Blessed by sun and moon
Wines from the award-winning Villa Maria vineyard are renowned for their distinctive and smooth fruity flavours. KITTY KAYE writes.
IMAGINE vines that are cooled by moonlit sea breezes and warmed by intense, uninterrupted sunlight when the sun makes an appearance. Romantic, isn't it?
Well, the result is a time-consuming ripening process of the grapes which encourages gentle, yet vibrant flavours that make wines from New Zealand so distinctive. Or at least,that is my humble opinion.
Apparently, it is also the opinion shared by many other award-givers such as Air NZ Wine Awards, Hawkes Bay A&P Mereedes-Benz Wine Awards and other international awardgivers. More so when it comes from the vineyards of 100 per-cent New Zealand owned estate, Villa Maria.
So what is it about Villa Maria wines that has the awards raining in on them year after year?
As its group winemaker Alastair Maling admitted, it is a fairly young winery. It's just a few years short of five decades old but already operating and producing like an old-pro.
"New Zealand winemakers are aware that we are relatively new at wine-making," Maling said. "But we are innovative and willing to travel out to bring back the techniques to New Zealand." Yes, knowledge is indeed power. And for Villa Maria's case, also flavoed
The picot colt, chardonnay, merlot and gewurztraminer are among the grapes that tell geographical and climate history of grape-growing areas such as Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Auckland, for the Villa Mada wines.
The award-winning wine that seem to bloom in the cool nights and dry autumns of Marlborough and warm coastal climate of AuckLand, screams cherries at first sip.
Welcome to Villa Maria Reserve Pinot Noir 2006.
As it unfolds, a velvety feeling of soft tannins blanket your tongue, resulting in smooth and sensual familiarity with merely a hint of danger. Feminine in characteristics, this Pinot Noir is terrific with sweetly spiced foods and sauces such as anise-infused sauce accompanying duck and the likes of distinct shitake mushrooms.
Its other red, the Reserve Marlot 2004 comes from a varietal that is more commonly consumed here. More masculine in character, it is strong with an all encompassing tannins. Hardly one to be forgotten easily, this one ends with a long finish punctuated with semi-dark chocolates
when coupled with foods infused with distinct flavours such as gorgonzola and walnut.
Just like the reds, its three prominent whites from the Private Bin and Reserve range, also carry three very distinctive personalities.
The pale gold of its Reserve Sauvignen Blanc 2007 is truly what I always hoped to be the colbur of my wedding gown (as yet realised, mind you!). Its berryful flavour though, belies the intense nature of the wine. Along with its initial sourness and semi-dryness that seems to shape the character of the wine.
Unlike its feminine Private Bin Gewurztraminer 2007 that carries whiffs and hints of lychees, the Gew.urzt, as it is affectionately known, has a delicate flowery undertone, reminding one of chrysanthemums.
Compared to those two, the Reserve Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2005 screams masculinity. Having been aged in Amedcan oak barrels, its eakiness hits you at first whiff and first sip. It
has pineapple undertones with a long finish and held a surprising factor for me.
Sip this with sea scallops and you will catch hints of dark chocolatey taste.
I have to admit that even though the whites are less memorable than the reds and with less of a long finish, there is a lingering sensuality about them and they do not interfere with the flavours of food such as seafood or fruits such as apples.
The Villa Maria label is hardly new in our market, having been in our better bottle shops and restaurants for two years now. Although, ~ always believe that eating and drinking are
highly emotionally-influenced, the good experience is best achieved with terrific pairings as well.
Therefore, enjoy the delicate balance of food and these wines at the Gobo Upstairs at Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur which carries these wines the whole of this month.
My recommendation? Experience the dark, dark chocolatey moment of the Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2005 along with Gobo's sea scallop and let me know if I was right! [email protected]