NZ’s top-quality wines recognised

Published: Wed 12 Nov 2008 09:35 AM
12 November 2008
New Zealand’s top-quality wines recognised with announcement of Air New Zealand Wine Awards medal winners
- Pinot Noir awarded most gold medals for the first time
- 14 varietals awarded gold medals - diversity and quality of New Zealand wine demonstrated
- Riesling awarded 11 gold medals
Pinot Noir has been awarded 21 gold medals at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards  the most gold medals awarded to a single varietal this year.
A total of 91 gold medals have been awarded across 14 different wine varietals, with the quality of this year’s Pinot Noir lineup a highlight for the judging panel.
Riesling also impressed the judging panel, and a record 11 gold medals were awarded to wines of this varietal.
Organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the 2008 Air New Zealand Wine Awards attracted a record 1,751 entries from New Zealand’s 10 winegrowing regions. In addition to the 91 gold medals awarded, the 26-strong expert judging panel chaired by Steve Smith, Master of Wine (MW), awarded 239 silver medals and 399 bronze medals.
In the Sustainable category, introduced last year, a total of seven pure gold medals were awarded, all of which will now also vie for the prestigious Bell Gully Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy. Nineteen pure silver and 32 pure bronze medals were also awarded in the Sustainable category.
Of the seven pure gold medals, five were awarded to wines from the Hawkes Bay region.
The Air New Zealand Wine Awards trophies, including the overall Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy, the Bell Gully Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy and the elite gold medal winners, will be announced at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards gala dinner in Wellington on Saturday 22 November.
New Zealand Winegrowers’ global marketing director, Chris Yorke, said the number of varietals achieving gold medals this year demonstrates that New Zealand winemakers are increasingly producing word-class wines across an exciting and diverse range of varietals.
“It’s exciting to see Pinot Noir awarded a record number of gold medals this year, and aromatic varietals such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer continuing to perform strongly.”
“The Air New Zealand Wine Awards celebrates winemaking excellence in New Zealand, and the high number of gold medals awarded to wines from all around the country this year reflects that.”
International judge, Nick Stock, who also judged the competition in 2004, said he was impressed by the high standard of the entries this year.
“New Zealand excels at delivering wines that are direct and appealing. I’ve seen a huge increase in the quality of Syrah since 2004, however the line-up of Pinot Noir across a range of regions was a highlight for me."
Chair of judges, Steve Smith, MW, said that the Pinot Noir category was the highlight of the awards with 21 gold medals.
“Represented by two exceptional vintages in 2006 and 2007, the Pinot Noir entered this year was impressive. With gold medals awarded to wines from the Auckland, Wellington/Wairarapa, Marlborough and Otago regions, we are beginning to see great regional and sub-regional expression, and a real willingness from winemakers to stretch the winemaking boundaries,” Mr Smith said.
Sauvignon Blanc also performed strongly, picking up 13 gold medals.
“Marlborough continued to dominate the Sauvignon Blanc varietal, and the 10 gold medals awarded to 2008 Marlborough are as good as ever. It’s also pleasing to see two wines from Nelson and one wine from Waipara achieving gold medal status.”
Other highlights
Syrah, Riesling and Chardonnay were standout varieties, with 8, 11 and 15 gold medals respectively.
Mr Smith said the eight gold medals awarded to Syrah is an impressive result, and the breadth of quality is also showing with a high number of silver and bronze medal wines.
“If the last two shows are an indication, Syrah is about to become a key feature of New Zealand’s prestige red wine offering, alongside Pinot Noir.”
Mr Smith said this varietal shows remarkable regional diversity, with gold medals awarded across five regions.
“This is a spectacular result, particularly for the 2006 and 2007 vintages, which were awarded seven gold medals. The winning wines show the enormous potential Riesling has when made from carefully-selected vineyards with sensitive winemaking and a very clear definition of style.”
“These are serious world-class wines, and in a variety with so much diversity in expression, the judges have awarded gold medals across a number of styles. This variety also demonstrates regional diversity, with four regions awarded gold medals.”
Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner and results
The full medal results from the 2008 Air New Zealand Wine Awards are available from today at and
The trophy results will be available from midnight on Saturday 22 November 2008.
New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand will host 800 guests in Wellington at a black-tie gala dinner where guests will taste the trophy wines accompanied by a six course menu designed by Air New Zealand’s team of Consultant Chefs including Rex Morgan from Citron Restaurant in Wellington; Peter Gordon from The Providores and Tapa Room in London and dine by Peter Gordon and Bellota in Auckland; Geoff Scott from Vinnies Restaurant in Auckland; and Shannon Wrightson, Former Executive Chef at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, Canada.
Gold Medal Winning Wines by Varietal
Sauvignon Blanc 13
Chardonnay 15
Sparkling 1
Pinot Noir 21
Gewurztraminer 4
Pinot Gris 6
Riesling 11
Medium Sweet or Sweet Wine Trophy 3
Syrah 8
Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends based on Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon 5
Other Red Varieties 1
Other White Varieties & Rosé 3
Gold Medal Wines by Region
Regional BreakdownGold
Auckland 2
Canterbury 3
Gisborne 5
Hawkes Bay 26
Marlborough 29
Nelson 5
Northland 0
Otago 7
Waikato/BOP 0
Wellington/Wairarapa 4
Total 91
Gold Medal Winning Wines
The below gold medal-winning wines will compete for the following Air New Zealand Wine Awards trophies.
