Loyal followers of this blog are probably aware of my love of wine. After a wine tour at Sula Vineyards in Nasik, and an informative talk by Reva K. Singh of Sommelier India magazine; I recently attended an exclusive wine-tasting organized by La Cave India and Villa Maria Winery from New Zealand. I thoroughly enjoyed the distinctive flavor of the wines from this region, having never tried them before.
With all the attendees of the wine-tasting session
Villa Maria Winery was founded over 30 years ago by Sir George Fistonich, and is family-owned to this day. This exclusive care is what probably makes it the most awarded winery in New Zealand. They strongly believe in sustainable business practices, even producing some certified organic wines. Their repertoire of over 60 wines has won many accolades on various international platforms.
La Cave by Brindco is India’s finest wine retail destination, which has been importing Villa Maria wines for the last 10 years. Madhulika Bhattacharya or Madame La Cave as she is better known, recently organized some informative wine-tasting sessions and wine-pairing dinners, to reinforce the pleasure of these light and earthy wines to a discerning Indian market. The event I attended was held at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel in Delhi, where we tasted five grape varietals.
All set for the wine-tasting at the Shang Palace at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel
Michelle Lam, Export Markets Manager of the Villa Maria Winery personally guided us through the history of wine-making in New Zealand, along with an in-depth introduction to each wine. We learnt that the unique terrain of New Zealand, its focus on an outdoorsy lifestyle and its attractive climate, all lend flavor to the wines produced here. With only 37,000 acres of land dedicated to vinification, each wine made here is of premium quality as it can’t be mass produced.
With Madhulika Bhattacharya of La Cave and Michelle Lam of Villa Maria Wines
The tasting began with the sweet 2017 Reisling, followed by a refreshingly tropical 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, and a fruity 2017 Chardonnay, before moving to a ruby-red 2016 Pinot Noir and ending with a deep and delicious 2015 Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon mixture (scroll down to read specific notes of each wine). Due to Delhi’s hot climes and my personal taste, I prefer light white wines, so my favorite was the unexpectedly fruity Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot Noir had a beautiful and evenly-spread garnet colour, unusual for its kind. Villa Maria’s signature wine, Merlot & Cabernet, was the biggest crowd-pleaser, and would make the perfect companion to rich North Indian food.
The unusually ruby coloured Pinot Noir
Villa Maria wines are sold in four different categories, the “Private Bin” which is most approachable with its excellent value for money; the “Cellar Selection” which is intensely-flavored to accompany food; the “Reserve” which includes the most exceptional wines; and the “Single Vineyard” which is unique to the vineyard it’s created in. I’d highly recommend Villa Maria wines to all connoisseurs and wine-lovers not just for their delicious flavors but also for an unforgettable taste of New Zealand.
That’s the face of a happy consumer!
NOTES OF SPECIFIC WINES AT THE EVENT (Information courtesy La Cave):
- Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2017:
Straw yellow colour with greenish reflections
A pure and delicate bouquet of ripe citrus-lime and spring blossom aromas
Palate is beautifully balanced with intense flavors, lovely juicy length and a zest lime finish
Great on its own or with light fresh food
Price: INR 2410
- Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2017:
Pale lemon yellow colour
Myriad of flavors dominated by gooseberry, passion fruit, fresh citrus, melon and herbaceous aromas
Enticing palate with juice flavor profile, purity and concentration finishing crisp and clean with an interwoven thread of acidity
Perfect with seafood and white meats
Price: INR 3630
- Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay 2017:
Straw yellow colour
Fruit driven in style exhibiting ripe peach with underlying citrus and fig characters
Creamy texture and a delicate suggestion of oak on the palate
Best paired with seafood, chicken caesar salad or antipasto platter
Price: INR 2410
- Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2016:
Deep ruby colour
Fragrant bouquet of dried herbs, red cherries and subtle smoky notes
Concentrated flavors of juicy red berry fruits and fresh mushrooms with integrated acidity and fine grainy tannins
Paired best with red and white meats including lamb, beef, duck, venison and rabbit
Price: INR 4200
- Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot & Cabernet 2015:
Deep red velvet colour with rich blackberry and raspberry notes
Palate packed with juicy red cherry and cedar spice with an underlying tobacco character, grained soft tannins and good length
Perfect match for red meats and cheeses
Price: INR 2360
Villa Maria wines along with 300 other varieties from all over the world are available in the La Cave store in Select Citywalk Mall, Saket as well as in all Nature’s Basket outlets.
Visit the Villa Maria Winery website here: https://www.villamaria.co.nz/
Visit the La Cave by Brindco website here: http://brindco.com/wine-store/lacave.php
Book a stay at the Shangri-La Hotel in New Delhi by clicking here.
*A huge thanks to the team at La Cave and Villa Maria wines for inviting me to the event. This is not a sponsored post.
**All pictures without my watermark are courtesy La Cave.