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Wine Awards Announce Record Gold Medal Results

8 November 2005

Air New Zealand Wine Awards Announce Record Gold Medal Results

· 2005 Sauvignon Blanc and 2004 Chardonnay win record number of gold medals
· Pinot Noir world class quality
· Merlot and Merlot blends outstanding

A panel of local and international judges have selected 97 gold medal wines to vie for 19 trophies at the prestigious Air New Zealand Wine Awards on Saturday 12 November.

The outstanding quality of recent New Zealand vintages has been reinforced with a record number of gold medals awarded following three days of judging for the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. There were 1,550 New Zealand wines judged by a panel of 21 local and international experts with 97 wines winning gold medals, 220 winning silver and 548 winning bronze.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive, Philip Gregan, says the wine industry is set to continue stamping its mark on the international stage with first class wines being produced in New Zealand.

"We are thrilled the judges have delivered such a resounding endorsement of recent vintages. It is an indication of the superior international standard that New Zealand achieves in winemaking excellence," he says.

International judge Linda Murphy, wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, commended the thoroughness of the judging process. "The Air New Zealand Wine Awards are the most well organised and rigorous that I have seen in my experience as a wine judge, which means consumers know when they choose a gold medal wine from this competition that it really is a gold medal winning wine," she says.

The outstanding 2005 vintage has produced exceptional wines with a record 18 gold medals awarded to 2005 vintage Sauvignon Blanc. The Air New Zealand Wine Awards chairman of judges, Brent Marris, says Sauvignon Blanc was a strong class. "Ripe crops and better fruit handling in the 2005 vintage contributed to the high number of gold medals; these are the absolute world benchmark for the style," he says.

There were 22 gold medals awarded for Chardonnay, up from 17 last year. Of these 16 were from the record 2004 vintage. Mr Marris says the use of oak handling in Chardonnay appears to be more balanced in the 2004 vintage. "The 2004 vintage delivered ripe fruit which, coupled with careful oak handling, has resulted in great gold medal wines," he says.

Pinot Noir wines from the 2004 vintage were awarded 10 gold medals from a class of 170 wines. Mr Marris says that the gold medal winning Pinot Noir wines were wonderfully fruit driven. "The wines that came in at the gold level were absolutely world class. New Zealand winemakers are mastering this difficult varietal with exciting results," he says.

Merlot and Merlot predominant blends from the 2004 vintage were awarded seven gold medals. International judge Philip Rich, Wine Operations Manager for the Stokehouse and Prince of Wales in Melbourne, says he was impressed with the New Zealand Merlots. "New Zealand Merlots are of an exceptionally high quality and I can see New Zealand having a wonderful future with this varietal," he says.

Six gold medals were awarded to full bodied reds from the 2002 vintage or earlier. Mr Marris says that the gold medals demonstrated that these wines are aging well, which is positive for the future of Bordeaux style reds in New Zealand.

Pinot Gris wines won five gold medals, up from two last year. Mr Marris says the Pinot Gris wines exhibited beautifully ripe fruit and were a strong class with good fruit character and balance.

On Saturday night, New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand will host 750 guests to experience first-hand the trophy wines accompanied by a stunning six course dinner designed by Air New Zealand's executive chefs - Rex Morgan from Citron in Wellington and The Spire in Queenstown, Peter Gordon from Dine in Auckland and The Providores in London, Govind Armstrong from Table 8 in Los Angeles and Miami, and Geoff Scott from Vinnies in Auckland.

The Air New Zealand Wine Award trophies will be announced at midnight on Saturday 12 November.

Notes

Gold Medal Winning Wines

These wines will also compete for the Air New Zealand Champion Wine of The Show Trophy and the Bell Gully Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy.

Trophies may not be awarded in all categories - only those where there is a trophy standard wine.

Esvin Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy
Astrolabe Wines Ltd Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Blind River Wines Ltd Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Cardmember Matua Innovator Ponder Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Cardmember Ponder Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Coopers Creek Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Gunn Estate Skippers Pool Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Jules Taylor Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Kim Crawford SP Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Spitfire 2005
Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Mt Olympus Tuatara Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Mudhouse Winery White Swan Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Saint Clair Estate Wines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Saint Clair Estate Wines Pioneer Block 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Saint Clair Estate Wines Pioneer Block 2 Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Tohu Wines Ltd Mugwi Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Waipara Hills Wine Estates Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Wairau River Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Whitehaven Whites Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2005

