Esk Valley is a boutique Hawkes Bay winery, led by veteran winemaker Gordon Russell. It is renowned for hand-crafted premium reds and elegant whites.
Esk Valley Estate was first established by Englishman Robert Bird in 1933 under the name Glenvale. Bird constructed the original winery and cellars and focussed on producing fortified wine styles that were popular at the time. Glenvale grew quickly and at its peak was the 5th largest winery in New Zealand.
Sir George Fistonich owner of Villa Maria saved and renamed the estate in 1986 with a focus on high quality wines from local Hawkes Bay vineyards. In 1988 a program to re-establish an abandoned terraced vineyard was undertaken. This vineyard on the north facing valley wall of the old winery site was planted in 1989 and the resulting wine, The Terraces, has become one of New Zealand’s most highly sought-after wines.
Our long-standing winemaker, Gordon Russell, was appointed in 1993 and has dedicated the last 25 years to developing our reputation as a boutique winery, renowned for hand-crafted premium reds and elegant whites made in a traditional fashion with as little intervention as possible to reflect site and season.
Esk Valley has always crafted award winning boutique wines using traditional hands-on techniques. This simple and artisanal approach was born of the original winery site with its old concrete vats, unique layout and absence of modern technology. In 2018 the limitations of this 85-year-old winery were reached and Esk Valley relocated its winemaking operation to an all new site situated in the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District of Hawkes Bay.
The grapes for this wine were grown in two contrasting Hawkes Bay sites. The free draining stony gravels of Gimblett Road provide the wine with dark fruit notes and a tannic frame while the limestone soils of the Heipipi Vineyard in Bay View adds perfume and complexity. Both these free draining vineyard sites are planted with the Limmer clone and are aged from 12 to 25 years.
The individual vineyard parcels were destemmed on arrival at the winery and transferred to small 5 tonne open topped concrete fermenters for fermentation with wild vineyard yeasts. Once active the ferments were managed by hand to gently extract colour and tannin. After a period of post fermentation maceration the grapes were gently pressed and transferred to French oak barrels for 17 months ageing. Both small 228 litre and large format 500 and 600 litre puncheons were utilised. 29% were new.
The wine is medium to deep red, with aromas that showcase the red fruit elements of Hawkes Bay Syrah, including raspberries with undertones of wood spice and pepper. In the mouth the wine is soft and generous with flavours like the nose of red berries and jam, with an underlying acidity providing elegance and length. Delicious as a young wine, it will also reward cellaring.
Matches wonderfully with grilled meats, vegetables and wild game.