FIVE STARS 93/100 | Sam Kim, Wine Orbit
94 POINTS | Cameron Douglas MS
Introducing Esk Valley’s 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 Villa Maria group of companies. They’re clearly aimed at the discerning drinker, but are very modestly priced given the quality they offer.
This is a soft and generous Hawke's Bay Syrah. Those red fruit flavours are in full force and extended ageing in oak has introduced underlying spicy notes and added complexity. This is drinking well now but you'll be rewarded for tucking a case away for a few years.
Sam Kim writes "Exhibiting excellent fruit purity and fragrance showing Black Doris plum, elegant oak, olive and pepper spice aromas on the nose, combined with juicy palate that's supple and fleshy. Varietally expressive and soothing."
Michael Cooper writes "Enjoyable young, the debut 2019 vintage (4*) is full-coloured, with a fragrant, distinctly spicy, vividly varietal bouquet. Vibrantly fruity and supple, it is mouthfilling, with strong plum and black-pepper flavours, nutty, savoury notes adding considerable complexity, fresh acidity and a smooth finish."
Cameron Douglas writes "Aromas of fresh red raspberries, wood spices, black currant, fresh lightly smoked meats, some peppercorn and baking spices and plum - in other words - complex. Fresh, youthful, fruity and precise on the palate with flavours that reflect the bouquet. Firm tannins and a backbone of acidity. Moderate new oak impact adds to the texture and weight. Lengthy, youthful, tense and dry. A well made wine that requires some cellar time showcase its complexity. "
The winery writes "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 mouth 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."