Villa Maria Estate, we meet again!

My pair of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc wines
My pair of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc wines

It’s rare that I write something prior to a Twitter virtual wine tasting, but as my schedule would have it, I am quite busy these next three weeks and I wanted to take advantage of a rare free evening to taste wine. I know, the sacrifices I make for you, my readers.

The virtual tasting for these wines will take place at 5:00pm Pacific Time Wednesday, June 24, 2015 via Twitter. I hope you will follow me, @travelwinechick, Alastair Maling (@alastairmaling), Elizabeth Schneider (@normalwine), @villamaria_wine, and winemaker Josh Hammond @hammond_josh. The hashtag is #NZSauvBlanc.

Villa Maria Estate wines and I are familiar friends, going back to at least 2012 when I tasted the 2011 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin. In 2013, I was again invited to taste the 2012 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Bin Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Bin Pinot Noir. The third time was a charm in 2014, with the opportunity to taste the 2014 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin and 2013 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Cellar Selection. Now it’s my fourth year, so we might be more like family than just friends.

I feel confident in telling you that Villa Maria Estate wines are consistently good and are a great value, coming in at under $20 USD each. It’s also cool to be one of the first people every year to taste the current year’s vintage, since harvest in New Zealand just took place.  In fact, I heard that the 2015 I have to share with you may not be the final product, so that’s even more fun. In last year’s post, I shared with you a bit about Villa Maria’s history and awards, so let’s taste!

Side-by-side tasting of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc
Side-by-side tasting of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin, Marlborough, New Zealand
This Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw in color, clear, and crisp. It possesses a trifecta of qualities – herbal, herbaceous, and citrusy – accompanied by tropical nuance. I’m particularly fond of the tangy grapefruit and lime coupled with melon and passionfruit. This wine is very young, very green, with regard to herbaceousness and fruit, and I mean that in a good way. By the way, Villa Maria, you had me at zesty acidity. I could drink this all day. In fact, I may just do that.

Specifications:
Vineyards: Awatere and Wairu Valleys
Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Alcohol: 13.0%
pH: 3.30
Total Acidity: 7.0 g/l
Residual Sugar: 4.0 g/l

2014 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Cellar Selection, Marlborough, New Zealand
This wine is also pale straw in color, but has a richer mouthfeel and texture due to extended time spent on lees. Tropical fruits such as melon and especially passionfruit dominate the nose and palate, while citrus and herbs play a supporting role. I find that this wine shows a little more elegance and restraint, with a nice balance of acidity and roundness, and quite a long finish. Allow this wine to warm up to exhibit layers of flavor. I will drink this all day, too. So there.

Specifications:
Vineyards: Awatere and Wairu Valleys
Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Alcohol: 13%
pH: 3.25
Total Acidity: 6.8 g/l
Residual Sugar: 3.3 g/l

I hope after reading my reviews and those of others, you will consider adding Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc to your shopping list. In addition, please enter the sweepstakes to Win a Trip to NZ!

Happy sipping!
Beth

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this wine free from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Villa Maria as part of their First to Sip Twitter Tasting. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

 

#NZSAVVY with Villa Maria Estate

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc
Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

Unfortunately, I was unable to participate live in the Villa Maria Estate #NZSAVVY virtual tasting on Wednesday, June 18 due to a chiropractor’s appointment. Therefore, tonight, Friday, June 20, I decided to taste these wines. This is not the first time I have tried Villa Maria’s wines before. I reviewed samples in both 2012 and 2013 and was honored to taste these new vintages.

Villa Maria, founded in 1961 by George Fistonich, is known as New Zealand’s most awarded winery.

  • Named one of the World’s 50 Great Wine Producers (Wine Spectator)
  • Twice named as New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year(International Wine & Spirits Challenge UK)
  • George Fistonich named as one of the most prominent figures in the wine industry (Wine International Magazine UK)
  • George Fistonich awarded the title of Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merits, for his commitment to winemaking.
  • New World Winery of the Year (Wine Enthusiast Magazine)

(Source: http://www.smwe.com/estates/details/villa_maria_new_zealand)

2014 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin, Marlborough, New Zealand, SRP $14.99
I was excited to try my first 2014 vintage wine. This Sauvignon Blanc was light straw in color and light bodied, with loads of lime and grapefruit on the nose and palate, and good acidity with a medium finish. It was more herbaceous than the 2013 reviewed below. As it warmed up, the passionfruit flavor came to life. This wine was lively, zesty, and very easy to drink.

