Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Kiwi Sauv Blanc? Really?

I can't say as I know anything about Villa Maria, perhaps a little surprising in that the little medallion label says that it was "Wine Enthusiast" magazine's 2007 New World Winery of the Year. Guess I'll learn a little given this bottle's addition to The List.

1018. 2007 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough - New Zealand)

When you take a look at the glass in the picture, you'd think the deep colour belies the wine's Kiwi heritage. I saw that carmelized colour and immediately thought that the wine might have been oxidized - particularly since it was a 2007 vintage. But neither Boo nor I thought it was oxidized; the acidity was still up front and central and there was still fruit to be found. I doubt the wine was as fresh as it was likely meant to be. But, all the same, I'd be surprised if the wine started out nearly that deep in colour. What makes it even a little more mystifying though is that the bottle was under screwcap. If anything, that should have extended the life and freshness of the wine.

The wine didn't really have any of those trademark characteristics for Kiwi Sauv Blanc. I can tell you that there definitely wasn't any "cat pee" or passionfruit in this glass.

It was all rather surprising given that Villa Maria is apparently one of the leading producers in New Zealand and they, alone, make seven different Sauvignon Blancs. I could see some non-characteristic traits being present in the wine if it saw a non-traditional approach or was sourced from a very specific vineyard, but the Private Bin is pretty much an entry level wine and, as such, would normally be as true to the varietal as you'd expect.

I'd be interested in trying another bottle to see if we just had an uncharacteristic bottle or if this is really what the winery was aiming for. I suppose it should likely be opened a whole lot closer to the release date though.

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