It’s Villa Maria time!

Villa Maria

I realized today as I was preparing to write this post that I have not participated in a Villa Maria tasting since June 2016. Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls sometimes and that is why.

However, I am thrilled to be back with my Villa Maria family and friends to co-host this month’s First Sip of Fall on Wednesday, November 15 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Twitter. This time, we will be tasting the following new releases just in time for the holidays:

2017 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $14
2016 Private Bin Chardonnay, East Coast, $15
2016 Private Bin Pinot Noir, Marlborough, $18

It is especially exciting to be one of the first people to taste a 2017 vintage wine, a perennial favorite of mine, the sauvignon blanc. This will also be my first time tasting a chardonnay from New Zealand. The fact that it is from Villa Maria is icing on the cake.

Regular readers of my website know that my affinity for Villa Maria dates back to May 2012, when I first became acquainted with the wines. Every year since, 2013 through now, I have participated in these tastings because I believe in the brand. Founded in 1961 by Sir George Fistonich, Villa Maria is still family owned. In 2017, Drinks International named Villa Maria the most admired wine brand in New Zealand and the fourth most admired in the world.

Villa Maria wines are accessible, affordable, and approachable. I am enamored with the winemaking style and the lower alcohol of the wines, which, in my opinion, makes them more enjoyable alone or with food. With Villa Maria, you get a whole lot of bang for your buck. They are proof positive that delicious wines do not have to be expensive.

I hope you will join my friends and me on Twitter on November 15. To participate, be sure to include the hashtags #FirstSipNZ, #OpenAnotherWorld, and #VillaMaria in your tweets and posts. Follow Villa Maria’s winemakers, Helen Morrison at @Helen_Wine, Kathrin Jakowiec at @Kat_Halbtrocken, moderator Janet Fouts at @JFouts, as well as me, @travelwinechick, to virtually enjoy this first sip of fall.





2009 Buena Vista Pinot Noir, Carneros

2009 Buena Vista Pinot Noir, CarnerosOn Tuesday, January 22, 2013, I participated in a Twitter tasting sponsored by Boisset Family Estates and Boston Wine Expo. The French professor in me was excited to tweet with a Francophone, Jean-Charles Boisset, the President of Boisset Family Estates. It had been way too long since I had that opportunity, so I tweeted mostly in French.

I received my complimentary sample shipment the day of the event. When I opened the box, I discovered that I had a Pinot Noir that no one else had received, instead of a Chardonnay. So when life hands you a wine that you didn’t expect, you taste and review it.

I followed the conversion about the Chardonnay and realized I was missing something special, but after tasting my Pinot Noir, perhaps I was the special one. The 2009 Buena Vista Pinot Noir ($21-$27 retail) benefited from the longer Carneros growing season, which was evident in the ripe, juicy aromas and flavors of black cherry, cranberry, raspberry, and strawberry, with just a touch of spicy cinnamon and vanilla. I’m a tolerant taster who enjoys a fruit-forward Pinot, so this was a palate match. I kept thinking, “If only it were Thanksgiving, as this Pinot and its food-friendly acidity would be the perfect accompaniment to that meal’s rich cuisine.” Thanksgiving in January? Why not?

Feeling like I already know some of the Boisset Family Estates team through this social media experience, I am looking forward to tasting more of their wines when I attend the Boston Wine Expo in February. Maybe I’ll even meet Jean-Charles Boisset in person at one of his seminars. Santé!