What’s in the glass tonight March 12th – Riesling

VM CS Riesling 2007

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling Marlborough 2007 – $

One of my favourite wines from one of my favourite producers. Enough said.

Pale green straw colour. 11.5% alc.

Clear and crisp and expansive aromas of citrus and apple. So open, so appealing!

So much life in the mouth! Crisp citrus and crunchy green apples. Austere and of-minerals on attack. Sweet through the mid-palate. A long finish. Still so zingy and fresh. Aging slowly under scfrewcap. There is another 10 years in this wine. Pity I don’t have another.

Highly Recommended 94 Points

What’s in the glass tonight February 9th – Syrah


Sileni Cellar Selection Syrah Hawkes Bay 2016 – $

Deep magenta colour. 12.5% alc. A value quaffer. L quite likes their Cabernet Franc Rosé.

This wine shows simple, soft fruit on the nose, with an itch of white pepper.

Soft ripe red plum flavours, medium tannins. Uncomplicated, and finishes long. Well-made for the price.

Commended  – 84 points


What’s in the glass tonight September 2nd – Merlot

Villa Maria CS Organic Merlot 2014

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Organic Merlot Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$

This wine was awarded a gold medal at the recent 2016 Bragato Wine Awards. Geoff Kelly highly praised the previous vintage, which I never managed to hunt down to taste, so when this appeared in the shops I defo wanted to give it a go.

The fruit was sourced from the certified organic Joseph Soler vineyard in Hawkes Bay.

Inky scarlet colour. 13% alc.

Soft taut savoury dark fruit on the nose. Dense, with cedar and boxwood and cardboard. Smells sweet with vanilla.

Soft fruit in the mouth. Ripe enough. Good fruit weight and depth. Fine tannins. Enough acid to keep things interesting. Other thoughts – warmth, elegance, studied ripeness. I suspect not as ripe as the lauded ’13.

Far too young now, this will look really good from another 3-4 years in bottle, benefitting from the time for the flavours to develop and marry up together. Ideally wait until 2024 and appreciate its class.

90 points

What’s in the glass tonight February 11th – Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon

Villa Maria CS Merlot Cab Sav 2010

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2010  – $

This is one of my favourite New Zealand wines. It is reliable, interesting, flavoursome and great value. Amongst our best wines dollar-for-dollar. And I bought a bunch back in ’12 and have started to open them up…

Dark plum magenta. 13.5% alc.

Savoury dark fruit aromas. Vanilla and spice, pine boxwood, faded dark red roses.

Warm red fruits to taste. Soft, lots of vanillin, chocolate and licorice. Still fiery medium-grained tannins. Hot on the back palate. A long and smoky finish.

Enveloping, rewarding. A good entry-level red cellarable wine.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight January 15th – Chardonnay

Villa Maria CS Chardonnay 2010

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay Marlborough 2011 – $$

Pale Gold colour. 13.5% alc.

A big nose. Cashew, honey, peach, pear. Warmth that cloaks a backbone of citrus. Poised, Refined.

In the mouth, I see lean golden fruit and citrus flavours. The wine is linear and long, graceful and powerful. There are nutty, crunchy characters on the mid-palate and a strong line of acidity at the finish.

The nose shows some great development in a short time. There isn’t enough fruit weight or overall acidity to make this a very long-lived example, but it does what it does when it did very well. (smiley face!)

VG 4

Calling in the debts: What’s in the glass tonight February 2nd

Villa Maria CS Syrah Gimblett 2007 pool room

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Syrah Gimblett Gravels 2007 – $$$

One of best Syrah’s of that year, according to Cuisine Magazine in 2009.

I started my cellar collection then, and based my first four purchases on their recommendations. This is bottle No. 2 in my Little Red Cellar Book.