O-I New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy
C J Pask Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2004
Cape Campbell Reserve Limited Edition Chardonnay 2004
Esk Valley Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2004
Gunn Estate Skeetfield Chardonnay 2004
Highfield Estate (1991) Limited Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
Kemblefield The Distinction Chardonnay 2004
Kim Crawford Tietjen Gisborne Chardonnay 2005
Landmark Estate Wines Ltd Chardonnay (Earls) 2004
Montana Terrior Stuart Block Gisborne Chardonnay (Patutahi) 2004
Montana Terroir Waihirere Gisborne Chardonnay (Ormond) 2004
Morton Estate White Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002
Mudhouse Winery White Swan Chardonnay 2004
Northrow Chardonnay 2004
Saint Clair Estate Wines Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2003
Summerhouse Chardonnay 2004
Vidal Wines Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2004
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Waldron Chardonnay 2004
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2003
W5 Chardonnay 2004
Wither Hills Chardonnay 2003

Nissan New Zealand Limited Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy
Hunters Wines Miru Miru 2002
Palliser Estate Methode Traditionelle 2001

Air Sea Global Champion Pinot Noir Trophy
Capricorn Wines Struggler's Flat Pinot Noir 2004
Fairhall Downs Estate Wines Pinot Noir 2004
Fairmont Estate Block One Pinot Noir 2004
Mount Riley Winemakers Selection Pinot Noir 2004
Northrow Pinot Noir 2003
Palliser Estate Pinot Noir 2004
Terrace Heights Estate THE Pinot Noir 2004
Vidal Wines Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004
Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2004
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2004
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2004
Waipara Springs Pinot Noir Reserve 2003

Label and Litho Champion Gewurztraminer Trophy
Allan Scott Wines & Estates Ltd Gewurztraminer 2005
Corbans Private Bin Hawke's Bay Gewurztraminer 2004
Hunters Wines Gewurztraminer 2005
Lawson's Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 2004
Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Gewurztraminer 2005

Dish magazine Champion Pinot Gris Trophy
Astrolabe Wines Ltd Pinot Gris 2005
Kathy Lynskey Wines Ltd Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2005
Lawson's Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2005
Triplebank Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2005
Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2005

AMPM Marketing Limited Champion Riesling Trophy
Cardmember Delta Marlborough Riesling 2005
Cardmember Hunter's Stoneburn Marlborough Riesling 2004
Cardmember Kahurangi Estate Heaphy Series Moutere Riesling 2004
Coopers Creek Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 2005
Forrest Estate Dry Riesling 2002
Grove Mill Marlborough Riesling 2004
Hunters Wines Riesling 2004
Soljans Wines Riesling 2005
Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Riesling 2004
Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Seddon Riesling 2002

BDO Spicers Champion Other White Varieties Trophy
Cardmember Cooper's Creek Limited Release Gisborne Viognier 2005
Coopers Creek Vineyard Gisborne Viognier 2005

Marlborough Bottling Company Champion Medium Sweet or Sweet Wine Trophy
Canterbury House Noble Riesling 2004
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Noble Riesling 2004

Hort Research Champion Rosé or Blush Trophy
Esk Valley Estate Black Label Merlot/Malbec/Rose 2005

Huka Lodge Champion Merlot Trophy
Capricorn Wines One Tree Merlot 2004
Mills Reef Elspeth Merlot 2004
Villa Maria Estate Private Bin Merlot 2004
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Merlot 2002

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Merlot Predominant Blend Trophy
Capricorn Wines Red Rock Gravel Pit Red 2004
Esk Valley Estate Black Label Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2004
Karikari Estate Merlot Malbec Cabernet 2004
Mills Reef Reserve Merlot Malbec 2004
Matua Valley Ararimu Merlot/Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Mills Reef Reserve Merlot Cabernet Syrah 2001
Vidal Wines Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Vidal Wines Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

Carter & Associates Champion Cabernet Sauvignon or Predominant Blend Trophy
Kingsley Estate Gimblett Road Reserve 2004
Mission Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Newton Forrest Cornerstone Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2002

Business World Travel Champion Syrah Trophy
Bridge Pa Vineyard Hawke's Bay Syrah 2004
Capricorn Wines Red Rock The Underarm Syrah 2003
Unison Vineyard Ltd Syrah 2004

The New World Champion Open White Wine Trophy and the Sunday Star Times Champion Open Red Wine Trophy will be awarded to wines in their classes with stock levels declared in excess of 9,000 litres.

No gold medals were awarded in the New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Other Red Varieties Trophy class.

ENDS

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