Villa Maria Earth Garden Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2019

Medium ruby color; raspberry, blackberry, plum, cherry, boysenberry, blueberry, earth, smoke on the nose and palate.

Villa Maria Earth Garden Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2019

Dry; austere tannin, some balancing acidity (3.65 pH). Dark, dense, earthy texture. Medium body. This is the heavy, brooding style of pinot noir, which was winemaker Dave Roper’s intent. If you prefer the more etherial style from Willamette Valley or Burgundy, this likely will be too heavy handed for you. It is a bit brusque and awkward on pop-and-pour, but does smooth out with some air. Decanting recommended, at least extended time swirled in large glass. Some oak notes from 10-12 months in barrel, 10% new, 90% seasoned. 13% ABV

Villa Maria has farmed organically since 2010 and earned BioGro certification in 2012. This is 100% pinot noir from two Marlborough vineyards. Sir George Fistonich started the winery in 1961 and it remains family owned. Villa Maria was the first New Zealand to go cork free. All its wines since 2001 have been screw cap to promote quality in each bottle.

Villa Maria vineyard and winery

Villa Maria also pioneered commitment to sustainable viticulture. It has earned four certifications as proof of their on-going commitment to sustainability. Global beverage journal Drinks International named Villa Maria as New Zealand’s “Most Admired Wine Brand” from 2015 to 2019 in recognition of their consistent emphasis on quality.

Villa Maria vineyard

Villa Maria Earth Garden Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2019 is made in thick, dense-fruit style with rugged tannins and mouthfeel. Decanting helps tame things down, but this clearly is not an elysian pour from Willamette Valley, more in tone and mood with California pinot. Made by a leader in New Zealand sustainable viticulture with four significant certifications. Pair with lamb; beef dishes—stews, braised, barbecue, beef Wellington; roasted chicken; duck; venison, pizza; gourmet burger; meat loaf; mushrooms, truffle-flavored dishes. Cheese—sharper, aged cheeses, semi-hard cheeses; aged cheddar, munster, fontina,, manchego, zamarano, sottocenere, comte. $21-23

Villa Maria website

Villa Maria vineyard with floral cover crop
Villa Maria harvest