Villa Maria Private Bin Light Sauvignon Blanc 2014

There is a growing demand for lower alcohol, lighter wines with less calories. Market research has demonstrated the growing importance of this category as consumers are looking for healthier options in drink and food. The New Zealand wine industry has officially recognised this with New Zealand Winegrowers committing $9 million funding towards a government subsidised $17 million programme of research and development in the style. The problem is how do you make such wines with good flavour, mouthfeel and balance naturally? Afterall, one prefers not to make wine with strong intervention, such as de-alcoholisation. The more common approach is to employ fruit of good flavour and phenolic ripeness and low sugar ripeness, fermenting it to the desired lower alcohol levels. Then there’s the skill in achieving balance without the wines being too sweet or too high in acidity, whilst having the depth of flavour. There are other ways of making lower alcohol wines with different parameters, and these styles are now just appearing.

Villa Maria has taken the former method of picking fruit from early ripening vineyards and managing it carefully in the winery, with freshness the aim. Helen Morrison, winemaker in Marlborough admits they’ve only just begun to explore the process. Determining the flavour of a finished wine at time of picking at varying brix levels is part of the equation. In the winey, they’ve extended the skin contact time to gain more aromatics and weight. Here, I review the inaugural Villa Maria ‘Private Bin Light’ Sauvignon Blanc from the 2014 vintage. It is labelled as having 25% less alcohol and lower calories, sitting at 9.0% alcohol. www.villamaria.co.nz


  • Villa Maria ‘Private Bin Light’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014

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