The Villa Maria vineyard started in 1961 when George Fistonich, at the age of 21, leased 5 acres of land from his father in Auckland, New Zealand. His first harvest of grapes the following year, in 1962, saw him produce his first wine under the Villa Maria name. In the 1980s, Villa Maria instigated the first grape grower bonus where grapes were no longer paid for based on quantity but on the quality of the grape. Export began in 1988 and the winery became an accredited member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) in 1995. The new Marlborough winery opened in 2000 and the following year, Villa Maria decided to move 100% to screw caps and became a cork-free zone. In 2009, George Fistonich was awarded the country’s first Knighthood for services to the New Zealand wine industry. The brand has continued to evolve since that day in 1961, from that single handed business, to a company that operates from three sites in Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, employs over 250 personnel and exports wine to over 50 countries worldwide, whilst still remaining a family owned business.
This 2014 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc produced from grapes sourced from vineyards across the Marlborough region has a beautiful, very pale straw colour and an incredibly fresh smell. Close your eyes and inhale the citrus undertones of the acidic fruits. Raise the glass to your mouth and savour the sharpness of the gooseberries, the citrus notes and the balance of melon and passionfruit. It’s the perfect accompaniment to white meat and fish so we chose to serve it with my Chicken and Leek Stroganoff. They say that you should never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink. Well, in reply to that, I say buy two bottles of this so there’s plenty left to drink and enjoy before, during and after you’ve cooked and eaten.
I wish 2015 to be happy, healthy and prosperous for you all. I raise my glass to you all. Cheers!
I was sent a voucher with which to purchase a bottle of white wine. I chose the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc currently priced at £11.25 (Price as at 15/12/2014).