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The wines of  Villa Maria, New Zealand 

5 Kirkbride Road, Mangere, Auckland, New Zealand
Tel: (09) 255 0660 Fax: (09) 255 0661
E-mail: enquiries@villamaria.co.nz

UK agent: Hatch Mansfield (sales@hatch.co.uk or villamariauk@compuserve.com)

Established in 1961 Villa Maria is one of the largest New Zealand wineries with an annual production in the region of 500 000 cases. Wines are made from fruit grown in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. Three tiers of wine are made, beginning with the affordable Private Bin range, and progressing through the Cellar Selection range to the high-end Reserve range. Quality is very high across the board. Iím particularly keen on what Villa Maria are doing with Pinot Noir. Most of the Pinot Noir vines are the high quality Dijon clones, and all grapes are hand-picked from low-yielding vines. In the winery open fermenters with hand plunging are employed, and the results are impressive.

Private Bin

Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2001 Marlborough
Very ripe, accessible nose with some sweet-edged limey character. The palate is rich and rounded with noticeable residual sugar. Good/very good

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2001 Marlborough
Lovely nose of ripe gooseberry and blackcurrant fruit. Full flavoured, ripe, blackcurrant-edged palate. An attractive style. Very good+

Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay 2001 East Coast
Rich, intriguing nose with some herb-tinged ripe tropical fruit. Ripe, nutty, full flavoured palate shows lots of tropical fruit character. Tasty. Very good/excellent

Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay 2001 Marlborough
Forward, crisp nose shows some ripe tropical fruit. The palate is full flavoured but retains crispness with some fresh, citrussy acidity. Very good+

Villa Maria Private Bin Cabernet/Merlot 2000 Hawkes Bay
Deep red/black colour. Attractive nose of creamy blackcurrant fruit with a lovely leafy freshness. Juicy, rich palate shows good concentration and a touch of minerality. Well balanced and nicely savoury, without excessive oaking. Very good/excellent

Cellar Selection

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling 2001, Marlborough
Pure, crisp limey nose with a minerally edge: delicate and complex. Expressive palate is rich and limey with good balance and a touch of residual sugar. Very good/excellent

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2001 Marlborough
The rich gooseberry/grassy nose is rounded and intense. Nicely balanced palate with lots of blackcurrant character. Very good+

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2000 Marlborough
Attractive toasty edge to the intense herbal fruit on the nose. The palate shows good richness of fruit combined with some well integrated oak. Good intensity. Very good+

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2000 Marlborough
Quite deep coloured. The nose shows lovely bright cherry and berry fruit with a medicinal edge. Lovely balance on the palate with a delicious savoury edge to the fruit. This is a fresh wine thatís not too full on, and shows lovely balance. Very good/excellent (c. £13)

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Cabernet Merlot 1999 Hawkes Bay
This blend also contains a touch of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Deep coloured. Attractive nose with new oak and appealing berry fruit meshing well. Tarry richness, too. Good concentration on the classy palate which displays spicy berry fruit. A little tight and oaky at the moment but thereís lots of promise here. Very good/excellent

Reserve

Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001 Marlborough
Lovely complex crisp open nose with grassy, gooseberry character. Rich balanced palate has lots of character. A lovely wine that is really expressive, and in the top ranks of NZ Sauvignon. Excellent

Villa Maria Reserve Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2001 Marlborough
Quite crisp and tight on the nose with a citrussy edge to the grassy fruit. Rich, concentrated palate has a minerally edge to the rounded fruit. Needs a while to open out. Very good/excellent

Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay 2000 Marlborough
This weighs in at a heady 14.5% alcohol. Lovely intensity to the nose, which shows a nutty, smoky richness from the oak, which combines well with the intense tropical fruit aromas. The palate is rich and full with a spicy edge to the rich, ripe fruit. Very good/excellent

Villa Maria Reserve Pinot Noir 2000 Marlborough
Deep coloured red/purple. Quite a tight nose showing berry fruit, spicy oak and a chocolatey richness. Concentrated palate is very rich: the juicy flavours work well with a bit of spicy oak. Youthful. Very good/excellent (c. £17)

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Lloyd Pinot Noir 2000 Marlborough
Deep coloured, this is an intense, brooding wine. Muted nose leads to a super- concentrated palate displaying deep black/berry fruits and some new oak. Itís tight knit now, but could be sensational in five years time. A hard one to call; currently quite wood dominated, but this may well integrate better. Very good/excellent (£20+)

Villa Maria Reserve Merlot Cabernet 2000 Hawkes Bay
Opaque red/black colour. The exotic nose of sweet, ripe berry fruit has some menthol and spice notes from the new oak. Very rich, concentrated palate with lots of ripe fruit, savoury, spicy oak and good balancing acidity. Very classy stuff, full of interest. Excellent

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