Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Villa Maria Private Bin 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay

I recently spent an evening with Simon Fell, one of Villa Maria's winemakers (blog post to follow on that) so I'm on a Villa Maria thing right now. A friend of mine met Simon at a different, casual wine tasting event at a local wine shop (he's been making the rounds as it is Villa Maria's 50th Anniversary this year!) and called me to tell me they bought some wine. Included in their purchase was a bottle of the Villa Maria Unoaked Chardonnay, so I had to take them up on their invitation & try it.

I will admit I am not typically a chardonnay fan (I just don't like the grape), but I have had one or two unoaked chardonnay's recently from Washington that impressed me, so I was excited to try this one. The color of this wine was a very golden, light yellow color, with hints of green. It was very pale. The nose was very light, with subtle apple notes and there was a very faint typical chardonnay smell. Overall it was pleasant.

Upon the first sip of this wine, it was very light. It was slightly sweet, with a very faint but prevalent Chardonnay flavor. It was a bit richer & more buttery than a typical US unoaked chardonnay, almost like a cross between a oaked & unoaked. It had a short finish, but an obvious bite toward the end.

Villa Maria has set the standard in New Zealand for wine, becoming the most awarded winery in the entire country. I would say this wine is a good value, and has quality flavors for the price.

ABV: 13.5%
Price: $11.49
Region: Hawkes Bay
Vintage: 2009
Bottle Notes: Gorgeous, ripe stonefruit aromas mean this soft-finishing Chardonnay is sure to please. A particularly good partner for white meats and fish.

Visiting Villa Maria:
I spent almost an entire day at Villa Maria (Auckland) when I was in New Zealand last year. It was absolutely an amazing property, but a little difficult to get to if you don't have a car. I didn't, and had to take a train from downtown, to a bus, then grab a $25 taxi the rest of the way (but it was totally worth it!).

Their Auckland location is just minutes from the airport, and they have another location on the South Island, in Marlborough, just a short drive from the Blenheim airport. These photos are from the Auckland property.

The largest hopper I've ever seen. This is where the grapes are first processed when they've been brought in from picking.

The amazingly spotless lab where the scientific process of winemaking occurs from blending to tasting & everything in between.

I will have more photos to share with you from my trip in my post about Simon Fell. Cheers!

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