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esk-valley-terraces

Typically the pricing of a wine reflects the winery’s best assessment of where demand and supply meet to clear the stock of wine produced taking account of, amongst other things, quality, scarcity value, competitive environment and in the case of top Bordeaux investment demand.  So it was with interest that I tried the 1998 Esk Valley The Terraces the other night, a wine that cost me £70 a year ago – the most I have seen charged for a bottle of New Zealand wine.

The wine has pedigree but clearly the winery itself has fairly lofty opinions of where this wine sits relative to its NZ peers by pricing it significantly above most other top quality NZ reds. Arguably age and the year of production (1998 was an excellent vintage for Hawkes Bay reds)  contributed to the price but really that does not go remotely close to justifying a 100-200% premium to its peers. So was it worth it? In a word – No.  I wanted to really like it – believe me – especially having forked out so much – but in my opinion the quality did not justify the price. The wine itself had a nice complexity on the nose with mocha and chocolate characters but also a leafiness which detracted, palate was medium weight with reasonable berry fruit intensity and nice oak integration. It  had mellowed nicely (probably at peak now) but length of fruit was a little disappointing.  Overall the wine was  good, but not great, lacking the structure and complexity one could expect of a NZ wine charging this price.  BTW I asked my partner what she would pay for this wine (a very talented taster with little interest in wine beyond a couple of glasses with dinner) and she ventured no more than £15 – perhaps a little harsh but probably closer to the mark.

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