FIVE STARS 19.5/20 | Raymond Chan
FIVE STARS | Michael Cooper
‘The Terraces’ is indeed a special wine, first made in 1991, and only in exceptional years. It is a co-fermented field blend that mirrors the 45% Malbec, 35% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc as planted on the terraced hillside in Bay View. In every vintage made, the proportions vary slightly according to what the growing season gives. The resultant wine is then aged 18 months in 100% new French oak. Only 250 – 350 cases are made. It is agreed that the wine has its own character, reflecting the site, and is of the highest quality that emanates from the Esk Valley winery, made by Gordon Russell.
Raymond Chan writes "Black-red with a very dark, near impenetrable heart and purple hues on the edge. The nose has great density and concentration, with size, presence and power, showing interwoven aromas of ripe blackberries, cassis, black plums, ink and plenty of oak shine with vanilla and lead pencils. Some boysenberry, plum and jam elements unfold in the glass. Extremely rich, ripe and plush, the sweetness of the fruit is the feature. Flavours of blackberries, blackcurrants, boysenberries with exotic spicy plums fill the mouth and are supported by considerable tannin extract, the texture very fine-grained, powdery and refined, with fresh, lacy acidity lending liveliness to the mouthfeel. The tannin extraction and structure grows and carries to a sweet, super-ripe plummy finish. This is a wine of ripeness and sweetness with great structure. A blend of approx. 40% Malbec, 35% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc from ‘The Terraces’ vineyard, the fruit hand-picked and co-fermented in concrete vat, the wine aged approx. 18 months in 100% new French oak barriques."
Michael Cooper writes "Grown on the steep, terraced, north-facing hillside flanking the winery at Bay View, in Hawke's Bay, this is a strikingly bold, dark wine with bottomless depth of blackcurrant, plum and strongly spicy flavour. Malbec (43 per cent of the vines) and Merlot (35 per cent) are typically the major ingredients, supplemented by Cabernet Franc; the Malbec gives 'perfume, spice, tannin and brilliant colour'. Yields in the 1-hectare vineyard are very low, and the wine is matured for 17 to 22 months in mostly new French oak barriques. 'En primeur' (payment at a reduced price of $99, in advance of delivery) has been the best way to buy. It typically matures well, developing a beautiful fragrance and spicy, Rhône-like complexity. The powerful 2015 vintage (5*) is a densely coloured blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Robust (14.5 per cent alcohol), it has highly concentrated, ripe, berryish, spicy flavours, notably deep and smooth-flowing, with a finely textured, harmonious, resounding finish. A very 'complete' wine, it's already delicious, but should flourish with cellaring." Drink 2017 - 2030