherry, chocolate and oak spice. The palate is soft and mouthfilling showcasing the high percentage of Merlot and finishes dry and long. This is a fine vintage for this blend.

ABV = 14.0%.

£21.00

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. The estate is fully organic and uses biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensuring that fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be. The entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. There is a commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malolactic, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is wine that express the authenticity and complexity of their unique vineyards. 

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

Please click the blue link below to see Felton Road's excellent information and tasting note for this wine.

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.5%.

£40.45

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

All fruit was grown in Marlborough's Southern Valleys and principally sourced from the Yarrum Vineyard situated on the Brancott / Ben Morven ridge. Typical of this subregion, the wind-blown loess soils are comprised of clay-loams with varying degrees of gravel content. The vineyards are all hillside plantings trained to two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) with a vine density of 3,800 plants per hectare.

A mild, frost-free spring with warm conditions through to early summer provided ideal growing conditions. November will be remembered more for the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that shook the upper South Island than the unseasonably high rainfall in Marlborough. December and January were very dry, cooler than normal and often very windy. Greywacke were 'thrilled with the results from the shortest and most challenging harvest to date'.

The grapes were hand harvested and chilled overnight prior to hand sorting. Most of the fruit was then de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, the majority of fermentations with partial whole bunch inclusion. The fruit was allowed to soak on skins prior to the onset of indigenous yeast fermentation, then plunged daily by hand. After fermentation the wine was pressed, racked and filled to French oak barriques (30% new). All individual clones were aged in barrel separately for 18 months prior to blending in September.

For the winemaker's own notes, click the link below.

Greywacke PN 2017 fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour with vibrant aromas of blackberries, blueberries and sweet black plums. An opulent style of Marlborough Pinot layered with notes of roasted chestnuts, clove and tobacco and hints of rose and lavender. On the palate, it has fine tannins and a smoky and lively finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£28.30

Millton La Cote Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.

The Millton winery's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

Millton La Cote Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

ABV = 13.0%.

£20.40

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (Rebecca Gibb MW) in their January 2019 tasting (see blue link below).

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Pinot Noir 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

The grapes for this wine come from their estate vineyards on the Felton Road. Handpicked and hand crafted, this wine reflects the nature of the vintage displaying great concentration and balance. Red fruits of the forest along with blackberries dominate the aroma, these are underpinned by savoury herb and liquorice. The wine has a abundant fruity front palate which is fleshy and well textured. Wonderful smooth silky tannins combine with a hint of oak and delivers a truly expressive pinot with mineral characteristics associated with Central Otago.

ABV = 13.5%.

£24.20

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2018 (1x75cl)

"Medium-deep red-purple colour, youthful and fresh, as it is also on the nose. Bright Campari, bitter-herb aromas, with dominant red and black-cherry aromas. The wine is medium bodied and bright on the tongue, with remarkable depth of flavour for the money and plenty of soft, fine tannin. There is a lovely core of sweet fruit, too." 91 Points, Huon Hooke, 26 September 2018

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty (this is the 2017 sheet; 2018's is impending!).

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

The Roaring Meg is a classic example of Central Otago Pinot Noir. It exhibits a lovely mix of red and black berry fruits with further complexity gained from oak spice. The wine has a sweet berry palate which displays these same characters in abundance. Tannins rise gracefully out of the mid-palate to finish the wine; these are balanced by the wine’s natural acidity and fruit, to produce a long and fruit-driven finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£17.30

Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Schubert Wines was established by Kai Schubert, a graduate from the Viticulture and Oenology University in Geisenheim, Germany. Working with eminent winemaker Erni Loosen of Bernkastel, Kai gained huge experience working in Europe, the US and South America. In 1998, he acquired a small, established vineyard at Dakins Road, Martinborough. 

Schubert’s philosophy is to craft wines of uncompromising quality that would stand out alongside the finest in the world. Fourteen hectares of vines are closely planted in the traditional, European style and the unique cool climate and long dry autumns help to produce low yields.

Predominantly focused on Pinot Noir, Schubert has expanded plantings to include Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Small quantities of white grapes are also planted, including Sauvignon Blanc and Müller-Thurgau used to add aromas to the Tribianco blend and a classic late harvest wine. The estate concentrates on ecologically and environmentally friendly organic viticulture. Respect for the terroir results in wines of outstanding character, complexity, balance and grace.

Located within the Wairarapa Valley of Martinborough, the region is cooler and drier than any other on the North Island, and like Marlborough across the Cook Strait, it is exposed to cold winds that funnel in from the southern ocean. 

