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 (2020 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."
Reviews for the previous vintages below…
Trophy for Champion Merlot – New Zealand International Wine Show 2020 (2019 Vintage)
Trophy for Champion NZ Bordeaux Red – New Zealand International Wine Show 2020 (2019 Vintage)
Double Gold Medal – New Zealand International Wine Show 2020 (2019 Vintage)
Gold Medal – Hawkes Bay Wine Awards 2020 (2019 Vintage)
Gold Medal – Royal Easter Wine Show Awards 2021 (2019 Vintage)
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."
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.”