Villa Maria 50th Anniversary Release Syrah 2011

George Fistonich and Villa Maria Estate have released a special bottling of Syrah to commemorate 50 years of winegrowing. George Fistonich established the company when he leased 5 acres (2 ha) of land in Mangere, Auckland, from his father in 1961, releasing his first wine from the 1962 vintage from grapes grown on the property. George and Villa Maria make one of this country’s wine industry legends, and the story has been recounted in the book ‘The Winemaker’ by Kerry Tyack (click here to see my review).

This wine is a further celebration and marker of the milestone. For George, it "commemorate(s) not only [the Villa Maria] Estate but every grape, every bottle and every pair of hands that helped make Villa Maria the New Zealand success story it is today”. The wine is essentially the best red made from the 2011 vintage, and a barrel selection to just over 3 barriques with only 1,000 bottles produced (the bottles actually numbered from 201 to 1,200). Based on the company’s oldest Syrah vines in the Gimblett Gravels, it has been released in a one-off embossed bottle with a collectors’ label. The wine is available for purchase on-line and at the cellar doors. Here is my review of the wine.


  • Villa Maria ‘Anniversary Release’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2011

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