Vintage 2018 was a perfect storm for Villa Maria in Hawke’s Bay, with autumn rain forcing harvest, while cellar hands dodged teams of tradespeople.
The December blind tasting, hosted in Hawke’s Bay, was held at the request of Master of Wine Richard Hemming, who wanted to compare the 2018 vintage to a previous tasting of 2018 Rhône Syrahs, says Maxime. The Singapore-based wine writer and educator told her the New Zealand wines, in general, gave a really good impression, “and the best can comfortably be compared with the Rhône, both in quality and, in many cases, stylistically”.
The influencer, who writes regularly for JancisRobinson.com, is now keen to set up an aged tasting, and to undertake another blind tasting and Rhône comparison. “He was joined the blind tasting by Simon Nash MW, Emma Jenkins MW and Oliver Styles. All were impressed and are eager to repeat with the vintage 2019 wines, so early plans are afoot to schedule this for late February 2021.”
Hawke’s Bay will host New Zealand Winegrowers’ Classic Reds Symposium at the end of February 2021, following Pinot 2021 in Christchurch.