The fascinating secret of New Zealand’s wine story is its rich diversity. It’s a key reason why Villa Maria has an expansive suite of vineyards in prime locations across the country, capturing and defining the many significant terroirs in the glass.
With vineyards covering four major wine growing regions, Villa Maria offers New Zealand’s most extensive portfolio of Single Vineyard wines to help wine drinkers explore lesser known regions and delight in different grape varieties.
On this journey from north to South, we start in Gisborne, in the remote north-eastern corner of New Zealand’s North Island. McDiarmid Hill is beautifully positioned on a north-facing hillside slope in Patutahi. Taking full advantage of sunlight, drying wind conditions, slightly cooler temperatures and natural water drainage, the additional elevation provides a wonderful advantage for producing this consistently outstanding wine. This vineyard site has previously been shown as part of a regional blend, but is now given its own position to showcase the best of what Gisborne has to offer, producing a wine with intriguing dark notes among the pure tones of fresh apple and nectarine.
Hawkes Bay, at the centre of New Zealand’s North Island, plays a critical role in defining Villa Maria’s quest to capture the characteristics of distinctive locations. With north-facing mountain ranges running down to expansive alluvial plains, the region’s myriad of soil types and long, dry growing seasons allow for complex wines from Villa Maria’s array of vineyard sites across the region.
Several important Villa Maria Single Vineyard wines hail from Hawkes Bay. Some are only available in New Zealand, such as the Braided Gravels Albariño; but one of the most famous, which garners global attention, is the Keltern Chardonnay. Located east of the Maraekakaho sub-region, directly in the path of the cool air currents flowing from a mountain range to the west, the Keltern Vineyard is an inland site, buffered by the Ngaruroro River providing rich lime, grapefruit and lemon notes framed by a sharp, flinty edge that defines a sharply focused palate.
The pinnacle of Villa Maria can be tasted in Ngakirikiri, the ultimate expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from the iconic Gimblett Gravels Wine Growing District. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that this appelation’s suitability for viticulture was noticed, the extreme growing environment causing the vines to be less vigorous and the fruit they bear more intense while the inland location and higher increased temperatures ensure even late-ripening varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon to reach their full potential. It makes a distinctive statement about its unique location, showing that New Zealand produces elite Cabernet Sauvignon equal to the world’s best examples.
Located at the top of the South Island, is New Zealand’s largest wine region, blessed by extraordinary natural assets with a combination of a cool yet sundrenched climate that produces uniquely vivid wines. The Villa Maria Single Vineyard collection has a spiritual home in Marlborough with seven of the twelve wines coming together to showcase both the diversity and breadth of style from the region.
The collection is led by a formidable trio of signature Sauvignon Blancs from three sites (Southern Clays, Seaspray and Taylors Pass) across two sub-regions – the Wairau Valley and the Awatere Valley. Marlborough is known the world over for producing vibrant regional blends of Sauvignon Blanc, but Villa Maria is fascinated by the nuances of specific sites and how they individually express themselves.
Marlborough’s position as New Zealand’s premier wine region is further reiterated through a diversity of other grape varieties, showcased in the exemplary Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris, a rich, textural wine with excellent fruit concentration, and the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay with its mineral-driven wine style, showcasing complex aromas of lemon rind, gun smoke and brioche.
Striking terroir statements can also be found in Villa Maria’s Single Vineyard Pinot Noir from Marlborough. The Seddon Pinot Noir is grown on the southern side of the Awatere River and is recognised for producing distinctive red cherry and raspberry flavours with savoury notes of bay leaf. In contrast, Taylors Pass Pinot Noir, sourced from gravel and silt soils on the northern bank of the Awatere River, is lean and nimble, fliting between blackberry and tart plum notes.
Each Villa Maria Single Vineyard site is chosen having long-produced the most exceptional wines that capture the vitality and variety of New Zealand’s many great grape growing areas and their affinity to multiple varieties.
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