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Wine of the Week for week ending 8 Jul 2007
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Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waldron Chardonnay 2004
Marlborough, New Zealand

The Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waldron Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 that we drank on Friday night was so delicious, it just has to be my Wine of the Week. It's the kind of wine you pick up, take a sniff of, take a sip of and before you've even swallowed it the taste sensation in your mouth has you swooning with an orgasmic-like sigh.

It smells ripe, rich and enticing with its fragrant caramel corn and toasty polished vanillin oak aromas and tastes smooth, ripe and seductive with its seamless, harmonious texture that caresses the palate. Beautifully balanced flavours of hokey pokey with hints of stonefruit and citrus underpinned with a spicy, mealy richness make you swoon and the long, sweet-oaked, caramel cream finish leaves you with a satisfied glow.

Food matching proved that this full-bodied, flavour-layered wine, that is so delicious to drink on its own, is immensely versatile with creamy duck liver pate, salmon, camembert, phyllo pastry, butter sauce, beef and venison accompaniments all getting the thumbs up by the diners.

It was 15 months since I'd last tasted the wine and I'd forgotten just how delicious it was. I loved it then, according to my notes on my Chardonnay reviews page, so it was great that my sister had bought this bottle. She purchased it from the stunning Villa Maria Winery in Mangere, on a detour to or from Auckland International airport one day.

Villa Maria is doing amazing things with Chardonnay in the Single Vineyard marques and since they were introduced from the 2002 vintage we've lusted over the Waldron and the Fletcher from Marlborough, the Keltern and the Waikahu from Hawkes Bay, and the first release 2005 Ihuamatao that comes from the Mangere winery estate. And this Waldron Chardonnay 2004 shows exactly why.

The Single Vineyard philosophy is quite simple. According to the Villa Maria website, the wines are created from vineyards of exceptional quality only when vintage conditions allow these sites to fully express their individual characteristics.

The Waldron Vineyard is located in the Rapaura district of Marlborough’s Wairau Plains and on the stony vineyard site clone 15 and MV1G1 chardonnay grapes are nurtured for this wine. The low yielding vines are hand picked and whole bunch pressed before being treated with minimal, gentle and natural winemaking techniques. The grapes are naturally fermented in French oak barriques with extended yeast lees aging and stirring has produced a wine with integration, complexity and balance.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waldron Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 has 14.5% alcohol and has been fermented to dryness. As it's a Villa Maria wine, it's naturally sealed with a screwcap closure. A gold medal winner at the Air NZ Wine Awards in 2005, this would be a Trophy Winner now, I'm sure. I'd give it one, if it meant anything. It's now in the running for my Chardonnay of the Year.

Villa Maria Winery is the closest to Auckland International Airport. It is just 5 minutes from the main arterial route and so it's worth adding an extra 45 minutes to an hour to your journey to make the detour (5 minutes driving each way plus time for parking and wine tasting), taste the wines and pick up some gems like this …. or the latest vintage rendition as the 2004 is probably all sold out. History is showing that these Single Vineyard wines are cellaring well. They retail in the vicinity of NZ$35 to NZ$38 a bottle.

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© Sue Courtney
2 Jul 2007

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