Two Exceptional Winter Reds from New Zealand

Now the nights are getting colder, it's worth stocking up on red wines, particularly those that go well with hearty meat dishes.

George Fistonich harvested his first grapes back in 1962 and Villa Maria is now at the forefront of the New Zealand wine industry, winning many awards. These two single varietals from the Private Bin range are fine examples of his reds.

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2015

We normally think of white wines from the Marlborough region but the high number of hours of sunshine, with the land cooled by the ocean, is ideal for Pinot Noir. In 2015, spring was warmer than usual and was followed by a temperate summer. The grapes were aged in seasoned French barriques for 10 months with natural malolactic fermentation. The result is a wine high in aromatics, with sweet cherry and ripe raspberries on the nose. Tasting, you get hints of cinnamon and cardamom with well-rounded tannins. It works well with red meats, smoked salmon or mature cheddar.

Stockists include the Co-op, Morrison’s, Asda, Hailsham Cellars, Vino Wines, Temple Wines, Bin 21, Famous Wines and the New Zealand House of Wine with a recommended price of £13.35.

Villa Maria Private Bin Shiraz 2014

This is 100% Shiraz (AKA Syrah) from the free draining soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay. 70% is matured in a mixture of new and seasoned oak barriques for 20 months before being blended with the remainder. On the nose there are floral wild herb aromas with notes of red plum, smoked bacon and white pepper. Tasting reveals more plum and herb characteristics, and the tannins are silky and smooth. Good with red meats and game, particularly venison, and strong cheeses.

Stockists include Wine Rack, Hailsham Cellars, Dylan’s Wine Merchants, Islington Wine and the New Zealand House of Wine with a recommended price of £13.35.

Villa Maria has full information about all the wines.