Villa Maria and George’s cellar


Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. Villa Maria and George’s cellar comes from The Sunday Sediment.

Sir George Fistonich
Sir George Fistonich

A true New Zealand original, Villa Maria Wine Estates, is over 55 years old, proudly displayed the Glengarry Wineletters from the early days, front and centre. You do have to appreciate what it has taken over the years to get this world-class, family-owned winery to its prestigious position, and you can put it down to the talent, attention to detail, and sheer determination of its founder Sir George Fistonich and his team.

Nick Picone
Nick Picone

Consisting of Villa Maria itself, plus the Vidal, Esk Valley and Te Awa Collection, we tip our hats to the wonderful consistency of quality that exists across VMs entire portfolio. Nick Picone is Villa Marias Group Chief Winemaker and has been with the company for 18 years and counting. A multiple winner of Winemaker of the Year titles and listed as one of the worlds young winemakers to watch, he is an asset to the New Zealand wine industry.

VM Library release Cab Sauv & Merlot/Cab Sauv

The nowadays iconic George Fistonich (that’s ‘Sir George’ to you mere mortals) decided a while ago to start selecting wines from exceptional parcels with a thought to aging them and releasing them in very limited quantities via the cellar door and through selected retailers (that would be us). The wines are at the ultra-premium level, and having been already aged by Villa Maria themselves, they are good to go, and very favourably priced for what’s in the bottle. Villa Maria, then, at its finest. Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

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Air New Zealand’s reveals new wine list

air-new-zealands-reveals-new-wine-list579a9c159e2afWine experts have settled on a list of close to 50 wines, some costing more than $100 a bottle, for Air New Zealand to select from for its business class passengers.

Six of the nation’s leading independent wine experts have selected “The Fine Wines of New Zealand” – to serve in planes from September.

A selection panel comprising Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has agreed on the list for 2016 which includes 47 wines representing seven varietals.

One of the key criteria was consistency, with a wine having had to have been produced to an ”exceptional standard” for a minimum of five consecutive years.

Air New Zealand chief operations officer Bruce Parton says the airline had been a longstanding supporter of New Zealand’s wine industry.

It spends about $6 million a year on wine for passengers throughout aircraft.

“We believe we can help further build awareness and appreciation of these world class wines with international travellers and propel leading New Zealand wineries to even greater commercial success,” Parton said.

The wines would be promoted through its inflight entertainment system, at offshore events and using contacts internationally to help open up key export markets for the wineries should they need this support.

The airline’s specialist inflight wine consultants, who are based in New Zealand, China and the United States, will select wines from the list for serving in business premier cabins. Not all on the list of 47 would make it on board as some do not react well to high altitudes or are available in sufficient quantities.

Parton said it was important that the wines were selected independently of its existing wine programme.

”We look forward to working closely with the wine masters in the coming years to compile this list annually.”

In 2014 Air New Zealand moved to a three-year deal with a single supplier, Villa Maria, in its economy section which upset some in the wine industry, but which the airline said had been part of simplifying the supply chain.

The Fine Wines of New Zealand for 2016:

Aromatics
Felton Road Dry Riesling 2014
Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2015
Framingham F series Riesling Kabinett 2015
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer 2014
Stonecroft Gewürztraminer 2015
Te Whare Ra Toru SV5182 2014
Millton Vineyards Clos de Ste Anne Chenin Blanc 2014
Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris 2014
Dry River Pinot Gris 2014

Pinot Noir
Felton Road Block 3 2013
Burn Cottage 2014
Valli Bannockburn 2014
Rippon Vineyards Tinkers Field 2012
Bell Hill 2012
Ata Rangi 2013
Dry River 2013
Craggy Range Aroha 2013
Kusuda 2013

Bordeaux style
Te Mata Coleraine 2014
Craggy Range Sophia 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013
Esk Valley The Terraces 2013
Stonyridge Vineyard Larose 2014
Church Road Tom 2013

Sauvignon Blanc
Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011
Astrolabe Province 2015
Dog Point 2015
Greywacke 2015
Saint Clair Reserve Wairau 2015
Vavasour 2015

Chardonnay
Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard 2014
Neudorf Moutere 2011
Sacred Hill Riflemans 2014
Dog Point 2013
Felton Road Block 2 2010
Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard 2014

Sparkling
Nautilus NV
Akarua Vintage Brut 2010
Deutz Blanc de Blanc Vintage 2011
Quartz Reef Vintage 2010

Dessert wines
Forrest Wines Botrytised Riesling 2012
Framingham Wines Noble Riesling 2013
Framingham Wines ‘F’ Gewürztraminer 2014

Syrah
Craggy Range Le Sol 2013
Trinity Hill Homage 2013
Bilancia La Collina 2013
Te Mata Bullnose 2014

6:30 AM Friday Jul 29, 2016 | Read more by Grant BradleyNZ Herald

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Hawke’s Bay – NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region

Over thousands of years, 5 major Hawke’s Bay rivers moved and formed valleys and terraces to create over 25 different soil types from clay loam, to limestone, to sandy and free draining gravels and red metal.

