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Villa Maria Ngakirikiri 2018


Ngakirikiri The Gravels

Our icon wine Ngakirikiri is a presentation of the very best of Villa Maria’s holdings in the Gimblett Gravels appellation. Produced in only the most exceptional vintages with painstaking attention to detail, it is a highly aspirational project and arguably the most comprehensive and focused wine Villa Maria has ever produced.

‘Ngakirikiri’ in Māori, refers to the unique gravel soils that define the Hawkes Bay, Gimblett Gravels growing appellation, a befitting name for this stony Hawkes Bay vineyard sited on what was an ancient riverbed. The Gimblett Gravels sub-region is a majestic site with a reputation for beautiful and thought-provoking wines.

Tasting Notes

Upon pouring, this deep ruby coloured wine yields notably intense and pure aromatics of cassis, complex wood spices and floral violet scents, with fragrant dried thyme, graphite and clove nuances also vying for attention.

Layers of concentrated flavours are revealed across a medium to full bodied frame, with optimally ripe fruit and hints of black olive and cigar, all wrapped by fine-grained tannins and supportive oak, enhancing texture and richness from start to finish. This age-worthy and age-worthy wine will benefit and gain additional complexity from careful cellaring over the next 15-20 years.

Download full tasting notes: 2013, 2014, 2018

Vineyards and Winemaking

Hawkes Bay with it’s coastal location and proximity to mountains typically experiences a dry, maritime climate with an influential diurnal temperature range. Gimblett Gravels is located approx. 15km inland and experiences temperatures typically warmer than its neighbouring localities, promoting a consistent level of ripeness to be achieved by low yielding vines planted in free draining soils.

Ngakirikiri’ in Māori refers to the unique soils that define the Gimblett Gravels growing appellation, uniquely situated on the former Ngaruroro riverbed which was left exposed following a historically significant flood event which permanently changed the rivers course in 1867. The first vines were planted in these arid soils in the 1980’s and this small area of 800 hectares has since become New Zealand’s epicentre for premium full bodied red wine production with a reputation for beautifully balanced, thought-provoking wines. Ngakirikiri is only made when great vintages produce truly outstanding wines for consideration.

Soils And Viticulture

The 2018 Hawkes Bay vintage followed on from one of the warmest summers on record providing superb conditions for ripening, with heat summation finishing well ahead of the long-term average with 1500 Growing Degree Days (GDD’s). Although the white harvest commenced early with pressure from untimely rain, thick skinned later ripening reds were harvested in excellent condition under welcome blue skies and produced the greatest wines of the harvest.

Immediately captivating with aromas of dark berries and brooding complexity. On the palate - youthful, varietal, compact, taut and delicious. Firm tannins have a satin polish to them, an abundance of acidity. Lengthy finish, complex and very appealing. 97 Points

Cameron Douglas MS

Hawkes Bay

“Superbly concentrated and weighted, delivering exceptional depth and richness, while remaining perfectly balanced and structured.”


Sam Kim

“Powerful, complex, varietal and intensely perfumed.”


Cameron Douglas MS

“Powerful red - an icon in the making.”


Bob Campbell MW

Read full write-up here.

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