The Villa Maria Icon and Single Vineyard ranges were the focus of a special tasting lunch that was held to mark the 60 years since Sir George Fistonich first started one of the most successful wine brands in the Southern Hemisphere. Chantelle Nicholson’s new restaurant Apricity, a troupe of Maori dancers and a new addition to the Icon range The Attorney 60th Anniversary Pinot Noir were all part of the celebrations. Chef and wine expert Roger Jones had a ringside seat.
“This exceptional parcel of Pinot Noir from the Attorney Vineyard 2019 vintage is truly deserving of its Icon status,” says Helen Morrison, Villa Maria
Back in 1961 Sir George Fistonich leased five acres of land from his father, and planted the seeds for what is today the global Villa Maria brand. From an apprentice carpenter he was to change the image of New Zealand wines especially in the export market.
To mark this epic anniversary, Villa Maria and Hatch Mansfield launched the new Icon Attorney 2019 Pinot Noir, at Chantelle Nicholson’s Apricity restaurant in Dukes Street. The event started with a spectacular traditional Maori welcome, which rocked the room whilst guests were enjoying Taittinger Prelude from magnum.
Villa Maria has a widespread portfolio covering a wide range of regions but here we were concentrating on the Single Vineyard and Icon ranges, highlighting the age-ability of these wines. It was also a chance to highlight multi-award winning New Zealand-born chef Chantelle Nicholson’s veg-forward, sustainable cooking at her new restaurant.
“Apricity is a low waste operation,” Nicholson says. “We have consciously reconsidered everything we do from displaying the menu, how we take orders, how we wash the dishes and who supplies us. British produce is championed, to promote our wonderful makers, growers and farmers, and to ensure flavour is paramount, as well as reducing our outputs.”
Villa Maria Taylors Pass Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2021
This award winning Sauvignon Blanc is tropical, refined, with passion fruit, paw paw, lemon grass explosion all inter mingled with fresh pea pods, crisp raw courgette, fresh focused and moreish. Perfectly uplifted by mini caramelised onion doughnuts.
Villa Maria Keltern Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay, 2020 and 2007
The 2020 is bright clean and focused, white peeled stone fruit, piercing fresh citrus acidity, pink grapefruit, focused with delicate pineapple, nectarines and soft nutty notes, flinty, matchstick, will age beautifully.
The 2007 Keltern Chardonnay is still in a great place, lime forward, white nutty aromatics, with refined citrus curd, creamy and beady, straw, nectarines and a clementine freshness. Highlights how well these Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay age.
Both the Chardonnay’s were matched to sharing platters including some precise cured Chalk stream trout, and an inspiring dish of London red butterhead lettuce salad, miso aioli, pumpkin seed, and crispy kale.
Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir, Marlborough, 2004
Just exceptional, great purity and balance, this elegant red fruited perfumed Pinot is singing, fresh and bright with an amazing delicate refined finish.
Villa Maria The Attorney 60th Anniversary Pinot Noir, Marlborough, 2019
This is a powerful expression of Pinot Noir, complex and layered and needs time, it is an immaculate Pinot, dark black cherries, delicate cocoa and coffee notes, dried herbs, then evolves beautifully. As it ages over the next decade, the dark spices will mellow and present a wine of immense precision, the dark perfumed nose will also gently fade to reveal the complexity and depth of the wine.
Helen Morrison, Villa Maria’s Marlborough Winemaker said “Our passionate pursuit of producing quality grapes in Marlborough ensures this wine represents our tūrangawaewae (sense of place). This exceptional parcel of Pinot Noir from the Attorney Vineyard 2019 vintage is truly deserving of its Icon status.”
Both Pinot’s were matched to charred Devon Pork collar, the sweetness and tenderness of the pork was a perfect match to the bold Attorney.
Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Merlot, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay 2009
Soft and delicate, hints of graphite, violets, sweet victoria plums, damsons and rose buds. Silky with hints of cedar with a fine bilberry finish.
Villa Maria Ngakiriki, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay 2018
This Icon Cabernet Sauvignon is silky smooth, coconut spices, perfumed, violets, cassis, plums and hints of juicy figs, blackberries and spice, tobacco, needs time but a wonderful expression and showcases the quality that can be sourced from Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay.
And finally the day was finished with a voluptuous but clean crisp Villa Maria Reserve Noble Riesling, Marlborough 2021, the purity is sublime, with Roses Lime Marmalade to the fore, with juicy peeled Pear William in the background.