Villa Maria

Owner(s) George Fistonich
Web site
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Villa Maria is one of New Zealand's leading wineries. A family owned New Zealand winery founded in 1961 by its current owner and Managing Director, George Fistonich, Villa Maria is 100% New Zealand owned. Villa Maria has been New Zealand's leading wine award winner, both nationally and internationally since the early 1980's. George Fistonich has been called the "Robert Mondavi of New Zealand." Quality is impressive considering production is at least 500,000 cases per year. Wines are made from vineyards in Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, and Marlborough.

After extensive research in the 1990's, Villa Maria made the decision to introduce Stelvin screwcap closures across all ranges. Villa Maria was the first major wine company in the world to declare the winery a “cork free zone”, with all wines produced as of 2004 sealed with a screwcap. George Fistonich believes the consistency of wines under screwcap is one of the contributing factors to the company’s incredible success recently.

The wines are imported in the United States by Vineyard Brands Inc, Birmingham, Alabama. There are four levels of Pinot Noir: Single Vineyard, Reserve, Cellar Selection, and Private Bin.

Reviewed Wines

2005 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $36, screw cap. Imported by Vineyard Brands Inc., Birmingham, AL. This wine is a blend of the best clones from several vineyards in the Marlborough region. It is aged 9 months in 40% new French oak. · Richest, darkest fruit of all the wines sampled. Deep and bright black cherry perfume that is quite appealing. A riper style packed with sappy plum and blackberry fruits and a charred oak overlie that enhances the generous flavors. Tannins are like felt and the whole package is nicely balanced. Reviewed October 14, 2007 ARTICLE »

2002 Villa Maria Estate Reserve Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $27, screw cap. New Zealand's third largest wine producer (behind Montana and Nobilo) has converted all production to screw caps. The winery's lineup is very dependable especially considering the very large size of production. This wine is a blend of the best clones from several vineyards in the Marlborough region. Aged 9 months in 40% new French oak barrels. Imported by Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL. · The aromatics feature strawberry, cinnamon, oak and a touch of alcohol. The Pinot fruits are nicely presented with a smooth mouth feel. The tannins are fine and the finish is of decent length and zip. Reviewed April 16, 2006

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