Great Pinot Noir is the sum of many outstanding attributes: an exceptional site, careful vineyard management, precise winemaking and the added blessing of ideal vintage conditions. Villa Maria has captured all this in its latest premium release, the Villa Maria Attorney Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019.
As the new addition to the prestigious Villa Maria Icon range of wines, mighty examples of the very best wines that New Zealand can produce, the Attorney Marlborough Pinot Noir provides a fitting companion to the Villa Maria Ngakirikiri Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon.
Attorney Marlborough Pinot Noir, which will only be released from exceptional vintages, provides a specific snapshot of the distinctive site the grapes are sourced from. Planted in 2002, the Attorney Vineyard is situated in the Southern Valleys subregion of Marlborough in New Zealand’s South Island. Its north-facing block on the dry eastern foothills of the Wairau Valley has deep clay soils but receives minimal rainfall in the growing season, restraining vine vigour and ensuring maximum flavour concentration in the grapes.
The Attorney Marlborough Pinot Noir also delivers a powerful statement about the success of Villa Maria’s organic viticulture program, incepted in 1999, with the Attorney Vineyard converted and fully BioGro certified in 2012. Villa Maria’s chief viticulturist Ollie Powrie says the change has enhanced the special qualities of the Attorney site’s Pinot Noir fruit. Its thick skins and small berries ensure rich colour and bold tannin structure.
This inaugural release of the new Icon wine is the reflection of a remarkable 2019 vintage. Colder weather in Spring led to a long flowering season, producing small grape bunches with tight structure. Summer temperatures were unusually mild for Marlborough, regulated by cooler breezes to ensure slow ripening and long flavour development.
After the fruit was hand-picked, the berries were chilled before being gently destemmed, cold soaked for seven days in open-top fermenters, and remained on skins for 28 days. After 15 months maturing in a mix of new and old French Oak barrels, each wine was rigorously tasted by the Villa Maria winemaking team, with only the very best barrels selected for the final blending of the 2019 Attorney Marlborough Pinot Noir.
The resulting wine has serious lean muscle. Taut and finely tuned, its slender black cherry and black plum flavours are augmented with a hint of dried sage and roasted coffee bean. There’s soot and graphite among the deep, black earthy tones, but also bright fruit peeking through the front palate, aided by a bright seam of acid. Its intrigue grows and its character shifts each time you look at the glass, revealing different glimpses of light and shade, like passing cloud cover through brooding skies.
The Attorney Marlborough Pinot Noir underlines the astute skill of Villa Maria’s winemakers to tease out the complex characteristics that make this new Icon wine a unique addition to the Villa Maria portfolio.
Tasting note and review by Cameron Douglas MS:
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