As if we needed an excuse, to share our favourite winter wines. If you fancy trying a new wine style, we've enlisted the help of the expert Villa Maria's Auckland winemaker David Roper to find out how we make the transition from our favourite fruity organic Rosè to a full-bodied, buttery Chardonnay, and what style of food to serve with the new Villa Maria Platinum selection. Editor Trudi Brewer investigates.
Tell us about the new Villa Maria Platinum range?
The Platinum range was launched to fill a gap in the market between our well-known Cellar Selection range and our Reserves and Single Vineyard. These wines give the consumer an opportunity to try some limited edition wines from our prestigious vineyard sites at an approachable price. It also gives the winemaking team a chance to push the boundaries in winemaking principles by selecting organic parcels or ageing on lees (sur lie allowing a finished wine to continue to sit on the lees in order to extract flavour) that add layers of complexity and interest.
What makes a great Sauvignon Blanc?
The style of Sauvignon Blanc that have made New Zealand famous world-wide have bright, lively fresh tropical fruit and grassy aromas. Once on the palate the best examples continue the intensity of the nose with crunchy acidity, great balance, and length. I like to serve pan-seared salmon or freshly shucked oysters with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
I am guided by the gold sticker on the bottle when choosing wine,
is that a good idea?
If you aren’t sure what to buy, a gold medal sticker can be helpful in deciding which wine to purchase. Generally speaking, a gold sticker is an indication that a wine professional has tasted and judged the wine to be of a very high standard.
Tell us about the Pinot Gris?
And the ideal food match with this wine.
Pinot Gris is perhaps the most versatile white wine variety when it comes to food matching. It can work well with seafood, salads, vegetarian dishes, chicken, pork, dishes with heat, the list goes on! The Platinum Pinot Gris is rich and has a touch of residual sweetness so would be perfect with slow roasted pork belly with a chilli or cumin crust on the crackling and roasted seasonal vegetables!
What wines do you think will stand the test of time
on wine lists around Auckland this winter?
With cooler weather we tend to see the bigger reds being enjoyed more, our Hawkes Bay vineyards provide us with stunning Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah wines which are typically enjoyed with lamb rack, slow cooked beef cheek, or seared venison. Our Organic Pinot Noir is always popular so if you are dining out, look for duck confit or wild mushroom risotto on a menu to match with this.
Chardonnay is making a comeback,
how do you get back into this buttery, rich wine?
Have the confidence to try a range of different styles of Chardonnay because they are all so different! Some Chardonnays are fruit driven and easy drinking, while others are richer, bolder and exhibit stronger smoky, toasty characters. Most Chardonnays will match brilliantly with roast chicken, crayfish and pork dishes.