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Esk Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017

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

Winemaker Notes

This is a very intensely aromatic wine. True to its Marlborough origins, its flavors are a medley of ripe tropical fruits, citrus and cooler notes of green fruits and fresh herbs. It is rich and full bodied with a crisp dry finish providing freshness and length.

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

Critical Acclaim

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JS 90
James Suckling
Some impressive flinty, reductive complexity across ripe mango, papaya, lime and nectarine. Decent length here. Drink now. Screw cap.
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Esk Valley

Esk Valley

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Esk Valley, 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.

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Marlborough

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An icon and leading region of New Zealand's distinctive style of Sauvignon blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir, making it ideal for high quality grape production (of many varieties). Despite some common generalizations, which could be fairly justified given that Marlborough is responsible for 90% of New Zealand's Sauvignon blanc production, the wines from this region are actually anything but homogenous. At the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from well-draining, stony soils, a dry, sunny climate and wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, a phenomenon that supports a perfect balance between berry ripeness and acidity.

The region’s king variety, 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, vineyard sites, fermentation styles, lees-stirring and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings, one from one another.

Also produced successfully here are fruit-forward Pinot noirs (especially where soils are clay-rich), elegant Riesling, Pinot gris and Gewürztraminer.

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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. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.

In the Glass

From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.

Perfect Pairings

The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a 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 (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.

SOU108392_2017 Item# 434583