The Esses Wines
In 2012, we took the first step towards our dream to become a sparkling house and created Debutante as our introduction. It is a single block, single year, non-vintage brut cuvee with a blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir. We only use the free run and first pressing juice, resulting in high quality but lower yields.
The style and taste are very much defined by the art of viticulture, with the science of winemaking taking the backseat.
Even though on lees for over 24 months, which could be classified as a vintage sparkling under New Zealand specifications, we classify it as our non-vintage following French influences. We only released 387 bottles of our Debutante, which are all hand numbered.
On lees for at least 24 months. Quite a soft, broad sparkling wine with bready yeast lees flavours, plus a suggestion of root ginger and grapefruit citrus. A flavoursome wine in a mouth-filling style.
Madame is our traditional Méthode Traditionelle – a sparkling wine made using the same process as Champagne in France; including a secondary fermentation in the bottle and a minimum of 36 months on lees.
(Kaikōura) Bottle fermented sparkling wine that has spent at least 36 months ‘en tirage’. The grape variety or varieties are not revealed but the depth of colour certainly suggests pinot noir is one component. Quite an explosive wine, with fine bubbles and good brioche-like yeast autolysis, with hints of strawberry and toast. Dry with an ethereal texture. Impressive.
“Our White Rosé”
The original idea was to create a pretty, light pink undertone to the wine when it was held up to the light. We abandoned that idea we realized that there are already many rosés, blushes and pink wines available. Because we wanted to create something totally unique, reflecting our creative nature and having fun with our wine, we decided to simply create a still white wine from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The result is an exceptional white rosé.
Esses Wine Company labels usually feature the “Skinner Star”, however for this wine we replaced it with the “White Rose”; a tongue in cheek touch to the expectation many have that it is a blush.
An unconventional blend (in still wine at least) that offers a welcome alternative to either component. The union appears to work. Citrus, brioche, bran biscuit, subtle tree fruit and a hint of sizzled butter offer interest and complexity. Dry and with a lengthy finish.
During 2014, a major rain episode hit during the harvest period resulting in a number of grapes being left on the vine and becoming botrytis (necrotrophic fungus) affected. For us, this was an extremely exciting opportunity to make our first ever dessert wine.
All the grapes, as usual, were hand harvested and hand pressed. It was during the pressing stage that the wine got its name: the sweetness in the air attracted thousands of bees. It was an incredible experience to see these amazing insects placidly swarming the harvest bins in such large numbers, seemingly content to share the moment with us.
Fittingly, we call the wine Bee Savvy Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.
Moderately sweet Sauvignon Blanc, with varietal characters suggesting passionfruit, rock melon and a hint of lemongrass, with a subtle seasoning of honey from botrytis.