VILLA MARIA ESTATE
GISBORNE, NEW ZEALAND
About the Winery:
From a one-man band to a global brand in just 50 years. In 1961, at just 21 years of age, Sir George Fistonich leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland and started off with just an acre of vines. He harvested his first grapes in 1962 and made his first wine under the name Villa Maria.
Throughout the 1960s Villa Maria was a one-man band, with George’s wife, Gail, supporting him in his venture. He made dry red and white wines, sourcing grapes from the greater Auckland regions. In the early 1970s he started to employ staff and the company began to expand rapidly. Today, Villa Maria employs more than 250 permanent staff and exports wine to over 50 countries worldwide.
Styled to capture the regional essence of Gisborne, the Barrique offers a complex medley of fresh stone fruit aromas with hints of tropical fruits and smoky grilled nut characters. The palate is seamlessly textured with a creamy mid-palate, leading to a finish extended by harmonious acidity. This wine is well-integrated and appealing for enjoyment on release, but will continue to develop further complexity with maturation
My Tasting Notes:
I tasted the Villa Maria Gisborne Reserve Chardonnay at a New Zealand Bubbly and Chardonnay media event. The wines for the event were chosen by a panel of industry experts in New Zealand to help showcase the best of the best wines for each category. There are two main islands that comprise New Zealand. The Chardonnay was tasted with five other north island producers and five producers from the south island. There are quite contrasting styles from each region making this a potpourri and flavourfest for lovers of Chardonnay. The acidity levels for most of the wines from New Zealand run quite high.
The Villa Maria greets you with light tropical fruit, honey dew and mineral aromas. My expectations may have been too high for this barrique fermented wine but I found the melon and fruit flavours on the lighter side. The wine tight-ropes a fine line, balancing the melon flavours, acidity and mineral finish. There was an even weighting and pleasant mouth-feel with a crisp, dry finish. This Chardonnay can be enjoyed on its own but I suggest pairing it with dungeness crab cooked Chinese style with ginger and garlic or Italian influenced white truffle, smoked pork belly mac and cheese.
Drink now to 2021. My score: 88-90/100
Varietal composition: 100% Chardonnay
Region: Gisborne, NZ
Vineyards: Katoa; McDiarmid Hill; Ledger Block, Patutahi
Sugar: 1.15 g/l
Acidity: 6.35 g/l
Tasted May 14th, 2015
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