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Ian Sutton

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WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Ian Sutton » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:37 pm

By chance, we had this one open for the start of the wine focus month. Although stated as merlot, it usually has a small % of Malbec, Cab Sav, or Cab Franc in the blend.

2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve - New Zealand, North Island, Hawkes Bay (10/31/2009)
Opaque purple colour with a rich plummy/black fruit nose, albeit also some pleasant green pepper.

The palate, whilst of medium to full body, has strong enough acidity plus some soft tannins keeping it in check. The fruit is still quite youthful & plummy, supported by a little milk chocolate, with a touch of greenness coming through on the finish.

Overall, still quite youthful, though I'm not sure of what else you'd get from further ageing. Very good but never threatening great?

Damned with faint praise I suppose. Is this a Pomerol or St Emilion challenger? No, but I doubt it ever intended to be. It seels more a natural extension of those cuddly soft-fruited merlots, into something quite substantial, yet still not wanting to offend or confront. Of it's type it's very good, but there's never going to be much to eulogise about in a wine like this - it's more about simple straightforward pleasure - the sticky toffee pudding of wines :wink:
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Philip Aron

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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Philip Aron » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:00 am

Hi Ian,

Who needs to drink for pleasure ,when they can read a post such as you have written above.

With much admiration,
Philip.
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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Ian Sutton » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:10 am

Philip
You're too kind! .... but many thanks nonetheless.
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Ian
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:39 pm

Philip Aron wrote:Hi Ian,

Who needs to drink for pleasure ,when they can read a post such as you have written above.

With much admiration,
Philip.


Philip, have you seen some thoughts of Ians Italian notes/thoughts. Superb.
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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Ian Sutton » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:49 pm

We may have a better chance of agreeing on the wines - as I very much disagree with any implication that I'm a skilled TN writer!
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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Philip Aron » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:04 am

Yes I shall take Bob Parsons advice and look up the ItalianITNotes.

I simply very much enjoy the subtle wit contained within your notes.

As a vino peasant, and by nature somewhat of a ruffian ,for me its something like live theatre and adult education. I am sure that there are many others enjoying your notes as well.

End of rant.

Philip.

P.S Clearly you are a skilled TN writer.
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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:18 pm

Phillip, it is all down to the breezy fresh air Ian breathes in as he lives close to the coast in the UK!
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Sue Courtney

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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Sue Courtney » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:12 am

Ian Sutton wrote:2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve - New Zealand, North Island, Hawkes Bay (10/31/2009)
Opaque purple colour with a rich plummy/black fruit nose, albeit also some pleasant green pepper.

The palate, whilst of medium to full body, has strong enough acidity plus some soft tannins keeping it in check. The fruit is still quite youthful & plummy, supported by a little milk chocolate, with a touch of greenness coming through on the finish.


Sounds pretty much like it is although I don't know what you mean by green - a herb character, perhaps. This was a very ripe vintage in Hawkes Bay and unlikely to be a greenness from unripe fruit. I've tasted this wine several times and never described it as green.

Cheers,
Sue
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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:36 pm

Sue
I recall this was the green pepper element noted earlier being replicated on the finish. Worth clarifying that for me (as in this case), green pepper can be a positive addition to complexity (I know others see it always as a negative).
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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Sue Courtney » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:25 pm

Yeh, it's interesting that some people see as postive when others see the same thing as a negative, and vice versa.
I just know that if I use 'green' in a description in cab or merlot without clarification, it mean stalky underripe green - and gosh knows I've seen enough of that in NZ's cabs and merlots from the past.
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Re: WTN: 2002 Villa Maria Merlot Reserve

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:41 pm

Sue
Similar to 'lean', which for many is a derogatory description, yet for lovers of Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo (amongst others including some fans of claret) can be a positive, describing something unshowy and understated.

I suspect some of the old critical comments of the unripe NZ reds of old, still hang around in some people's consciousness. I guess I never really saw that, really only getting into NZ wines in the last decade. As a result I really don't have any markers to get a feeling for the old issues. I think the oldest NZ wine I've drunk was a 94 or 96 Newton Forrest Cornerstone (& 96 Te Mata Coleraine).

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Ian
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