Pure gold medal winners will also compete for the Bell Gully Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy.
All trophy winners and elite gold medal winners will be announced at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner on Saturday 22 November 2008.
O-I New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy
Pure Gold
Kemblefield The Reserve Chardonnay 2007
Beach House Chardonnay 2007
Brunton Road Chardonnay 2007
Clearview Reserve Chardonnay 2007
Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Chardonnay 2007
Corbans Private Bin Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006
Montana Ormond ‘O’ Gisborne Chardonnay 2006
Montana Terroir Series Stuart Block Chardonnay 2006
Sacred Hill Wine Thief Series Chardonnay 2007
Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2007
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2007
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2007
Guala Closures New Zealand Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy
Boundary Vineyards Rapaura Road Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Drylands Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Forrest Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Huntaway Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Lake Chalice The Raptor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Spinyback Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Tohu Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Waipara Hills Southern Cross Selection Waipara Sauvignon Blanc 2008
JF Hillebrand New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Noir Trophy
Brennan Pinot Noir 2007
Burnt Spur Martinborough Pinot Noir 2007
Hinton Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007
Judge Rock Pinot Noir 2007
Margrain Home Block Pinot Noir 2007
Mount Dottrel Pinot Noir 2006
Nevis Bluff Pinot Noir 2006
Peregrine Pinot Noir 2007
Rockburn Pinot Noir 2007
Sallys Pinch Pinot Noir 2007
Tarras Vineyards The Canyon Pinot Noir 2007
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2007
Nissan New Zealand Ltd Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy
Daniel Le Brun Blanc de Blanc 2000
BDO Spicers Champion Other White Styles & Rosé Trophy
Elephant Hill Rosé 2008
Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Viognier 2007
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Omahu Gravels Viognier 2007
Business World Travel Champion Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot/Cabernet Blend Trophy
Pure Gold
C J Pask Declaration Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2006
Church Road Cuve Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Selaks The Favourite Merlot Cabernet 2007
Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah Trophy
Pure Gold
C J Pask Declaration Syrah 2007
Crossroads Winery Elms Vineyard Hawkes Bay Reserve Syrah 2007
Mission Estate Reserve Syrah 2007
Church Road Reserve Syrah 2007
Vidal Reserve Syrah 2006
HortResearch Champion Riesling Trophy
Forrest The Doctors' Riesling 2008
Haymaker Waipara Riesling 2008
Morton Estate White Label Marlborough Riesling 2006
Nga Waka Three Paddles Martinborough Riesling 2008
Sanctuary Riesling 2004
Spinyback Riesling 2007
Waimea Dry Riesling 2006
The Huka Retreats Champion Pinot Gris Trophy
Pure Gold
Palliser Estate Pinot Gris 2007
Clayridge Pinot Gris 2008
Lamont Pinot Gris 2008
Montana Reserve Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2008
Mt Rosa Pinot Gris 2007
Shingle Peak Reserve Pinot Gris 2008
Label and Litho Champion Gewurztraminer Trophy
Hunter's Gewurztraminer 2008
Montana Patutahi ‘P’ Gewurztraminer 2007
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewurztraminer 2007
New Holland Agriculture Champion Merlot Trophy
No Gold Medals awarded in this category
Newstalk ZB Champion Other Red Styles Trophy
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Tempranillo 2007
Wineworks Champion Medium Sweet or Sweet Wine Trophy
Pure Gold
Seifried Estate Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Ice Wine 2008
Forrest The Doctors' Noble Chenin Blanc 2008
Hunter's Hukapapa Dessert Riesling 2007
The New World Champion Open White Wine Trophy and Fairfax Media Champion Open Red Wine Trophy will be awarded to the top wine in their classes with stock levels declared in excess of 22,500 litres.
The below wines entered into the exhibition category will vie for the following exhibition trophies. The exhibition category is for wines with a minimum of 450 litres.
Corbans Viticulture Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine Trophy
Allan Scott THE MOORLANDS Marlborough Riesling 2006
Desert Heart Riesling 2007
Greystone Waipara Riesling 2007
Hawkesbridge Sophie's Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2007
Hunter's Riesling 2006
Misha's Vineyard "The Gallery" Gewurztraminer 2008
The Loop Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006
Kapiti Champion Exhibition Red Wine Trophy
Bannock Brae Estate Barrel Selection Pinot Noir 2006
Cable Bay Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
Clearview Old Olive Block 2006
Esk Valley Reserve Syrah 2006
Leaning Rock Pinot Noir 2006
Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir 2006
Mission Estate Jewelstone Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc Petit Verdot 2007
Nautilus Four Barriques Pinot Noir 2007
Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Pinot Noir 2007
Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Syrah 2006
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2006
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Syrah 2006
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir 2006
West Brook Waimauku Pinot Noir 2007

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