Villa Maria, New Zealand’s finest.
Recently we attended a New Zealand themed dinner, organized by Villa Maria at Kasteel Kerckebosch. The event was composed of a 4-course dinner, paired with New Zealand wines of Villa Maria and hosted by Dutch Master of Wine Cees Van Casteren. During the evening we discussed the development and practices of wines in and from New Zealand.
Wines from New Zealand
It was stated that wines from New Zealand are noted to for their intense and complex aromas, including tropical fruit, citrus and herbal notes. The country’s cool maritime climate, combined with its diverse soil types including gravely soils and organic winemaking techniques, contribute to the distinctiveness of New Zealand’s wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc in particular. So much so that over 85% of wine exported from New Zealand are of the Sauvignon Blanc variety. With areas such as Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Nelson being primary producers and even the regions themselves provide variations of the wine.
Villa Maria, icon of New Zealand
Villa Maria is proudly known as a flagship for New Zealand around the world. Wines are made from fruit grown in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. Three tiers of wine are made, beginning with the affordable Private Bin range and progressing through to Cellar Selection range, then to the high-end Reserve range. With quality being very high across the board.
Villa Maria’s 60-year journey at the forefront of New Zealand’s wine industry has shaped the company as it stands today. Their extensive portfolio is one of the most geographically and stylistally diverse and highly awarded range of premium wines by any New Zealand producer fuelling consumer adoration and success across the globe. Throughout the 1960s Villa Maria was a one-man band and in 1961 at just 21 years old, Sir George Fistonich leased five 5 acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland and started with just an acre of vines. The first wine under the name Villa Maria was in 1962 and was made with grapes harvested from this block. Today, Villa Maria is a globally recognised and adored for bold, expressive and exceptional New Zealand wines.
Food and Wines
A delicious 4 course dinner with accompanying wine from Villa Maria Estate ranging from Private Bin through to Reserve, finishing with the Icon range were showcased from the iconic New Zealand wine regions like Ngakirkiri and Keltern Vineyards.
The night began with welcome drink of sparkling cuvee brut, which was pale straw in colour and gave notes of fresh citrus and floral; there was a nice crispness on the palate with refreshing notes of subtle brioche notes providing richness and complexity. The wine had a long lingering dry finish due to its fine acidity.
Langoustine with burrata, mango and pistachio. Paired with Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Wairau Valley 2022. The fruit was sourced from the prized vineyards throughout the Wairau Valley, which is quintessential Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, presenting powerful passionfruit, fresh herb aromas and explosive tropical palate with textural layered finish.
Scallop, sweet potato, samphire, brioche with truffle vinaigrette; paired with Single Vineyard Taylors Pass, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2020. This wine was classy, and showed lifted aromatics of gooseberry, passionfruit which lead into a pure and concentrated palate with snow pea, nettle and subtle minerality. This was the wine of the night in our opinion.
Lamb, asparagus, garden peas, smoked potato with morels. Paired with Single Vineyard Taylors Pass, Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2019. This wine is from a single vineyard, with strong expression of the Taylors Pass site in Marlborough, showcasing an intense bouquet of ripe juicy blackberries and blueberries with hints of baking spice; on the palate it is harmonious and presents liquorice notes, with black cherries, subtle dried herbs and round velvety tannins.
White chocolate with miso, lychee and coconut. Paired with Villa Marias Reserve Noble Riesling from Marlborough 2021. The wine was super golden in colour and very concentrated flavours of candied citrus, toffee, honeysuckle and marmalade.
It was a spectacular dinner, with interesting wine loving guests hosted by a knowledgeable MW Cees van Casteren. It is clear that New Zealand wines are at huge demand in the European market due to their unique terroir, which results in high quality expressive wines making them so sought after. A fantastic night!
This event was covered by our own Teri Wheeler. We would like to thank Villa Maria, in particular Inna Udartzeva, for putting on such a wonderful and educational evening.