Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec is a Bordeaux-style red wine blend from the Gimblett Gravels wine-growing region. A region that is widely regards as being the best wine-growing region for red grapes in New Zealand. Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve was also the wine which pioneered the use of Malbec in Bordeaux-style blends in New Zealand.
Esk Valley Estate started trading under the Esk Valley name in 1987, having been an established wine company since the 1930’s. It is located in the heart of Hawke’s Bay. Esk Valley is considered a boutique winery and is unique in that many of the techniques used to craft its award-winning wines are dictated by the winery itself. They still use their old concrete vats and 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 sources fruit from vineyard in Hawke’s Bay, including the very highly regarded Gimblett Gravels wine-growing region. Their most famous red wine is the flagship Esk Valley The Terraces which is made from grapes grown on terraced banks above the winery. However the Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve blend is extremely highly regarded as one of New Zealand’s red wine blends too. The Winemakers Reserve wines are made from grapes selected from the winery’s best and low yielding vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels.
The grapes for Esk Valley Estate Winemakers Reserve Blend are sourced from vines in the Ngakirikiri, Twyford and Omahu Gravels vineyards which are now approaching 20 years old and cropped at low levels to produce grapes of the highest possible quality. Intensive viticultural practices such as shoot and bunch thinning and leaf plucking were employed over the course of the growing season to further maximise the vineyards’ potential. The grapes are hand picked, destemmed and then fermented in Esk’s open top, 75 year old, concrete fermentation vats where it is hand-plunged (four times a day) and left on the skins prior to being pressed off into barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in French oak barriques (40% new) for 17 months. Each parcel is vinified separately and then blended, rested in tank and finally bottled.
Esk Valley Estate Winemakers Reserve 2016 is a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 30% Malbec. It is the first Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend since the initial 1990 vintage.