Villa Maria: New Zealand Surprises

Villa Maria is one of those ubiquitous labels that you easily recognize, but maybe haven't actually tried.  The sixer of samples that arrived a couple of weeks ago of course contained their workhorse sauv blanc, but there were some surprises in there, too.  Most notable were the two Taylor's Pass bottlings, which are decidedly more upscale than the Marlborough line.  The bubbly sauv blanc was also a first for me; something of a novelty, but one that could easily become dangerous in warm weather sessions.

Following are reviews of my favorites from the bunch - keep an eye out for these.

2017 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Bubbly New Zealand $15
Carbonated sauvignon blanc with all the attendant Kiwi character.  A little shocking at first (bubbles and sauv blanc seem like strange bedfellows), but like grandma used to say, "It's only kinky the first time!" Could be habit forming.

2017 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough $14
Zing, zip, bop, boo, bang! Energy and assertiveness drive taut fruit and acidity in this value porch quaffer. At the same time, there’s no reason why this couldn’t walk down the aisle with a hearty pasta with scallops and shrimp. This is their workhorse sauv blanc that definitely qualifies as a crowd-pleaser BBQ wine.

2017 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Taylor's Pass Vineyard Marlborough $26
A substantial step up in refinement and poise from the regular Sauvignon Blanc and by far my favorite in this lineup. While still honoring the region’s stylistic traits, this bottle is not out to be showy or prove anything. Instead, it confidently expresses elegance and dynamite fruit character in a package that is both inviting and invigorating.

2017 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Taylor's Pass Vineyard Marlborough $42
Restrained, but only at first. Much like it’s vineyard sibling, it’s not out to prove anything, yet still has plenty of stuffing. While the fruit is balanced, round, and beautiful, and the acidity providing framing both structural and delicate, it’s the texture that beguiles. Like warm bath water at the perfect temperature, the supple aspect in the mouth is seductive. Hi tone but airy spices on the periphery add to the complexity in and unobtrusive way. Bravo!