For this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Block B Schubert Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

Fruit aromas of blackcurrant, dark cherries and plums are unfolding from the glass, combined with hints of dried herbs. Marvellously complex and seductive with a beautiful, smooth texture but firm structure with very ripe fruit, minerals, subtle leafiness and rosewood. The supporting role of the oak intensifies the underlying dark chocolate and toasty characters.

ABV = 14.5%.

£34.60

Urlar Organic Pinot Noir 2018 (1x75cl)

Proudly family-owned, Urlar Estate produces outstanding single vineyard wines using organic and biodynamic principles. Urlar is a Gaelic word that means “the Earth”. Their desire is to bring an abundance of life back to our ancient soils so that the drinker can discover the purity of flavour inherent in the land. Their journey from the highlands of Scotland to the stony soils and cool climate of Gladstone, Wairarapa has cemented a love for all things pure and true.

See this blog on Urlar, especially regarding their organic credentials.

For the Pinot Noir, the grapes were handpicked according to flavour and skin ripeness. Each clone was fermented separately in a mixture of traditional oak cuves and stainless steel vats after undergoing a period of cold soak to enhance colour extraction. Our winemaking style encourages texture, complexity and balance. Once these elements are in unison the wine is pressed off and matured in 20% new French oak barriques. The wine is gently fined but not filtered.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Urlar Pinot Noir 2018 - fiche technique

The 2018 vintage delivers an elegant wine of dark red berry fruits, dried herbs and spicy savoury notes. There are complex layers of spice, earthy cedar and forest floor. Elegantly concentrated with fine tannins and a silky texture and a lingering intensity of dark chocolate. Beautifully suited to a rack of lamb or game dishes such as venison or duck.

ABV = 13.0%.

£17.65

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Other awards and reviews

Platinum BEST IN SHOW, 97 points, Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2018
Gold - Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2019
Gold - Sydney International Wine Competition, Nov 2018
Silver - International Wine and Spirit Competition, UK, 2018
Silver - International Wine Challenge, London UK, 2019
5 Stars, Winestate’s May June 2019 
5 Stars, 18.5-/20 - Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, Nov 2018
5 Stars, 95 points - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Nov 2018
4.5 Stars, 94 points - Bob Campbell MW, Aug 2018
4 Stars - Wine NZ Magazine March 2019

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Wild Earth.

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

Wild Earth founder Quintin Quider is an expatriate Californian who has spent many years living on the South Island. He has gathered a small, dedicated team to produce his Wild Earth range in Central Otago. Established in 1998, Wild Earth Wines owns 35 hectares of vineyards in two of the region's finest locations - at the end of Felton Road overlooking the Kawarau River and in the North Lowburn district beneath the imposing Pisa Range.

The grapes for this single-vineyard wine come from the Terraces vineyard in Felton Road, Bannockburn which is planted with predominantly Dijon clones (777,115 ,114 and 667).

The grapes were hand harvested at optimal ripeness from early to mid-April. Six separate ferments went into the blend, which used on average 25% whole clusters with a total time on skins between three and four weeks to boost the tannic structure and aromatics of the wine. The wine was aged in fine-grained French oak: 22% in new oak, 40% one-year-old and 38% in 1-to-5-year-old barriques for approximately 11 months.

100% Pinot Noir.

A bright garnet colour with aromas of sweet cherry, raspberry, cedar, wild thyme, and mushroom. Powerful yet elegant, this Pinot Noir has red and black berry, wild herb and distinctive earthy flavours complementing a richly textured palate. Silky and seamless with vibrant fruit, enticing layers, and a serious structure with so much finesse. Harmonious and rich, this Pinot Noir is drinking beautifully as a young wine and should continue to show its beauty for 10-12 years.

ABV = 13.5%.

£21.20

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Te Kahu 2015 (1x75cl)

The forthcoming 2016 vintage was awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.

Te Kahu means 'the cloak' in Maori and refers to the mist that envelops Giants Winery in the Tukituki Valley. Legend has it that this mist was used to protect a mythical Maori maiden from the sun as she visited her lover Te Mata.

The grapes are completely destemmed before fermentation begins in closed top stainless steel tanks with the yeast being innoculated into the must. The wine then spends 17 months maturing in oak barriques (18% are new) before being fined, filtered and released for sale.  

76% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec.

The Te Kahu is a deep crimson red. It has complex aromatics of ripe plum, a touch of cassis, fresh rosemary and roasted meats. The palate is generous and approachable but also has a high level of sophistication with fine grained tannins enveloping a dense body of succulent black fruits. This wine has the ability to age for around 12 years from vintage.

To see Craggy Range's information sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Te Kahu 2015 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£21.70
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