New wines on the market - Part 2

at the Wine Rack

With Christopher Reckord

Thursday, December 15, 2011    

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This week we take a look at two new wines on the market from a New Zealand wine producer called Villa Maria Estate.

Villa Maria was founded in 1961 by Sir George Fistonich who, through his dedication to quality, has led Villa Maria, still a family-owned company, to become the New Zealand wine icon it is today. For Sir George Fistonich, who was passionate from a young age, wine was a central part of his upbringing as his father also made wine in Croatia. Villa Maria has two state-of-the-art wineries, one in Auckland and the other in New Zealand's most famous winegrowing region, Marlborough. The winery has been so successful over these years that it now lays claim to the title of New Zealand's most awarded winery.

Highlights from Villa Maria's achievements include:

o Named one of the world's 50 great wine producers by American magazine Wine Spectator

o Named New Zealand Wine Company of the Year at Australia's Winestate Wine Awards (10 times in 11 years)

o Owner George Fistonich knighted by the New Zealand government for service to the wine industry

o George Fistonich shortlisted as one of 50 prominent figures in the wine industry by UK Wine International Magazine in 2005

o George Fistonich named Ernst & Young 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Villa Maria was the first winery in New Zealand to declare itself a "cork-free zone" and now seals all of their wines with screwcaps. Today, about 90 per cent of all New Zealand wines are sealed with screwcaps. Sustainability and Environmentally friendly practices are very high on Villa Maria's agenda. Villa Maria has been a member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) since its inception in 1995. There are four distinct ranges in the Villa Maria family: Private Bin, Cellar Selection, Reserve or Single Vineyard. So far two wines from the Private Bin range are available in Jamaica.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Fruit for this wine was sourced from vineyards across the Marlborough region. A blend of fruit grown in the Wairau and Awatere Valleys spanning a range of different meso-climates were incorporated.

In their March issue, Wine Spectator award the Villa Maria 2010 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc - 90 points and listed it as a "Smart Buy". The magazine said, it "offers a wonderful mix of pineapple, citrus and passion fruit notes that are ripe, fragrant and terrifically refreshing. A beam of acidity keeps the focus and persistence of flavours, with hints of mineral and white pepper."

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Riesling

Villa Maria's Riesling vineyards are scattered throughout both the Awatere and Wairau Valleys of Marlborough. The vineyards are managed to ensure ripe and clean fruit.

A pure and delicate bouquet of ripe citrus-lime and spring blossom aromas. The palate is beautifully balanced with intense flavours, lovely juicy length and a zest lime finish. A very good dry Riesling.

Do look for these wines on the market while we will continue to seek other interesting wines that are new to Jamaica.

Chris Reckord - Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. He and his wife Kerri-Anne are part owners of Jamaica's only Wine Bar - Bin 26 Wine Bar in Devon House, Kingston. Send your questions and comments to Follow us on




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