94 POINTS | NZ Wine Rater
FIVE STARS 93/100 | Sam Kim, Wine Orbit
FIVE STARS | Yvonne Lorkin
4.5 STARS | Michael Cooper
93 POINTS | Cameron Douglas MS
Introducing Esk Valley’s exciting new Artisanal range; a series that allows celebrated winemaker Gordon Russell to make interesting, small batch wines that indulge his personal preferences, rather than being driven by the market dynamics of being part of the wider Villa Maria group of companies.
Vinted from Malbec (43%), Merlot (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (17%), this is deep red in colour and bursting with dark fruit flavours that are characteristic of the Gimblett Gravels region. It's soft, supple and has a silky smooth finish. Sensational wine from Gordon and the Esk Valley team.
Sam Kim writes "It's immediately appealing on the nose showing blackcurrant, cedar, mixed spice and subtle dried herb nuances, leading to a succulent palate delivering fine texture and chalky tannins. Wonderfully balanced and harmonious with a persistent refined finish."
Michael Cooper writes "Bargain-priced, the debut 2019 vintage (4.5*) has loads of drink-young appeal. Grown in the Gimblett Gravels, it is deeply coloured, full-bodied and fleshy, with strong, ripe, plummy, spicy flavours, hints of chocolate and nuts, and a rich, seductively smooth finish."
Cameron Douglas MS writes "Plums and dark chocolate, blackberry and sweet roasted bell-peppers, tobacco and baking spices, toasted wood and baked earth complexities. Youthful, fresh, fruity and dry on the palate with flavours of dark berries and plums, firm tannins and plenty of acidity. A delicious wine with very good length and detail. best cellared for a while then enjoyed from 2023 through 2030. Decant for service before then."
NZ Wine Rater writes "Traditional, intense Bordelaise nose with fragrant plum and cassis fruit complexed by the distinctive, meaty, grilled-vegetable character of Malbec and generous levels of milk-coffee oak. Quite full, and robust with lush, juicy fruit flavours, good length, plenty of oak and chewy tannins. A very creditable wine that has all the elements for further bottle maturation."