Nick Picone - Villa Maria Winemaker
Recently, I've featured Villa Maria wines in a couple of reviews on these pages (New Zealand Whites for the Summer and Wines for Summer BBQs) - unsurprising, since New Zealand's most awarded winery offers a broad selection to please all palates. Founded in 1961 in Auckland, this family-owned company sources grapes from premium growing regions in the North and South Island to create a range of good quality, value for money and food friendly styles. One noticeable feature is their consistency and whether, white, rosé or red, you are unlikely to be disappointed.
Villa Maria Marlborough Winery
While Marlborough has become renowned for the excellent quality of its white wines, its reputation for red wines is increasing too. I was, therefore, delighted to receive two red wines from the company's fresh and fruit-driven Private Bin range to review, the Pinot Noir 2015 and Shiraz 2014.
The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Marlborough sub-regions of the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. Spending 10 months in French oak barriques, this new vintage is typically aromatic, fresh and fruity with prime notes of cherries, berries and touches of oak, spice and a hint of mushroom. On the palate, juicy fruit flavours continue with spice, herb, earthy and savoury elements plus soft tannins.
This wine would be a great partner for grilled or roasted red and white meat, particularly lamb.
With grapes sourced from several vineyards within the Hawkes Bay region, 70% of this wine was matured for 20 months in a mixture of new and seasoned oak barriques, while the remaining 30% was kept in tank. The result is a floral, fresh and fruity wine showing notes of wild herbs, plums, white pepper and smoke on the nose, while the palate is light and fresh with similar notes, some red fruit too plus silky smooth tannins.
With a pH of 3.54, this wine has enough acidity to cut through a variety of rich or fatty foods, including meat casseroles, strong cheeses and seasonal game or venison dishes.
Both these food-friendly red wines represent typical good value from Villa Maria's 'everyday drinking' Private Bin range and are just the ticket for the hearty, warming food of a breezy UK Autumn!
All images provided by Hatch Mansfield