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Buying and Drinking at Wine World


Villa Maria and 509 Wine Company Tasting

I met up with Julia after work so that we could go shopping for wine.  She suggested we go to Wine World Warehouse which is a relatively new store located on 45th St near I-5.  The website states they have over 500 northwest wines and 6,000 other wines and after a walk around the store, I am convinced!  In the middle of the store is a giant two-sided tasting bar.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they were tasting the wines of Villa Maria and 509 Wine Company.  You might be familiar with Villa Maria because it has a well-marketed national presence.  But you have probably not heard of 509 Wine Company because it is the only winery in Fremont!  Julia and I were game to start tasting so we signed onto a computer then we each received eight tasting tickets.  Without the ticket system we might taste the 9th bottle of wine which would put us afoul of the law.

Julia, Nick, and the Author

Nick Picone, a Senior Auckland Winemaker, was on hand from Villa Maria to discuss the wines.  We chatted with him for quite a while.  Nick is quite friendly and I suspect it would be great fun to drink some wine with him over dinner.  Villa Maria has four levels of wine: Private Bin, Cellar Selection, Reserve, and Single Vineyard.  The Private Bin wines are styled to have “clean, fresh and lively flavours”.  The Cellar Selection and Reserve are identically made and only separated after maturation.  The Cellar Selection wines are capable of medium term aging with the Reserve wines showing “ample weight, concentration and intensity of flavour.”  At Wine World the Private Bin and Cellar Selection wines were priced between $14 and $18 with the Reserve Pinot at $47.  Before reading about the intent of the different levels, I felt that the Private Bin wines had clean, fresh, properly made, flavors for mass appeal.  I found them less interesting whereas the Cellar Selections started to interest me.  Even then the Cellar Selection still has large appeal, I suspect the interesting stuff lies in the Reserve and Single Vineyard wines.  In the end I preferred the Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc and the Reserve Pinot Noir.  I did not take any notes so you will find my impressions below.

2010 Villa Maria, Private Bin, Sauvignon Blanc
Ample waves of fresh citrus, lots of juicy acidity, clean flavors in an attention getter of a wine. Not Rated.

2009 Villa Maria, Cellar Selection, Sauvignon Blanc
Julia and I preferred this Sauvignon Blanc with its more restrained character of cantaloupe balanced by citrus and less overt acidity.  The extra year of age has made it interesting.  Good texture with more weight to the fruit.  Almost savory. Not Rated.

2009 Villa Maria, Private Bin, Pinot Gris
This was quite different from the Sauvignon Blancs with green fruit (not as in underripe) and precise, narrow core of ripe flavor.  Softer with less acidity. Not Rated.

2008 Villa Maria, Private Bin, Pinot Noir
This has red fruit, raspberries, and a clean balance between fruit, acidity, and tannins. Not Rated.

2007 Villa Maria, Reserve, Pinot Noir
This showed darker red fruit in a dense, supple style.  There is some spice to this young wine.  While readily drinkable it comes across as needing several years of age.  The 25% new oak is well-integrated. Not Rated.

2008 Villa Maria, Cellar Selection, Bordeaux Blend
A more complex blend of red fruits than the Private Bin Pinot Noir.  Starts off with red fruits then an underlying blue, spicy quality comes out.  Medium bodied but feels light in the mouth. Enjoyable now,  I am not sure how this will turn out with age.  Has anyone cellared this? Not Rated.

Just Part of the Washington Blends

After the tasting we picked up three bottles to try with our dinner at Delancey. They were priced between $14 and $22.

  • 2008 Memaloose, Idiot’s Grace, Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Gorge
  • 2009 Beast, Wildebeast, Columbia Valley
  • 2009 Fidelitas, M 100, Columbia Valley
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