Read all about NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region or download and read later.

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Looking Back – Journey to the Cellar – March 2015

journeycellar… and a quiet night with friends

The evening was excellent and the presenters were superb. Well, we have to say that – don’t we?

Some committee, and club members, presented the wines for the evening which mainly came from the Cub’s cellar. Whilst numbers attending was a little disappointing, those who were there thought it was a quality evening.

The evening provided the following; the Quaffer was a Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Wayne did a brief rundown on this wine before we proceeded with the rest of the tasting).

Following this we had the following selection; Esk Valley Chenin Blanc – (Michael Kuus presented); Esk Valley Verdelho – (Murray presented) These wines were selected on the basis that many members will probably not have tried them. We then enjoyed a Haythornthwaite Rose presented by Mark himself. After this Derek gave a brief outline of how he developed his cellar, and how the Cellar Club wine is kept.

After a short break we enjoyed a Shot in the Dark Cab Sav/Shiraz 2010, and followed this with a comparison of the Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz 2006, and an Alpha Domus Barnstormer Syrah 2012. The wines were presented by your editor who discussed the connection between Canadian interests and Quarisa Wines in NSW in the development of the “Shot in the Dark” label; the Australian use (or was it misuse) of South East Australia as a geographical indication (GI) for wine sales in Europe and the rising importance of Heathcote as an Australian wine region. Interesting feedback was that some thought the Rufus Stone was passed its best while others preferred it to the Barnstormer. A great night.

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Journey to the Cellar – March 2015

“The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley” – Robert Burns

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members no charge, Guests $10

Presenter: No formal presentation

Background

Indeed, as Robbie was well aware, the best laid plans often go astray and they have gone astray again for us this month. Unfortunately, because of changes at Auburn, they are unable to attend. Other options have been pursued but we have been unable to get a suitable replacement.

This does however give us an opportunity to use the Club’s cellar for the purpose it was designed. This Wednesday we samples some of our cellar stock including:

  • 2012 Waimea Sauvignon Blanc
  • Haythornthwaite Rose
  • 2010 Esk Valley Chenin Blanc
  • 2010 Esk Valley Verdelho
  • 2010 Shot in the Dark Cab Sav/Shiraz
  • 2006 Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz
  • 2012 Alpha Domus Barnstormer Syrah

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Villa Maria wines – Oct 2014

villamariaDate: Wednesday 8 October 2014

Time: 7:45 – 9:45 pm

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members $12 Guests $16

Presenter: Jonathan (Jono) Hamlet, Manager and Viticulturist, Joseph Soler Vineyard

Details: Villa Maria Estate Viticulturist Jono Hamlet presented a range of VM’s organic range of wines including:

  • 2011 Private Bin Organic Gewürztraminer
  • 2013 Private Bin Organic Merlot
  • 2013 Cellar Selection Organic Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2013 Cellar Selection Organic Merlot
  • 2012 Single Vineyard Ihumatao Organic Verdelho
  • 2013 Single Vineyard Templar Sauvignon Blanc

We were also be treated to some more interesting varieties from some of the 15 varieties of ‘barrel samples’ produced across the Hawkes Bay. We won’t be tasting them all on the night but these will provide us with an interesting wine experience.

A bit about Jono

Jono plays an integral part in managing Villa Maria’s 65 hectare Joseph Soler Vineyard in the Hawkes Bay, 21 hectares of which are fully certified with BioGro. His role involves the challenge of managing the vineyards organically, while meeting the economic and quality parameters set out by the company and industry.

The Joseph Soler Vineyard currently produces 15 grape varieties and supplies to all three company wineries, Villa Maria Estate (Auckland), Vidal (Hawkes Bay), and Esk Valley (Hawkes Bay).

Over the next five to seven years, Jonathan will take the lead role in bringing the entire Joseph Soler Vineyard (44 hectares remaining) into organic production.

Seeing the opportunities in viticulture, he spent several years growing grapes on Waiheke Island before migrating south to the Hawkes Bay, to work for CJ Pask and Ngatarawa wineries. He was later employed by Villa Maria to manage the organic vineyard, Joseph Soler.

Jono is the vice president of the NZ Organic Winegrowers Association.

Tasting review

Jono’s roadshow show was a polished display of art, chemistry, showmanship combined with facts and superb organic wines.

What was of great interest was the breadth of Jono’s knowledge of viticulture, winemaking and the impacts and trends he is apart of at Villa Maria. This includes moving the Joseph Soler Vineyard from a traditional vineyard to organic, about 5% of total Villa Maria wine production, and the biodynamic trends Villa Maria have set in the wine industry.

Passionate about his role at Villa Maria, Jono expressed the impact that terroir has on vine growth and took his time in explaining in some detail how this has impacted on the various Villa Maria vineyards in all wine growing regions of New Zealand.

