In a nutshell: A concentrated and appealing half bottle of New Zealand dessert wine from the Marlborough region.
The lowdown: This delicious dessert wine is made from fruit grown on the valley floor of Marlborough's Wairau Valley where the tight conditions occur to encourage 'Noble Rot' in the fruit which is the key to creating grapes with sugar levels high enough for a dessert wine like this. The fruit is 100% handpicked, fermented in stainless steel and matured on its lees for eight months. The result is a wine where he citrus zestiness of the Riesling is complemented by intense botrytis characteristics of honeyed apricot and mango. It has a crisp, cleansing acidity which balances things perfectly and allows the flavours to persist enjoyably in the mouth.
When to drink: Unctuously sweet it's great with chocolate based desserts and is also a good partner to mild creamy cheeses, or mature strong cheeses.
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."