Villa Maria ‘Library Release’ 2010 and 2009 Bordeaux-Varietal Releases

Under the instigation of proprietor Sir George Fistonich, the Villa Maria winemakers began selecting wines for a ‘Library Release’ programme. This entailed the identification of parcels of fruit deemed to be of exceptional quality, and had the attributes of being able to develop well with bottle age to show great complexity. The programme was also part of the development of the flagship ‘Ngakirikiri’ Cabernet Sauvignon-based red from the 2013 vintage released last year (click here to see my notes). The Villa Maria viticultural and winemaking team has considerable familiarity with their vineyard sites and the performance of the wines that come from them, and this has given a good indication of the suitability of certain selections of fruit for the making of the ‘Library Release’ wines. The Villa Maria Estates group has a very strong history with their Gimblett Gravels vineyards, thus this region figures in these wines.

I’ve had the privilege of tasting a number of ‘Library Release’ wines, and can say that they figure among some of the best New Zealand wines I have tried. The ‘Library Release’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2010 has been tasted twice, and on last tasting I rated it 20.0/20. It is essentially a super-premium bottling of the ‘Keltern’ (click here to see my review). The ‘Library Release’ Gimblett Gravels Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 I’ve only tasted once, but it rated it 19.5-/20 on that showing.

The wines are vinified separately and undergo their own individual elevage to match their make-up. They are by their nature very limited in production. They are used at the special functions held by Villa Maria, and can be obtained from the cellar door and selected specialist retail outlets or on-premise businesses. Considering that Villa Maria has made these wines as unique bottlings from the outset, and aimed at the very top level of quality, they are relatively affordable in price, not a lot more than the ‘Reserve’ and ‘Single Vineyard’ bottlings. The Villa Maria has done the aging for the consumer is an added bonus. Here, I review the 2010 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, all from the Gimblett Gravels. The 2009s are the first of the ‘Library Release’ wines. www.villamaria.co.nz


  • Villa Maria ‘Library Release’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
  • Villa Maria ‘Library Release’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2009
  • Villa Maria ‘Library Release’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

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