Wednesday, 07 March 2012.
A tasting of Villa Maria wines for Cambridge University Wine Society, led by Fiona Mottershaw of Hatch Mansfield, Villa Maria's UK agent. Wines are widely stocked by national retailers Majestic and Waitrose Wine
2011 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc
Tropical nose, passion fruit, maybe guava, even white stone fruits; but theres a wet stones, pebbles by the river nose too; quite muted and only a touch leafy, which I must say is most unexpected for a NZ Sauv Blanc. Fresh acidity, clean and simple fruit on the palate, citrus; not particularly generous on the fruit front, bit mean.
2011 Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Cooked (not raw) asparagus; vegetal, really aggressive and overwhelmingly so; also over-ripe / slightly rotten stone fruits; weird nose, quite off putting and not attarctive to my liking. Palate is fatter, vibrant yet generous acidity, quite filling; more passion fruit and tropical fruits showing on the palate; decent intensity of fruit.
2011 Private Bin Riesling
Lemon, maybe some apples, slight air-freshener like spritz, really hard to pick the nose. Fat lemons on the palate, width, acidity is generous and is the most dominant thing and as a result feels a bit aggressive and mouth contorting.
2011 Private Bin Gewurztraminer
Apple, elderflower, white flower, maybe lychee and passion fruit, also spritz on the nose. Not much by way of acidity, elderflower and apple carries through, touch of spice at the end; unfortunately rather flat, the fruit is unremarkable and rather insipid.
2010 Cellar Selection Chardonnay
Nose is mostly butter, creamy oak; almost quite sweet. Palate is quite large and generous, decent fruit concentration; no savoury touches (unexpected given the overtly oaky nose), its only white fruits. Good fruit hit at the beginning but disappears quickly.
2008 Cellar Selection Syrah
Black currant, black berries too, cordial but rather cool jamminess; wooden stalky notes, smells heavy, almost oily. Fresh, lots of fruit; bright acidity, really zingy and fresh in style and character; lots of sour blackberries; touch of spice on the finish. Not your heavy fruit bomb this; a cooler, fresher and lighter style showing; a nod towards Northern Rhone perhaps?
2008 Reserve Merlot
Sweet, almost cooked compote, blackberries but very sweet and jammy; dark plums; also smoke there, smells like burnt something. Fresh still, fat acidity; lots of fruit but again its bright and juicy; some tannic grip too. Well put together.
2009 Cellar Selection Pinot Noir
Pale ruby, red berries, cranberry and bright raspberry; also some earthy, farmyard, maybe even stalky; some whiffs of savoury bacon. Bright red fruit on the palate, ripe raspberry and red cherries; fresh acidity and lightness is key here, not extracted, clean lighter style.
2007 Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir
Earthy, deep farmyard and truffled nose; savoury touch, cured meats; sweet spice too; really complex and very Burgundian nose. Fresh still, more depth showing, intense and concentrated; dark cherries, theres sweet oak but integrated. Sweet and pure fruit with a nice savoury touch; very together, really rather long finish. Classy stuff.