I opened bottle no. 4 (a Palliser Riesling) two years ago I think, and still have bottles 1 and 3 waiting their turn (both Gimblett Gravels ‘07 Syrahs). But I can’t keep them all under the house forever. I have to start calling in the debts and drinking these beauties…

This wine is inky carmine in colour. 14 %. Gorgeous bouquet of soft ripe red fruits, voilets, lots of vanilla and fresh baking notes. I could sniff this all day.

In the mouth it is smooth and balanced – ripe luscious soft black plums – great extract and density, just what I am looking for in a cool-climate syrah. Medium tannins. Long finish and mouthcoating. Top stuff.

Outstanding. 5

My drinking year is looking up.

If aliens ever invade

Villa Maria CS Dry Riesling 2013

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Dry Riesling Marlborough 2013 – $$

If aliens ever swoop down upon us from the heavens, they will not be coming for our oil, our water or our flesh, but for our wine. It’s always after 5pm somewhere in the cosmos.

Aliens may possess anti-gravity, droids and fearsome implacable intelligence, but they won’t have Beaune, the Barossa or Marlborough…

In my opinion, Riesling duels with Pinot Noir for the title of the planet’s finest wine variety. It is the Queen of Wines, the perfect aperitif. It would be the first taken aboard…

So here I am, mixing all four alien attractants together – sea water, sausages, olive oil and Villa Maria Dry Riesling – at a BBQ down at our local beach. The sun is shining, the water is warm, life is great!

The wine is a bright straw colour in the glass. 12.5%.

Bright fragrant nose. Storied, typical varietal ‘tang’. Nose of lychees. ‘Vinous’. There is that familiar ‘catch’ in the back of the nostrils. Makes memories.

In the mouth – ripe and fresh. Bags of citrus zing. Lemons, mandarins. Luscious. So much zest and character! A mouthwatering finish. Quite astounding in its way. BTVG 4+

I have loved this wine since ages ago. Elite Gold Medal winner – Air NZ Wine Awards 2014

What’s in the glass tonight December 15th

Villa Maria CS Marlb Chardonnay 2010 pool room

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay Marlborough 2010 – $$

I’m giving the ‘O’ series Reidel Chardonnay glasses their first serious workout…

Golden colour in the glass. 13.5% alcohol.

Elegant, refined bouquet. Golden stonefruits, restrained sense of oak, vanilla, mealy aromas and summer hay, signalling a complexity of tastes to follow…

In the mouth, biscuity and rich fruit, balanced acidity and oak. Lively on attack, and creamy and taut on the mid palate with complex multiple further layers of flavour behind. It has the body to hold up and exploit a little age, and shows not a hint of oxidation. An exemplary wine, superb.

I am so glad when a bottle goes through my cellar and comes out tasting like this! Outstanding 5

What’s in the glass tonight July 1st

Villa Maria CS Marlb Chardonnay 2013

Cheap 2013 Chardys: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 – $$

It had to happen eventually, like bears and woods, where I review the latest incarnation of the iconic VM CS Chardonnay from Marlborough. I have written about the previous three vintage releases, so I am not going to back out now.

High hopes for this.

Light gold. 13.5%. Strong peaches on bouquet; vanilla; oak. Warm honey touches to taste. Lots of oak too. Medium weight. Noticeable tannins. Reasonable ripe fruit weight. Elegant. Perhaps a little too much oak. Not sure it will improve over time, but I daresay I will be trying a few more bottles over the coming twelve months so I can test my theory out then.4

What’s in the glass tonight March 26th

Villa Maria CS Marlb Chardonnay 2012

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2012 – $$

I feel the blogging year doesn’t get into the swing of it until I have written about a Villa Maria wine. I just love what these guys do.

No exception here. Bright yellow. 13.5%. Gorgeous nose of ripe peaches and tropical mangoes. It is buttery and mealy and toasty-pinenutty to taste. Well balanced with an delicious citrus edge. It disappears in the glass in an instant…

A full-flavoured Chardy at a compelling price, esp. when on special. 4+