Winemaking is relatively new to New Zealand. It is therefore quite a remarkable accomplishment that the Sauvignon Blanc wines from this country are ranked among the best in the world.
In their short history of winemaking (New Zealand has only been seriously producing wine since the 1960's), the country wisely avoided the mistake of bigger brother Australia, of producing masses of cheap bulk wine, that harm the overall reputation of the country. New Zealand's moderate climate lends itself perfectly to the production of white wines, but in recent years the country's reds (especially Pinot Noir) have also gained in popularity.
Villa Maria is a family owned winery, that manages a number of vineyards in different regions of the country. They produce a diverse range of wines, and are known for their constant quality. The white wines in the Private Bin range offer very fine value. The Riesling 2008 (6.900 OMR) is supple and fruity, and although it has some residual sugar, doesn't come across as off-dry. It offers a tad more body than German rieslings, but is by no means heavy. We are also fans of the Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, but haven't seen it in stores here. It seems that only the Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc is available (8.900 OMR). While a very good wine, we don't feel it offers enough extra stuffing to choose it over the Private Bin.
These wines are available at African & Eastern. They also carry a Chardonnay Private Bin, a rosé and red, neither of which we have tasted so far.