Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region enjoys a global reputation for its open, friendly personality and drinkability, but Villa Maria knows this grape variety also offers a compelling wine story that deserves to be told in many more different chapters. This is why Villa Maria makes not one, but three Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc wines from its Marlborough vineyards showcasing site diversity and the grape’s potential for terroir expressiveness.
The variety was first planted in Marlborough in the 1970s and swiftly developed a devoted world-wide legion of fans. Yet while many Marlborough wines are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc from multiple locations to create a consistent style, in the Single Vineyard range, Villa Maria is more fascinated by the nuances of specific sites, with its Taylors Pass, Southern Clays and Seaspray vineyards each offering distinctly different characteristics.
These Single Vineyard wines challenge what people might expect from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with layered complexity evident through astute winemaking choices that produce wines designed to mature and evolve.
Villa Maria 2020 Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc displays a more complex character, with the herbal lift of wild thyme and coriander, charred oak notes and a scratch of flint behind pungent gooseberry. Wet stone minerality, which echoes the vineyard’s location on the Awatere River’s northern bank, dotted with river stones, adds taut tension to the palate. A persistent cooling wind blows gently through this vineyard, ensuring crisp acidity to balance the fruit ripeness.
Ushering in the new vintage, Villa Maria 2021 Single Vineyard Seaspray Sauvignon Blanc, released in November, displays the chalky, briny characters that reflect this vineyard’s close proximity to the ocean, where the Awatere River meets the Pacific. Sea breezes ensure that the grapes enjoy long hang-time on the vines, providing lively acidity that keeps the flavours fresh and vital. An intense burst of kaffir lime, capsicum and freshly picked sage is tempered by a distinctive seashell texture that keeps the palate tight and focused.
Villa Maria 2020 Single Vineyard Southern Clays Sauvignon Blanc is exuberant with ripe and pungent passionfruit, bright lime and the herbaceous edge of wild herbs and cut grass. Situated on the dry eastern foothills of Marlborough, this sunny, sheltered vineyard within the Wairau Valley produces intense fruit that is tightly wound. Its laser-sharp acidity provides a firm backbone, with a pleasing lick of honeysuckle sweetness at the close.
In comparison, Villa Maria’s esteemed regional blend – the 2021 Wairau Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – clearly shows a different personality, with its fresh aromas of passionfruit and guava complementing a ripe, rounded palate and long, luxurious finish. One wine growing region and one grape variety, yet so many intriguing variations in the bottle, that will only become more pronounced over time.
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