Villa Maria Estate was founded by George Fistonich, now Sir George, in the 1960’s and is still family run. They have extensive holdings in Auckland, Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The 40 hectare site sits on an extinct volcano, the crater creating a natural amphitheatre. They hold summer concerts, past performers include Simply Red, Radiohead, Rona Keating, Simple Minds, Tom Jones. In March Aha and Rik Astley are booked, a great excuse to prolong my stay!
We were guided through their wines by winemaker David Roper in their aged cellar. Categories of wine start with Private Bin, then Cellar selection, Platinum (recently introduced) and their best wines are the Reserve selection.
Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Nice texture not in your face Sauvignon, David explained this was a warm year thus the added roundness to the fruit.
More subtle gooseberry, passion fruit, classic Marlborough, flagship seller (1 million cases)
Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Sl smokiness really smooth texture
More texture, passion fruit stone fruit herbaceous about 6 months lees ageing real smoothness excellent wine ++
Quantity only 6000 to 10000 cases
Villa Maria Private Pinot Gris 2019
Pear drop, blend of fruit north and south Island, ripe pears guava
Nice texture too 5 g residual. A nice example of NZ Pinot Gris
Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay 2018
Blend of both islands more fruit from North Hawkes Bay and Gisbourne
toast, smoke, some Malo oak from addition can be staves/chips/dust
Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2018
Simple red cherryfruit Pinot not much length or finish neutral barrels
Villa Maria Cellar sélection Pinot Noir 2018
More smoke earthiness savouriness oak
Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Lots of fruit black and red and plums and smokiness soft mellow tannins food friendly Merlot dominated
85% rule re labelling
Villa Maria Reserve Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Perfumed violets floral ripe black fruit concentrated black fruit
Really ripe and lovely texture
I was really impressed by Villa Maria’s quality and consistency and price range. The 2019’s have only recently been bottled but were drinking beautifully.
We had a lovely lunch in their restaurant outside, overlooking the vines and tried a few more wines, including their excellent Albarino which had a distinctive saltiness. Then a walk in the Albarino vines with David Roper who had managed to put up with our company for 3 hours.