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Air N.Z. Wine Awards 2013 – Trophy Winners

By November 24, 2013No Comments
The trophy winners of the 2013 Air N.Z. Wine Awards were announced at the awards dinner in Queenstown last night. The Nautilus ‘Cuvee Marlborough’ Methode Traditionnelle Brut NV was awarded the trophy for Champion Wine of the Show, and the Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012 the trophy for Reserve Wine of the Show.

This is a very pleasing result, to see a wine from the sparkling wine category take the award, endorsing the growing quality and strength of these wines made in New Zealand. It is only the third time a sparkling wine has taken the top award in the 27 years of the competition. Nautilus Estate has had an illustrious history with the wine, consistently winning top awards both domestically and internationally. The wine also took the trophy for Champion Sparkling Wine. I saw the wine in a method seminar at the Marlborough Wine Weekend at the start of the month, and thought it looked superb then.

The Villa Maria group continues its dominance at wine shows taking five of the 16 trophies awarded, including Reserve Wine of the Show and Champion Chardonnay with its ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay. Hawke’s Bay wines showed well, taking 7 trophies, along with wines from Marlborough which were awarded the same number.

The Relevance of Higher Scoring Standards
The Air New Zealand Wine Awards in its new format has different medal awards and standards to other judging competitions in this country to increase the relevance and standing of the results.

Most significantly is the ‘Pure’ distinction for the medal winning wines that are sustainably accredited. As the proportion of vineyards and wines produced are rising, the ‘Pure’ award may become less relevant in the future.

To achieve a bronze medal at the Air N.Z. Wine Awards, a wine must achieve an average of 16.0/20, higher than the 15.5/20 in other shows. This certainly makes the bronze medal wines of a tighter standard. This is why the proportion of bronze medal winners at the Air N.Z. Wine Awards is lower than other shows. It adds a little confusion to what constitutes a bronze medal here!

I’m a little ambivalent about the distinction between ‘Gold’ medal and ‘Elite Gold’ medal wines. The ‘Elite Gold’ category was introduced to highlight the best performing gold medal wines. There has been the feeling that there were too many gold medal winning wines. A wine averaging 19.0/20 and above is recognised as an ‘Elite Gold’, thus these wines can be seen as the ‘cream’. Unfortunately this distinction degrades the value of the wines rated gold at 18.5/20 up to 19.0/20. There’s an element of subjectivity in the judging process and the distinctions are not necessarily as clear as they appear in the use of the term ‘elite’. I would dare say that there is a grey area between no-award and bronze, bronze and silver, and silver and gold. Much of the result depends on the people who are judging.

Here are the trophy winners from the 2013 Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show
Nautilus ‘Cuvée Marlborough’ Brut NV

O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show
Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012

Label and Litho Limited Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Boundary Vineyards ‘Rapaura Road’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Rabobank New Zealand Limited Champion Chardonnay
Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012

Guala Closures NZ Champion Pinot Gris
Lake Chalice Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Highfield Marlborough Riesling 2012

ICIB Gold Medal Insurance Champion Gewürztraminer
Not Awarded

BDO Champion Other White Styles and Rosé
Coopers Creek ‘SV – Bell Ringer’’ Gisborne Albariño 2013

Wineworks Champion Sparkling Wine
Nautilus ‘Cuvée Marlborough’ Brut NV

Stuff.co.nz Champion Dessert Wine
Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Riesling 2012

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Noir
Greystone Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012

Fruitfed Supplies Limited Champion Syrah
Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2012

Coast FM Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2010

Fairfax Media Champion Other Red Styles
Not Awarded

New World Champion Open White Wine
Lake Chalice Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013

Liquorland Champion Open Red Wine
Church Road ‘McDonald Series’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2011

Waitoa Free Range Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Villa Maria ‘Single Vineyard – Keltern’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012

Business World Travel Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Esk Valley ‘Winemakers Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2010

For a list of the gold medal winning wines and my analysis, click here. For more information on the judging and the full medal results, go to www.airnewzealandwineawards.co.nz or visit www.wineshow.co.nz

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