Specifications:
Vineyards: Awatere and Wairu Valleys
Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Alcohol: 12.5%
pH: 3.20
Total Acidity: 7.4 g/l
Residual Sugar: 4.5 g/l

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc
Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Cellar Selection, Marlborough, New Zealand, SRP $19.99
This wine was also light straw in color, but with a fuller body than the 2014. The first adjective that came to mind when I tasted this wine was tangy. Passionfruit and melon are much more dominant than citrus and the mouthfeel is richer due to time spent on lees after fermentation. The lingering acidity on the long finish was impressive. I found this wine to be very bright on the palate and very approachable.

Specifications:
Vineyards: Awatere and Wairu Valleys
Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Alcohol: 13%
pH: 3.25
Total Acidity: 7.4 g/l
Residual Sugar: 3.6 g/l

I am a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc, especially as a summer wine, and it’s that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. Villa Maria is imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates so the wines should be fairly easy to find and they are affordable. You can begin your search here.

Cheers!
Beth

 

 

2013 #TGTaste with thirstygirl® and Villa Maria Estate

#TGTaste with Villa Maria Estate
#TGTaste with Villa Maria Estate

Last year I was fortunate to taste Villa Maria Estate‘s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with thirstygirl®. This year I was invited to taste the 2012 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Bin Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Bin Pinot Noir and asked a friend to join me. The 2012 vintage of wines marked Villa Maria Estate’s 50th anniversary vintage.

2012 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Bin Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Bin Sauvignon Blanc

2012 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (Average SRP $13.00, wine-searcher.com)
As a child, I was one of those kids who loved eating lemons and limes. I also ate grapefruit without sugar. In retrospect, I believe I was destined to love Sauvignon Blanc. This wine took me back to those childhood memories of grapefruit, lemon, and lime running down my chin. The wine is a very pale, greenish straw color with medium body. I love the bright, crisp tart flavors and acidity. My friend and I paired it with salty, aged cheddar and fresh bread dipped in olive oil with kosher salt. Both appetizers brought the fruit flavors to the forefront. Today I paired a glass with a puff pastry-like appetizer filled with spicy risotto and cheese. This wine would also pair well with chicken, shellfish, grilled veggies, and spicy Asian foods.

2011 Reserve Bin Villa Maria Estate Pinot Noir
2011 Reserve Bin Villa Maria Estate Pinot Noir

2011 Reserve Bin Villa Maria Estate Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand (Average SRP $18.00, wine-searcher.com)
Most Pinots that I have sampled lately tend more towards the bright, red-fruit style. Not this Pinot. It is ruby red in color with a medium body. It is earthy and spicy with dark fruit and savory mushroom flavors. My immediate thought for a meal pairing was Holy Shiitake Pie from Mellow Mushroom, whose primary toppings are Shiitake, button, and portobell0 mushrooms. Of course, I will use any excuse to have that pizza, but in my mind this would have been the consummate pairing. Alas, my friend’s olive oil and kosher salt dip and aged cheddar served as substitute pairings. Last night I sipped the remainder of this wine without food, so I could further explore its funkiness.

#TGTaste with thirstygirl® and Villa Maria Estate

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc with my shrimp and scallop scampi
2011 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin with my shrimp and scallop scampi

If you’ve read my past #TGTaste posts, you’ll often find that I was a bit nervous stepping out of my tasting “comfort zone,” but always found myself pleasantly surprised. With regard to this #TGTaste on May 16, this was not the case at all. I love Sauvignon Blanc, so I was very excited to participate.

Since I live and often taste alone, I decided to focus on the 2011 Villa Maria Estate Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin, Marlborough. I tried the wine cold and at that point, the flavors were predominantly gooseberry, lemon, and lime. That’s OK with me, because I love tart citrus. Before this tasting,  I thought that was how New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was supposed to taste. However, once the wine warmed to nearly room temperature, it was much more complex. I could taste the sweeter fruits such as papaya and passionfruit, along with some great acidity, perfect for food pairing. I prepared a shrimp and scallop scampi pasta and bell pepper dish, which turned out to be a nice pairing because the buttery, garlic sauce, bell peppers, and shellfish brought out the fruit flavor variety even more.

The specs:
2011 Villa Maria Estate Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin
Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Varieties: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Alcohol: 13.0%
SRP: $14.99

AWARDS & ACCOLADES
Silver – Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2012 (NZ)
Silver – International Wine & Spirits Competition 2011 (UK)
Silver – Marlborough Wine Show 2011 (NZ)