About the Wine
“Winemaking is an art, not a numbers game and our winemakers and viticulturists understand this. For us it's simple: our wine is far more important than how many zeros are on our balance sheet.” ~Villa Maria
‘Ngakirikiri’ is a Maori word that alludes to the unique and rare gravel soils found at Hawkes Bay. This is an iconic wine and the flagship label from Villa Maria. It is extremely limited and only produced on the most exceptional vintages.2014is the second vintage that this estate has released from this gem, it’s a presentation of the very best of Villa Maria’s holdings in the Gimblett Gravels appellation.
With more than 60 years of producing wine in New Zealand, Villa María has become a benchmark for premium viticulture in this country, and around the world. Sir George Fistonich began his wine dream in 1960, with just one acre of vineyard. Little did he know that this dream would soon become an internationally award-winning, highly recognized winery.
Villa Maria’s accolades are countless: In 2020, it was named (for the 6th consecutive year) the “Most Admired Brand from New Zealand” by the renowned Drinks International Magazine. That same year, it was selected (for the 3rd time) as the “Must Trusted Wine Brand” by Reader’s Digest. It’s been rewarded “New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year” by the International Wine & Spirit Competition more than 4 times. Named as “One of the World’s 50 Great Wine Producers” by Wine Spectator, among other recognitions.
2018 Villa Maria Ngakirkiri was recognized as “one of the world’s great Cabernet Sauvignons” at a tasting that included wine critics like Bob Campbell MW, Cameron Douglas MS, Jane Skilton MW, Paul Tudor MW, and Sam Kim.
This winery is completely committed to the environment by implementing sustainable practices in the vineyard and in the cellar. They're organically certified by the “New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing” company, the “BioGro” and the “Toitu” organization. Their mantra explains it very simply: “We believe in living life to the fullest while making sure we are protecting the earth for future generations.”
Tasting Notes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This deep purple-colored wine gradually yields notably intense and pure aromatics of cassis, black plum, and anise, with ground coffee bean, graphite, fragrant thyme, and cedar nuances also vying for attention. Layers of concentrated flavors emerge and flow beautifully across the palate from start to finish, with optimally ripe fruit, fine-grained tannins, and supportive oak enhancing overall texture and richness at each point along the way. This full-bodied wine will benefit and gain additional complexity from careful cellaring over the next 15-20 years.
Notions of smoke and cold charcoal surround hints of ripe plum while something floral, perhaps violet, sets an ethereal accent. The first impression on the palate is of velvety sumptuousness, of ripe, pristine, and pampered fruit. Dig deeper and the structure becomes evident. This is firm, precise, and gracious, solid foundations reach towards the sky, projecting fruit, elegance, and even juiciness in all of that beautiful structure. Drink by 2050. ~96 Falstaff.
Inky cabernet sauvignon with ripe cassis, blackberry, cedar, blackcurrant bud, and new leather flavors. A tight, youthful wine with a very promising future that is not as expressive as the 2014 vintage but shows plenty of promise. ~96 Bob Campbell.
Villa Maria's top red, a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant Bordeaux blend, is named for the Maori word for gravel, referring to its famed Gimblett Gravels soils. This is a wine made for the long haul although even now, with ample time open in bottle or decanter, reveals finesse and character. The fruit is dark and fleshy with a spine of leafy green herbs, violet, tomato stem, and baking spice. The palate is satiny yet toned and elegant, with linear, taut tannins, and currently quite a lot of oak influence. A worthy addition to any red lover's cellar. ~95 Wine Enthusiast.
The first vintage of this wine since 2014, from vines more than 20 years old. Aromas burst from the glass: fresh mint, lifted florals and pretty red and black berry fruits. There's more of the same on the complex, inky palate, whose concentrated, pure fruit is well supported by rich cedar oak and fine tannic grip. Fresh, textured and complete. ~95 Decanter.
Aromas of ripe blackberries, blackcurrants, plum leaves, milk chocolate and lavender. It’s medium-bodied with fine, supple tannins. Fresh and creamy. Delicious finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap. ~94 James Suckling.
The 2018 Ngakirikiri is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and 2% Malbec, all aged in 60% new French oak for 20 months. Despite the barrel regime, the concentrated fruit easily comes through, offering up pristine aromas of cassis and plum, later accented on the finish by hints of dark chocolate and vanilla bean. Richly concentrated and velvety in texture, with a long, plush finish, this medium to full-bodied wine should drink well for over a decade. ~94 Robert Parker.
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