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Esk Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand
    13% ABV
    • JS90
    • WS89
    All Vintages
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    13% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    This is a very intense and powerful wine. True to its Marlborough origins, its flavors are a mix of ripe tropical fruits, citrus and cooler notes of green fruits and fresh herbs. It is rich and full bodied but a crisp dry finish provides freshness and length.

    This dry wine is a perfect match for most seafood and many Asian-styled dishes.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Esk Valley

    Esk Valley

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    Esk Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
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    The Esk Valley winery is situated in the north of New Zealand's picturesque Hawkes Bay. The winery sources fruit from Hawkes Bay, including the world-renowned Gimblett Gravels – one of New Zealand’s most distinctive wine regions – as well as Marlborough. Both regions consistently produce grapes of an extremely high quality. Esk Valley is famous for its premium cult wine "The Terraces", which is only released those years when the terraced vines on the banks above the winery produce an exceptional vintage. You don’t have to dig deep to get the picture – the soil; uniquely stratified layers of shell, hard clay and volcanic ash are clearly visible in the terraced hillside. The sheltered north-facing slopes possess a mild micro-climate well-suited for the production of high-quality grapes. These stunning vineyards, with a breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, can be viewed from the cellar door.

    Esk Valley is a boutique winery, but it is unique in that many of the techniques used to craft its award-winning wines are dictated by the winery itself. The old concrete vats, the layout of the buildings, and the absence of modern technology mean the people at Esk Valley have had to make wine in a simple, honest, hands-on way. Winemaker Gordon Russell has established himself as one of New Zealand's most recognized winemaking personalities with his passionate approach to winemaking, and the enormous success he has achieved with his wines in tastings and competitions. Gordon believes that the concept of 'texture' in a wine is as important as the aromas and flavors of the wine. By 'texture' he means the balance and harmony of the wine, together with complexity and palate interest. Hand-plunging with wooden plungers is one of the manual techniques he employs in his pursuit of texture – a method used only by a fraction of New Zealand wineries. Old-school winemaking results in wines with old-world flavor profiles – and with a suave, perfumed Sauvignon Blanc, a very Burgundian Chardonnay and a very Bordeaux-like red blend, Esk Valley offers something different than many other New Zealand wineries.

    Marlborough

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    Home to perhaps the world’s most easily recognizable Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir that lends a unifying thread to all of its wines. But despite common misconceptions, the wines from this region at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island are anything but homogenous. With well-draining stony soils and a dry, sunny climate, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, which helps to preserve natural acidity in their fruit.

    The region’s specialty, Sauvignon Blanc, is beloved for its pungent, aromatic character with notes of exotic tropical fruit, freshly cut grass, and green bell pepper along with a refreshing streak of stony minerality. These wines are made in a wide range of styles, and winemakers take advantage of various clones and vineyards sites as well as fermentation, lees-stirring, and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings from one another. Also produced successfully here are fruit-forward Pinot Noirs, elegant Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer, and a wide range of Chardonnay styles, as well as more experimental varieties like Grüner Veltliner and Syrah.

    Sauvignon Blanc

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    A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.

    In the Glass

    From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.

    Perfect Pairings

    The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.

    Sommelier Secret

    Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.

    AMR26786_2014 Item# 138327