The pair of Villa Maria Pinot Noirs
The pair of Villa Maria Pinot Noirs

In 2012, 2013, 2014, and earlier this year, I have shared with you the history and success of Villa Maria Estate, which is also detailed at this link. It is no surprise that the quality of these wines continues to impress at great price points. Therefore, when I was asked to participate in my fifth Villa Maria Twitter tasting, “First Sip of Fall,” on November 4, 2015, I had to say yes.

For those unfamiliar with the different offerings, the Private Bin line is described as “approachable, consistent, and excellent value,” while the Cellar Selection line is “intensely flavored, elegant, food-friendly wine.” The Twitter tastings allow participants to taste in the comfort of their own homes, while interacting online with Marlborough winemaker, Josh Hammond, and the moderators. During this tasting, we had the opportunity to taste the Private Bin and Cellar Selection Pinot Noirs.

2014 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Private Bin, Marlborough, New Zealand
2014 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Private Bin, Marlborough, New Zealand

2014 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Private Bin, Marlborough, New Zealand (sample, SRP $14.99)
The grapes for this pinot noir are hand and machine harvested. The fermentation process includes both cultured and native yeasts. The wine is aged in both stainless and used, more neutral French oak barrels for 10 months, which allows the fruit to take center stage. This pinot noir is young and delightful, with aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry, cinnamon, and warm baking spices. The mouthfeel is soft, the tannins fine, and the acidity lively.

Specifications:
Vineyards: Awatere and Wairu Valleys
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 13.5%
pH: 3.63
Total Acidity: 5.7 g/l
Residual Sugar: 0.4 g/l

2013 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Cellar Selection, Marlborough, New Zealand
2013 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Cellar Selection, Marlborough, New Zealand

2013 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Cellar Selection, Marlborough, New Zealand (sample, SRP $19.99)
The production process for this pinot noir is similar to the 2014, such as the use of different yeast types and spending 10 months in more neutral French oak barrels. However, the wine is post macerated for an additional 3-5 days to soften the tannins, then pressed, and none of it is aged in stainless steel. Because of these treatment variances, this pinot noir is the darker, older sibling of the 2014. Both the color and the mouthfeel are richer. On the palate, the red berry flavors are more intense and concentrated, and enhanced by a bit of smokiness, spice, and a mature balance of tannin and acid.

Specifications:
Vineyards: Awatere and Wairu Valleys
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 13.5%
pH: 3.69
Total Acidity: 5.6 g/l
Residual Sugar: None

During the tasting, I wrote something like, “Villa Maria feels like family,” because we frequently get together online, like a virtual family reunion. Therefore, it’s not surprising that I’ve chosen both the Villa Maria Private Bin and Cellar Selection Pinot Noirs for this edition of Beth’s Smart Sip, two great choices for the holidays that are both pleasing to the palate and the wallet.

Happy sipping!
Beth

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