Villa Maria Cellar Selection Syrah is a red wine from the Hawkes Bay wine-growing regions of New Zealand’s North Island.
Villa Maria is probably one of the most famous New Zealand winery and, alongside Cloudy Bay, is responsible for the initial popularity of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in the the UK. The origins of Villa Maria stretch back to 1961 when, aged 21, Sir George Fistonich leased 5 acres of land from his father, planted vines and started making wine. Since those first cuttings took hold in the soil out in Mangere, near Auckland, Sir George has been determined to be at the cutting edge of quality wine-growing. Today Villia Maria is available in more than 50 countries around the world and has claimed the title of New Zealand’s Most Awarded Winery for over thirty consecutive years.
As the name suggests, Villa Maria Cellar Selection Syrah is part of the Cellar Selection range of wines. This is a step up from the Private Bin range and is focuses in producing wines of elegance and structure with an emphasis on fruit quality. Hawkes Bay is one of the best areas in New Zealand for growing Syrah and it also includes the famous Gimblett Gravels sub-region. The fruit for this wine was sourced predominantly from Villa Maria’s Twyford and Omahu vineyards, in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels. The Gimblett Gravels sub-region of Hawkes Bay displays superb growing conditions for Syrah. With free-draining, low fertile soils and warm conditions, the naturally devigourated vines crop low yields, resulting in deep coloured and intensely flavoured red wines.
The grapes for the Villa Maria Cellar Selection Syrah are hand-harvested, destemmed and crushed into open-top fermenters. Fermentation was encouraged to peak at temperatures of 28° C – 33° C with hand plunging carried out four times daily. After 30 days on skins the resulting wines were pressed off to oak barriques. Once malolactic fermentation was completed the wines were gently racked and then returned back to barrel for a further 18 months of maturation on light lees without further disturbance. Following individual parcel selection the wine was blended into tank, lightly egg-white fined and filtered to bottle.