Auckland’s Villa Maria held a recent function to launch of their new label design – combined with the release of the first commercial Sauvignon Blanc out of the gates this year.
|John Hawkesby and Sir George Fistonich|
The new label is a slightly stylised and simplified version of the old label design with the red Villa V prominent and ‘New Zealand’ featuring twice – once on the capsule, and again on the label directly under the company name. Company founder, Sir George explained that there had been some confusion in the USA where buyer thought it was an Italian wine. And there was a desire to push the New Zealand origins of their wine.
Another milestone was reached last year when Villa Maria marked 50 years since the first vintage of wine was bottled. It is very much a family business, and still privately owned, with George’s daughter Karen Chair of the Villa board of directors.
Now to the wine.
Villa Maria Marlborough Private Bin ‘Early Release’ Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $15.00
Considering that the Marlborough fruit was harvested around March, the ‘Early Release’ Sauvignon Blanc was only about 12 weeks from picking to sitting on the retail shelves. But that is the charm of Sauvignon - it is a fresh and zesty drink-young style. This one is a 50/50 blend of Wairau and Awatere fruit. Aromas of gooseberry and citrus. In the mouth – very approachable for a young Sav. Medium crisp with herbal, tropical fruit and gooseberry flavours and lengthy palate. Not being a great fan of Sauvignon Blanc in general, I found this wine a refreshing change from the intensely acidic, pungent and over the top style that has dominated the NZ scene for many years.
Phil Parker is a wine writer and operates Fine Wine Tours in Auckland.