Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2010
The 2010 vintage in the Bay produced merlots well equipped with ripe, generous tannins. That provided the structure for them to perform well on their own without major blending support, which is the case with this remarkable wine. You can tell from the nose (lightly roasted nuts, blueberry and tar aromas) that this orchestra is in perfect pitch. Dense ripe fruit, fresh acidity and those lilting tannins all come together beautifully. This lyrical yet serious wine would go well with an egg-based dish, such as a twice-baked cheese souffle.
Top wine profile
Villa Maria’s senior Auckland winemaker, Nick Picone, believes merlot deserves more respect. “Merlot does not perform in many places around the world outside its home in Bordeaux, and in not many places in New Zealand outside the Gimblett Gravels," says Picone. "People say pinot noir is finicky – but it’s grown successfully in a number of regions here and overseas. I don’t think people appreciate how difficult it is to make great merlot.” Picone says he knew great merlot was on the way as soon as the fruit that contributed to our top wine arrived at the winery. “It had reserve written all over it,” he recalls. “There was a lot of hype around 2009 in the Bay, but I thought our 2010 reds were a step up.” Adds Villa Maria general manager viticulture and winemaking, Alastair Maling MW, “We regard our reserve merlot as a flagship wine. It has a strong following and whenever we show it to overseas guests, they’re blown away. I think the Gimblett Gravels produces some of the best New World merlot around.”