Hawkes Bay


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  • Villa Maria Ngakirikiri 2019

    £67.95

    “Just the fourth vintage of Villa’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2019 Ngakirikiri is as smooth as marble. What’s nice about this varietal wine is that it is accepting of its inherent characteristics. Yes, there are pyrazines here, in the form of an herbal lick, but the wine is fully ripe, offering dark black and raspberry coulis fruit alongside dark chocolate and mint. The fruit has excellent concentration, yet it’s not over the top; it’s firmly structured but not austere. The tannins provide a robust frame for the wine to evolve over the coming years. This is a wine that has clearly had a lot of love, evident in its huge intensity, carefully judged extraction and judicious use of high-quality French oak barrels. It has set out to be one of the best Cabernets in the country, and so far, it’s achieving its aim. I look forward to seeing how it evolves, as we have little precedent so far. Drinking window: 2024-2038. 96 points”

    Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (04/22)

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  • Esk Valley The Terraces 2018

    £77.95

    “Esk Valley’s flagship, the 2018 Heipipi The Terraces Malbec Merlot Cabernet Franc is a blend of 43% Malbec, 38% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc. It was all picked on April 20th and fermented in a single concrete tank, then aged 18 months in 50% new French oak prior to assemblage and bottling. Dark in color, it boasts knockout aromas of black cherries, toasted coconut, vanilla and cassis on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is rich and velvety, concentrated and plush, with a long-lingering, fruit-laden finish. It’s one of the top Hawke’s Bay red blends to have crossed this taster’s lips. Drink: 2022-2035. 95 points

    Senior Winemaker Gordon Russell has been leading the Esk Valley team for close to 30 years. His big gun is the Heipipi The Terraces, a Malbec-led blend that has become one of New Zealand’s top collectibles. It comes from a hillside vineyard, is harvested on a single day and co-fermented in an open-top concrete fermenter, then aged in 50% new French barriques. The 2018 is a stupendous effort, capable of aging up to two decades. Don’t overlook the Chenin Blanc here, as it’s one of the few from New Zealand to offer some of that Old World wet-wool or lanolin character.”

    Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate (06/21)

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