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Auckland Gewürztraminer Tops Cuisine Tasting

12 April 2006

Auckland Gewürztraminer Tops Cuisine Aromatics Tasting

Cuisine magazine has just announced the results of its annual aromatic wine tasting. One of the fastest growing categories domestically, aromatic white wines featured in the tasting were Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and the highly fashionable Viognier.

According to most observers, New Zealand's finest aromatic white wines flow from the cool-climate wine regions - the Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago. Yet the top wine in this tasting was grown in Auckland and the overall best buy came from Hawke's Bay.

The top wine of the tasting was Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Gewürztraminer 2005 while the 'Best Buy' was Southbank Estate Hawke's Bay Riesling 2004.

Villa Maria managing director George Fistonich said this result for their Gewürztraminer shows that Auckland winemaking holds some surprises for wine traditionalists.

"This does not necessarily come as a surprise to us. In 1978 we planted 100 acres in the Ihumatao region which produced trophy-winning Gewürztraminer. Unfortunately, the vines were pulled out in 1991 for airport development. When we built the new Villa Maria winery and established new vineyards we already had the viticulture knowledge and experience to produce premiumquality wines such as this Gewürztraminer."

Cuisine wine editor, Michael Cooper, said Marlborough dominated the tasting, earning more than 60 per cent of the four-star and above ratings. Yet the top examples of each variety all sprang from other regions - Pinot Gris from Central Otago (Chard Farm 2005), Riesling from Waipara (Pegasus Bay 2005), Viognier from Hawke's Bay (Trinity Hill 2005) and Gewürztraminer from Auckland. In the Riesling class, two-thirds of the four-star and above wines were of Marlborough origin, but a quintet of Waipara wines also stood out.

The May issue of Cuisine also features a special Spanish wine tasting. The Spanish wine industry is experiencing rapid change as a new generation of entrepreneurial, welleducated and widely travelled winemakers are providing a new wave of Spanish wines that can compete with the world's best. One of the features of the Cuisine tasting was the number of valueformoney Spanish wines available in New Zealand, with most offering change out of $20.

The results of both of these tastings enable Cuisine to continue giving its readers invaluable recommendations on local and international wines in their pursuit of wine, food and good living.

Taste the New Zealand aromatic whites and the Spanish highlights at selected fine-wine stores throughout the country. Tasting dates and contact details are listed below. TA S T E C U I S I N T O P W I N E S Auckland

First Glass Wines & Spirits 5 Huron St, Takapuna, ph: 09-486 6415 Wed 19 April

La Barrique 31 Normanby Rd, Mt Eden, ph: 09-638 5000 Wed 19 April (Aromatics) Wed 3 May (Spanish)

Glengarry Victoria Park Cnr Wellesley & Sales Sts, ph: 0800-733 505 Sat 29 April 10am-4pm (free)

Waiheke Wine Centre 153 Oceanview Rd, ph: 09-372 6139 Thurs 27 April

Hamilton Napier Hamilton Wine Company Upstairs at The Bank, Victoria St, ph: 07-839 1190 Wed 19 April

Swig 19 Carlyle St, ph: 06-835 7999 Fri 5 May

Wellington Nelson Glengarry Thorndon Quay 232 Thorndon Quay, ph: 04-472 7051 Fri 28 April (free)

Casa del Vino 214 Hardy St, Nelson, ph: 03-548 0088 Wed 26 April

Christchurch Arrowtown Vino Fino 188 Durham St; ph: 03-365 5134 Tues 2 May

Allan Hamilton Wine Cellars Ramshaw Lane, ph: 03-442 1026 Thurs 11 May


Wanaka Fine Wines 19 Helwick St, ph: 03-443 7539 Tues 9 May


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