Finding a winemaker you trust

Most of us are creatures of habit, we buy food from the same store regularly, we buy sirloin steak rather than rump, we travel the same route to work and do the same things every day when we arrive. We do this because we like familiarity and build up a level of trust or comfort in repetition. This can be applied to wine buying too, how often do we buy and rebuy the same wine, same grape same store? Nothing wrong with that I say, provided you REALLY like that wine and ……. you aren’t missing out on others. This is where trust comes in too, trust me!

I am a member of the Century Wine Club which means I have tasted, tried, and drunk over 100 different grape varieties. It was fun ploughing through a mixture of wines from different countries too so, Malbec from France and Argentina, Chardonnay from Australia, France, New Zealand, USA, Chile and on and on. Now I have settled on the three grape varieties I like best: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and if I continue to travel to France I buy each of them in Pommard, Chablis and Menetou Salon respectively. But it goes further than the terroir of each wine region, it all boils down to three people I trust, William Rebourgeon in Pommard, Richard Rottiers in Chablis, and Ann Pelle in Menetou Salon: trust is earned! 

But how to find wines from these grapes in England without travelling to France during lockdown or …. when those idiots in Brussels totally fail to recognise the dependence of the EU on our cash and our market! 😂😂😂

So, I have scoured the globe for a trusted replacement for each of the three grapes. It took months, but here it is …..

Villa Maria in New Zealand, trusted to provide me consistently with three wines based on each of my three favourite grapes.

If you live in the uk, you will find their wines in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco as well as at the Wine Society. Here they are all from Villa Maria, New Zealand, I recommend them all highly, remember if you are in the U.K. you will find them in the three major supermarkets I have listed:

Pinot Noir

Marlborough Pinot Noir, Cellar Selection

Sauvignon Blanc

 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Private Bin


East Coast Chardonnay, Private Bin

About Villa Maria Wines

In 1961, at just 21 years of age, George Fistonich leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland and started off with just an acre of vines. George made his first wine under the name Villa Maria in 1962 with grapes harvested from this block.

Throughout the 1960s Villa Maria was a one-man band, with George’s wife, Gail, supporting him in his venture.

George made dry red and white wines, sourcing grapes from the greater Auckland regions. In the early 1970s George started to employ staff and the company expanded rapidly.

Today, Villa Maria employs more than 250 permanent staff, grows 28 different grape varieties, and exports wine to over 60 countries worldwide.


Categories: New World, Reviews, Tips, Wine

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