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Great Tasting Dirt


Taste the unique vineyards of Hawkes Bay with the launch of Esk Valley’s new Great Dirt wine range.

Each wine tells a unique story of its soil and history, reflecting the intimate relationship with the Hawkes Bay landscape after many decades of winemaking.

Every flavour is made in a hands-off manner, using only the best parcels of hand-picked fruit to capture the essence and unique character of each soil.

Esk Valley, founded in 1986, promptly forged a reputation for themselves for its innovative and quality wines.

Today, it is renowned for pushing boundaries, taking an analogue approach to winemaking in the digital age, creating wines that fill the soul and reflect the natural environment of Hawke’s Bay.

Gordon Russell, Esk Valley winemaker, has instilled the winery’s reputation over many years, introducing new grape varieties and wine styles to the Hawke’s Bay region and formulating unique wines for discerning individuals.

With his distinctive and natural approach to winemaking, Russell describes the Great Dirt range as a simple concept.

“All vineyards have a unique fingerprint that you can taste in its wine. While all wines echo the site in which the grapes are grown, only a very small number can create truly fine wine.”

“The Great Dirt range reflects our finest vineyards and has been carefully crafted to produce our very best wines. With this range, we showcase sites with unique dirt that we believe are unquestionably great, whether that be seashell, limestone or gravel.” Says Russell.


Esk Valley winemaker, Gordon Russell


Seabed Chardonnay 2019

This is a full-bodied and creamy textured Chardonnay that displays complex flavours of white peach, grilled nuts and grapefruit with a long salty mineral finish.

Planted in 1998, this vineyard in Bay View is dry-farmed and intensively managed to produce fruit of the highest quality.

The fruit was handpicked and chilled overnight before being loaded as whole clusters into the press and run directly to barrel or fermentation with indigenous yeasts.

The wine then underwent extended barrel ageing with occasional lee’s stirring before blending and bottling without finings in September 2020.

Hillside Malbec Merlot Cabernet Franc Syrah 2019

Sourced from the famed “Terraces” vineyard, this dark-fruited and complex wine integrates the structure of Bordeaux varietals with the elegance of Syrah.

Flavours tend towards red fruits, plum, dark cherry and spice.

The Bordeaux varieties were hand-harvested and destemmed to a single concrete fermenter.

The new wine underwent malolactic fermentation in French Oak barriques and then given a further 18 months of ageing before blending and bottling in March 2021.


Hillside Syrah 2019

At the summit of the “Terraces” vineyard lies a limestone plateau, subdivided into four small plots of Syrah.

This is a complex and intriguing wine, aromas of rose petal, red berries and grilled meats are compelling.

The fruit was handpicked and fermented as a mix of while cluster bunches and de-stemmed fruit in a single concrete fermenter.

Planted in 2007, the dry-farmed vines are cane pruned and intensively managed to produce wine of exceptional quality.

The wine was blended in December 2020 and bottled unfiltered in March 2021.

River Gravel Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Selected plots within the boundaries of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District and with a long history of fine wine production for Esk Valley have been chosen for this wine.

The individual vineyard parcels were hand-harvested and destemmed to individual concrete fermenters for fermentation with wild yeast.

This full-bodied complex Gimblett Gravels wine is widely regarded as being amongst the finest of New Zealand’s red wines, with a pedigree stretching back to 1989.

Blackberry and dark cherry are complemented with aromas and flavours of tobaccos and cedar.

The individual barrel groups were regularly racked and returned and blended in January 2021 after 20 months of ageing.

Esk Valley’s Great Dirt is now available online and in speciality retailers nationwide.

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