Winery notes (2019 Vintage)
"Styled to capture the regional essence of Gisborne, this wine offers a complex medley of aromas with hints of tropical fruits, fig and smoky grilled nut characters. The palate is seamlessly textured with a creamy mid-palate, leading to a finish extended by fine acidity. This concentrated and powerful wine retains a harmonious balance in delivery that will appeal for enjoyment upon release, but will ultimately benefit from maturation, continuing to develop intriguing complexity over the next 8-10 years.
McDiarmid Hill is Villa Maria's jewel in the crown Gisborne vineyard, beautifully positioned on an elevated north facing hillside slope in Pututahi. Taking full advantage of the sunlight, dry wind conditions, slightly cooler temperatures and natural water drainage, the additional elevation provides a wonderful advantage for producing this consistently outstanding wine. Select parcels of exceptional Chardonnay were sourced from grower vineyards at several locations on the Gisborne plains. Careful yield management and timely leaf plucking around the bunch zone in all vineyards ensures that desired fruit ripening and quality can be achieved. A blend of predominantly Mendoza, cl95, cl15 and cl548 with unique characteristics provided blending options ideal for building complexity in the wine."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2019 Vintage)
"This wine has for many years been acclaimed as one of the region’s finest Chardonnays. The 2019 vintage was estate-grown in the McDiarmid Hill Vineyard and fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques (52 per cent new). Barrel-aged for 11 months, it is an extroverted, but very age-worthy, wine. Bright, light yellow/green, with a fragrant, smoky bouquet, it is powerful, with deep stone-fruit flavours, showing very good complexity, a strong, toasty oak influence, fresh acidity, and a tightly structured finish. It needs time; best drinking 2022+."
Rated Outstanding & 95/100 Cameron Douglas MS, November 2021 (2019 Vintage)
"Fantastic bouquet ticking all the boxes of aromatic texture, a core of ripe yellow fleshed fruit, citrus, wood spice and a core of complexity with intrigue. Full-bodied, complex, textured, palate refreshing and dry. Flavours mirror the bouquet led by citrus then wood spices, toasty barrel with vanilla and baked goods moments, sea-meal custard and a citrus peel bite. There’s a stony/clay/chalk -like mineral quality adding to the length and charm. An excellent wine with great drinking today and longevity with drinking through to 2029."