In a nutshell: An intensely tropical and tangy New Zealand Sauvignon Blacn from the South Island's Marlborough region.
The lowdown: Villa Maria was one of the early New Zealand producers to gain prominence in the UK and, as their regular awards testify, are still right up there. This Sauvignon Blanc, from their 'Private Bin' collection is one of their benchmark wines and a perennial favourite. The fruit for it is sourced from a mix of warmer Wairau Valley vineyards, for richness and tropical flavours, and Awatere Valley sites which provide the crisp acid structure and pungent herbal aromatics. The outcome is a classic Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc with a myriad of flavours dominated by gooseberry and passionfruit together with fresh citrus and herbaceous aromas.
When to drink: This is classiic Kiwi Sauvignon that's great just by itself and will suit fish, shellfish and mild creamy cheeses down to the ground.
Founded in 1961 by Sir George Fistonich, Villa Maria remains 100% family owned and has claimed the title of New Zealands Most Awarded Winery on more than forty occasions. The story of how he got there began when he told his Dad that he'd decided to quit a career in carpentry to try his hand at making wine. He got his ftaher to lease him five acres of land of which he planted one acre with grapes and started making wine under the name 'Villa Maria'. Since those first cuttings took hold in the soil out in Mangere, near Auckland, Sir George has been determined to be at the cutting edge of quality winegrowing which is something he's demonstably achieved. And though all the growth they've achieved their philosophy remains best decribed by comments Sir George made a few years ago. - "Uppermost in my mind as we grow is that we should maintain the principles with which we started over 50 years ago: the pursuit of quality, innovation and passion for a particular style that is New Zealand. Above all, we want to make wines that everyone can enjoy, everywhere."