Esk Valley ‘The Hillside’ 2010

The Esk Valley ‘The Terraces’ is one of New Zealand’s iconic wines, an approximate equal blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from fruit from 1 ha of vines planted in 1989 on the terraced hillside overlooking the winery in the Bay View district of Hawke’s Bay. The wine has been released just 12 times since the inaugural 1991 vintage. It is lovingly made by Gordon Russell at the historic Esk Valley winery in 85 y.o. concrete fermenters, the varieties co-fermented as a field blend, and the wine, aged in 100% new French oak barriques is powerful, rich and individual, reflecting the blend, the vineyard site and soils.

For some time, Gordon has realised that the quality of the wine of the parcels that do not make it into the final blend, or are declassified from vintages not quite up to ‘The Terraces’ standard are also of exceptional quality and character. The potential ‘Terraces’ wine was usually blended away into other company labels, but he decided to create a second wine to ‘The Terraces’ that exhibit very similar characteristics to the top wine, but be more approachable. The inaugural release of ‘The Hillside’ comes from the 2010 vintage, given five years cellaring at the winery, and will be released later this month. I review ‘The Hillside’ 2010 here. www.eskvalley.co.nz


  • Esk Valley ‘The Hillside’ Hawke’s Bay Malbec/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2010

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