Trophy for Champion Merlot – New Zealand International Wine Show 2020
Trophy for Champion NZ Bordeaux Red – New Zealand International Wine Show 2020
Double Gold Medal – New Zealand International Wine Show 2020
Gold Medal – Hawkes Bay Wine Awards 2020
What a lineup of awards! This must be the best value NZ red on the market and reflects the combination of Villa Maria's access to quality fruit and great winemaking.
Winery notes (2019 Vintage)
"This deeply coloured Merlot displays perfumed aromas of dark plum, violets and dried herbs, with complexing oak spice characters. A medium-bodied, smooth and approachable palate follows with sweet fruit, supple tannins and moreish acidity.
2019 was an exceptional Hawkes Bay vintage, particularly for reds. Moderate yields combined with warmer than average temperatures and dry conditions encouraged fruit across the region to achieve optimum ripeness and maintain excellent condition through to harvest. This wine is a blend of Villa Maria's Gimblett Gravels vineyards, where free draining soils temper vine vigour, resulting in low yields of ripe and concentrated fruit.
Once destemmed and crushed to open-top fermenters the grapes were inoculated with several strains of yeast and fermented at 30 degrees C. Post fermentation the parcels were pressed to oak barriques, 20% new, for 12 months maturation. The wine was blended, egg white fined and filtered to bottle."
4 ½ Stars & Best Red Wine Buy of the Year, Michael Cooper (2019 Vintage)
"Offering outstanding value, this Gimblett Gravels red was matured for a year in French oak barriques (15 per cent new). Deeply coloured, with a fragrant, berryish, spicy bouquet, it is mouthfilling and supple, with concentrated, ripe blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, oak complexity, and a long, very harmonious finish.
Vino Fino, a prominent, specialist wine retailer in Christchurch, praises Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2019 as ‘the best value red in New Zealand’ – and I agree. Well worth cellaring, it’s already a delicious mouthful."
5 Stars & 93/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, September 2020 (2019 Vintage)
"Showing gorgeous blackcurrant and dark plum notes with bay leaf, vanilla and spicy oak nuances, the wine offers excellent weight and intensity with refinement as well as classic structure and persistency. Harmonious, stylish and very appealing. At its best: now to 2026."
NZIWS 2020 (2019 Vintage)
"Bright deep crimson in the glass. The bouquet emanates dark plums, black cherries, allspice and lovingly polished French oak in a silky textured palate. It's beautifully crafted, medium to full-bodied, red fruit vibrancy balancing the polished savoury notes and a touch of chocolate and anise on the firm yet succulent finish."
Reviews for the 2018 vintage below…
5 Stars & 95/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review (2018 Vintage)
“Moderately dense and subtly succulent merlot with ripe plum, blackberry, cassis with a suggestion of fresh herb flavours. A seductively smooth, elegant red that is delicious now.”