Villa Maria 2013 and 2012 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
2013 is now being hailed as one of the outstanding Hawke’s Bay vintages ever for the Bordeaux varieties. There’s no doubt any producer worth his or her salt will make a success of it. I’ve already reviewed the Villa Maria ‘Cellar Selection’ Organic Merlot 2013 highly (click here to see). Here, I review its junior sibling, the ‘Private Bin’ release.
However, 2012 was one of the most challenging vintages with a cold and wet growing season. It may stand to reason that the earlier Merlot would fare better than the late ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. This is generally the case, and there are many creditable wines made from Merlot in 2012. Here, I review the ‘Cellar Selection’ Merlot/Cabernet blend which includes declassified ‘Reserve’ Merlot material. However, Villa Maria interpreted that certain parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon had the quality to meet the criteria for ‘Reserve’ status bottling, due to the classical expression and completeness of the fruit. So it was a surprise indeed for many to see the release of a Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Cabernet/Merlot in 2012. I review this wine here too. www.villamaria.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Villa Maria ‘Private Bin’ ‘Organic’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2013Merlot from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 30-Jul-2014Full, very dark, purple-ruby colour, youthful in appearance. The nose is fresh and up-front with aromatic, primary red berry fruits alongside plum and curranty notes. The density and concentration of the nose grows, revealing some whole berry jam and confectionary elements with aeration. Medium-full bodied, full and plump flavours of dark red plums and curranty fruit are framed by significant tannin extraction. The mouthfeel is fulsome, dry and grainy from the tannins, and the structure and texture prevail. Background acidity keeps the wine fresh and lively, and enhances the nuances of spice and violetty perfumes on the finish. This is a plummy flavoured Merlot contained within a well-structured, dry-textured palate. Serve with casseroles and slow-cooked game meat over the next 3-4 years. 100% Merlot, predominantly from the ‘Joseph Soler’ vineyard, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine undergoing micro-oxygenation with 45% aged in seasoned oak. Certified BioGro organic. 16.5+/20 Jul 2014 RRP $15.99
Villa Maria ‘Cellar Selection’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Merlot from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 30-Jul-2014Very dark, deep, black-hearted purple-ruby colour. This has a softly concentrated and dense nose of ripe black plums, black and red currants and harmonious layers of dark herbs, earth and oak spices that unfold in waves to fill the nose. Medium-bodied, smoothly layered flavours of red berry fruits, spicy plums, currants and cedary oak are entwined and flow effortlessly on a velvety-textured palate. The acidity is soft, enhancing the roundness, and fine-grained tannins carry the wine to a dry, gentle finish. This is a very smooth, fine-and velvety textured Merlot-blend with spicy and cedary oak-infused plummy fruit. Match with Middle Eastern lamb dishes over the next 5+ years. 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec, fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 34% new oak. 18.0/20 Jul 2014 RRP $18.50
Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2012Cabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 30-Jul-201488% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot from the Gimblett Gravels, 61% ‘Twyford’ 32% ‘Ngakirikiri’ and 7% Omahu Gravels’, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 48% new French oak barrels. Very full, black-red colour with purple hues, near impenetrable. The bouquet is elegantly proportioned with densely packed aromas of ripe blackcurrants, dark red plums, earth and minerals, revealing black olive, cassis, fennel and liquorice complexities. Medium-full bodied, concentrated flavours of blackcurrants, fennel herb and cassis form a deep core with plenty of drive and linearity. The oaking is integrated and adds sweet nuances to the fruit depth. Soft acidity and very fine-grained tannin extraction lend a roundness and smooth flow to the mouthfeel, and the wine carries to a very long and sustained finish of blackcurrants and dark herbs. This is an elegant, but deeply concentrated, fine-grained Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine with excellent length. Match with roast lamb over the next 6-8 years. 18.5-/20 Jul 2014 RRP $50.00