Villa releases aged reds
Many years ago, when I had a marketing position with Corbans Wines I talked them into holding a few top wines back and re-releasing them at a premium to demonstrate their cellaring potential. It didn’t work. When we re-released the wines several years after their initial release they were eyed with suspicion. Why hadn’t they sold? What was wrong with them? Our customers wanted the latest vintage, not an out-of-date model. It was like trying to re-release a bog-standard Ford Cortina several years after production had ceased.
Perhaps the time is now right for producers to re-release wines from the cellar. Certainly, the rapid evolution of wine quality appears to have slowed, if not plateaued. The latest vintage is no longer necessarily best. With age-worthy wines, bottle age means something.
Villa Maria has just released, or re-released (I’d only previously tasted one wine), three Reserve reds under their ‘Library Release’ brand. It was a pleasure to taste seven or eight-year-old reds that each showed the benefit of bottle age.
The 2009 Villa Maria Reserve Library Release Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot (Hawke’s Bay) is from a very smart vintage. Winemakers in Hawke’s Bay seem divided when it comes to choosing between the excellent 2009 or 2010 vintages. This wine is clearly a thoroughbred beginning to develop good savoury bottle-aged character. (NZD $69.99)
2010 Villa Maria Reserve Library Release Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon (Hawke’s Bay) looked quite youthful, but like the wine above was beginning to mellow. It clearly opened up as it sat in the glass and merits aeration either by decanting or using an aeration device. (NZD $69.99)
The 2009 Villa Maria Reserve Library Release Cabernet Sauvignon (Hawke’s Bay) was my favourite. The tannins are clearly beginning to melt away exposing delicious cedar and cassis cabernet varietal flavours. Based on its current condition I’d say that the wine has at least a 20-year cellaring window from vintage. (NZD $69.99)