Wine Review - 2009 Villa Maria Pinot Noir: Such A Great Example Of NZ Pinot

So, we were picking up some groceries and decided to get a bottle of wine to have with dinner.  We went to the NSLC Port of Wines store in Bedford.  As we walked the aisles a nice lady came over and asked us if we would like to sample some wines from Villa Maria in New Zealand along with some sushi.  She had us at sample but the sushi was a bonus.

Behind the counter was Justin Harrison who is a Brand Ambassador for Villa Maria Estate Wines.  He is a Kiwi who recently relocated to Vancouver.  He gave us a great description of the wines and the efforts that Villa Maria is making in terms of sustainability in their production as well as the awards and accolades the winery has recently received.  Fascinating stuff and he defintely is a great Brand Ambassador.  So good in fact we walked away with their 2009 Pinot Noir ($24.99) and their 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($19.99).  Though to be honest once we tasted the wines it wasn't a hard sell.

We decided to have the Pinot Noir with dinner, which was BBQ Rib Steak and Grilled Scallops.  The Pinot was fantastic with both.  Typical of Pinot Noir, it is a light wine with a lot of complexity.  Justin was kind enough to give us a description of the wine making efforts with use of the terms whole-bunch masceration and gravity fed but we were busy stuffing our faces with Hamachi House sushi so we admit we only took in parts of what he was saying.  That said, he was vey clear on their efforts to make great wines that they have their winery in Auckland just 10 minutes from Eden Park where I saw the All Blacks beat the South Africa Springboks in 2001.  Very cool.  We have had a commentary on New Zealand Wines which you can read here

Back to the Pinot.

For what would be considered a thinner wine, it really sticks to the glass when you swirl it.  The 'legs' that form do take their time flowing back down the glass which is interesting (at least for us). The nose is grassy and very familiar NZ Pinot.  Herbaceous and warm it really makes you want to drink it.  There is almost a cocoa note in there and just a touch of vanilla which was from the hint of oak the wine was exposed to (according to Justin).

The flavours are again familiar Pinot tastes but are very interesting and delicous.  Sour cherries absolutely dominate but there is a light and pleasant pipe tobacco flavour that comes in underneath.  It is an elegant wine that really would pair well with any type of food (sushi included).  At $25 locally, the price point is pretty common for other NZ Pinots and this is an exception example.  We also sampled the rest of the Villa Maria wines and the Sauv Blanc is outstanding (but that is for another day).

This Pinot Noir is a Buy recommendation and is worth the bump up to $25 from our usual budget per bottle.  We highly recommed this wine and we may need another bottle to see if it makes our short list for Wine of the Year.....which it may.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Fantastic looking Pinot Noir...light and clear with an unexpected thickness in the glass 4.5
Smell (0-5) Grassy and herbaceous with a fruity undertone...really great. 4.5
Taste (0-10) Sour cherries and light pipe tobacco are the predominant flavours for this fantastic tasting and complex Pinot Noir. 8.75
  Total: 17.75 / 20

Such a great wine and worth the money. Buy it....but it now.

Keep on drinking!

Chris & Shannon


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