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Gibbston Valley Wines Strikes Hat Trick

Gibbston Valley Wines Strikes Hat Trick in Australia's Major Competition

New Zealand's growing international reputation for both white and red wines of outstanding quality took a further boost this week with another three Blue/Gold Medals awarded to Central Otago boutique winery Gibbston Valley Wines at the Sydney International Wine Competition. The winning wines were their 2003 Pinot Noir, 2004 Pinot Gris and the 2004 Blanc de Pinot Noir. The latter wine was also placed in the Top 100 wines at the show, placing it in the top 5% of the more than two thousand wines entered.

For the Gibbston Valley 2003 Pinot Noir, this is the third year in a row that this label has attained Blue/Gold status in Australia's premier wine show. This is a powerful statement that not only are Kiwis capable of making premium quality reds, but even more importantly that we can also do that consistently. This wine has also been selected by Australia's leading wine magazine Winestate as one of the top 5 Pinot Noirs of the year.

For the 2004 Blanc de Pinot Noir, a rosé wine made from 100% Pinot Noir fruit, this is the label's second Blue/Gold medal in this competition, and the second time that it has been placed in the Top 100 of all wines tasted. As a Top 100 wine, it now goes forward into contention for the Trophy in it's class (the Trophies will be judged next March). It's predecessor, the 2001 Blanc de Pinot Noir won the Trophy previously - the only New Zealand rosé to have done so.

Pinot Gris is a close relative of Pinot Noir, and thrives in the same cool climate conditions. So it is not perhaps surprising that the 2004 Gibbston Valley Pinot Gris joined the other other two Pinots above with its own Blue/Gold medal.

Gibbston Valley Wines Strikes Hat Trick in Australia's (contd)

Many wine enthusiasts will have read of the devastating frosts that struck Central Otago over the 2004 vintage. The local papers at the time were full of much wailing and gnashing of teeth. While the weather certainly had an impact on quantity, the two Blue/Gold medals for the rosé and for the 2004 Pinot Gris demonstrate that the resultant wines are still of top quality. It seems the lyric is true - sometimes "even the bad times are good..."

In the world of wine awards, this competition is unique. Once a year a select group of wine judges from around the world gather in Sydney to partake in the only major wine competition in the world where wines are judged in the context that they are intended to be enjoyed - with food. Each wine is tasted alongside a suitable dish and the wine is judged both for its individual qualities and for its ability to partner with the food. The prime advantage of this arrangement is that it helps to eliminate wines that might stand out from the crowd in a conventional judging, but then seem to loose their lustre when served at the table.

The competition is also one of the toughest on the entrants. In most wine shows somewhere around 60% of the wines entered can expect some sort of award. At the Sydney International, eighty percent of the wines entered are eliminated at the first hurdle. Only 15% gain any recognition at all and only about 10% progress to medal status. In this context, Gibbston Valley Wines achievement "three 'Pinots' - three Gold medals" is all that more impressive.

Gibbston Valley Wines is a boutique producer of the highest quality wines, set in Queenstown's spectacular Gibbston Valley. They are one of the original pioneers of the Central Otago wine region and produced the first commercial vintage for the region in 1987. Today it is NZ's most visited winery. It comprises vineyard, wine cave, restaurant, wine tours, courtyard alfresco dining, wine sales and gift shop. Gibbston Valley Wines has won more awards for Pinot Noir than any other winery in New Zealand, including the trophy at the London International Wine Challenge for the top Pinot Noir/Burgundy in the world.

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