The wines selected for the night showcased a small proportion of Villa Maria’s stable of wines. The quaffer, Gewürztraminer, was fairly typical of the varietal. The two Sauvignon Blancs again typical except the Templar very refined and is a likable type for those not as passionate about Sauv’s as some. Villa Maria is one of only a few vineyards to produce Verdelho in New Zealand. Another vineyard is Esk Valley, one of Villa Maria’s other brands.

Jono then produced two barrel samples, a Chenin Blanc and a Merlot, which were both unfined and cloudy. For many members it was their first taste of barrel samples and a great way to understand the development of wine from barrel to bottle to glass to lips. A unique and a great touch to the night. The night wasn’t finished there.

From Jono’s box of tricks he produced a beautiful Chenin Blanc sticky. Superb considering where it came from. After a wet summer in 2012 left the Chenin Blanc underdeveloped Jono left the grapes on the vine until May. By this time there was not a lot left to the grapes but wow what depth of flavour. Shame it was in such a small amount.

Thanks Jono and Villa Maria.

 

Want to find more about Villa Maria? Have a look at the playlist.

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In the News: May 2013

Some internal Club “News” this month.

Our President and Secretary, (with a nominated driver, ie Mr Secretary) embarked on a journey fraught with danger over the recent holiday weekend. The following is Anne’s account of the trip. I don’t know how they coped.

Easter in Hawke’s Bay, or……..The Intrepid Trios’ Travels

Mission

To experience as many wineries (and other delights), in the Hawke’s Bay area as possible in 4 ½ days over the Easter period.

Participants

The manager – Jenny Jebson
The driver – Richard Jebson
The navigator – Anne Megget

March 28th

The trio set out from Grenada Village in the morning, following State highway 1 over the Rimutaka Hill. A slight detour to Parkvale mushrooms and then the first stop – Gladstone, where a sticky was purchased to be consumed with Hot cross buns.

Arrived safely in Napier, found the information center, supermarket and accommodation and settled in; had a lovely meal at an Italian restaurant, and an early night.

March 29th

Good Friday – Slight hitch – most of the Christian world was shut for today. We have a good cooked breakfast, just in case we can’t find anywhere open, and go for a drive anyway, to find Unison Winery open for lunch but not tastings. Discovered they have a very nice sparkling rose, and a most substantial platter. Drove to the top of Te Mata Peak, saw from there that Craggy Range was open so dropped in.

March 30th

Slight deviation from wine-ing to visit a Book Fair, as Richard has managed to leave all his reading material at home and has already finished one of Anne’s chick lit books. Went to Crab Farm, Esk Valley, Eskdale, had tastings and a lovely lunch at Linden Estate, Visited Mission Estate for a look around, Church Road. Wonderful dinner at Mission Estate.

March 31st

Easter Day – Hastings Farmers Market, fruit, olive oil, sausages, all very good; Vidals, The Beach House, tiny place, very rustic, very nice riesling, and late harvest riesling, Te Awanga, Elephant Hill, lovely statue, restaurant very up market, but not much appealed in the wine department . Lunch at Clearview table in the vineyard, exceptional afternoon, good, good food, good wine, a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon among the vines.

April 1st

April Fools Day – not that any of us remembered ! Off to the Gimlet Gravels – went to Unison vineyard for a tasting this time, Te Awa Farm, Sileni – wonderful merlot infused chocolate, Abbey Cellars, Alpha Domus, Trinity Hill was closed – for the whole of Easter, lunch at Ash Ridge, wine and olive oil tasting at Salvare Estate, and way out on the Taihape Road, De La Terre

April 2nd

Up bright and early (ok it was about 8.30am), and engaged in a combined house cleaning and car packing exercise; then off to Havelock North. Called into Advintage and said hello to ‘Mac’ and then went Te Mata and Black Barn and then headed home.

 

In the News: Feb 2013: Australian Young Winemaker of the year

Australian Young Winemaker of the year – The Wine Society 2012

Nick Picone, Villa Maria Estate, Auckland.

Nick had an early start in winemaking, completing his first vintage when 18 at Esk Valley Estate in Hawkes Bay. After completing his BA in wine science, He became Villa Maria’s youngest Assistant winemaker at 24 with a shift to the South Island’s Marlborough region.

2004 saw Nick awarded the Yalumba scholarship to attend the Len Evans tutorial in the Hunter Valley, which initiated his presence in NZ wine judging circles. In 2006 Nick moved to Auckland, becoming Villa Maria’s Senior Auckland Winemaker in 2008, from thereon overseeing Villa’s north island production, which primarily comes from Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. Nick has completed 16 vintages including several between California and Italy and his passion lies with Chardonnay and Gimblett Gravels reds.

A career highlight is being awarded joint winner of NZ Winemaker of the year, at the Royal Easter show in 2011. He has two children with his fiancée Mandy, and enjoys playing guitar and sharing good food and wine with family and friends.

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