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A Toast To This Year’s Wine List Of The Year

A Toast To This Year’s Winner Of The 2003 New Zealand Wine List Of The Year Awards

Raise your glass! The winner of the Inaugural Lace Fine Wine Merchants - New Zealand Wine List of the Year Awards has been announced.

Selected from entries received from all over New Zealand, the overall national winner is the Herzog Winery and Luxury Restaurant in Blenheim.

The highly qualified judging panel comprised Master of Wine Bob Campbell, outstanding New Zealand winemaker Brent Marris from Wither Hills Vineyards, hospitality industry stalwart John Ingle, wine columnist Joelle Thomson, leading wine and food writer Vic Williams and Lace Fine Wine Merchants Managing Director Chris Eerden.

“The winning establishment has an outstanding, comprehensive wine list that offers a diverse range of quality wines, from its own vineyards to wines from across the globe,” said John Ingle.

The category winners are:

National Winner and winner Restaurant - Large Wine List category - over 50 wines - Herzog Winery and Luxury Restaurant, Jeffries Road, Blenheim. Restaurant - Small Wine List category - under 50 wines - 2 Chefs, George Street, Dunedin. Café/Brasserie category - Café Bastille, Majoribanks Street, Wellington. Bar/Club Restaurant category - The Northern Club - Members’ Dining Room, Princes Street, Auckland. Classic Cuisines category - Toto, Nelson Street, Auckland. Regional category - The Martinborough Bistrot, The Square, Martinborough. Best New Restaurant category - Halo Restaurant, St Heliers, Auckland.

Judges assessed wine lists giving priority to the viewpoint of the customer. Judging criteria included content, pricing, presentation and suitability to cuisine and establishment style.

Many establishments had a good range of wines, but the X-factor is what sets a fantastic wine list apart from its competitors.

“What sets a winner apart could be wine offered in varying tasting measures, or accurate, informative tasting notes from the sommelier to describe the wine to the diner,” said Mr Ingle.

“We were looking for the innovative use of a range of vertical (or horizontal) wine listings – that is, the same wine from different years being offered,” he said. “Only a very small percentage out of hundreds of wine lists had any sort of reference to the sommelier or owner voicing their own choice of wine.”

He said that too many wine lists read like books – they sometimes provided a fantastic range of wines, but were not inventive or creative enough in their presentation to maintain the customer’s interest.

Vic Williams noted that local wine makers were keen to try imported wines made from the same variety of grapes grown in their region. This allows them to compare their own wines with imported ones, and restaurants are a great venue to provide this facility.

He commented that there were some very impressive entries, particularly in the Large Wine List category.

“There were many good lists offering wines in all price brackets, but in some cases I felt there was too much concentration on imports at the expense of providing a full coverage of New Zealand regions,” he said.

“Some establishments had wine lists that were laid out in an unappealing manner, were difficult to read or did not specify wine vintages.”

The following restaurants from around New Zealand were awarded a rating of 5 Decanters (equating to 5 Stars) for an outstanding wine list:

Herzog Winery and Luxury Restaurant - Blenheim Café Bastille - Wellington The Northern Club - Members Dining Room - Auckland Halo Restaurant - Auckland Gantleys Restaurant - Queenstown O’Connell Street Bistro - Auckland Roxburgh Bistro - Wellington Saggio di vino - Christchurch Te Whau Vineyard Café – Waiheke Island The Bach - Taupo The Copper Club - Christchurch Wharekauhau Country Estate - Featherston

Awards organiser, Chris Eerden, said, “This year was great in that there was a spread of restaurants from all around the country, with both large and small restaurants and clubs entering. It was an extremely positive result, and we will definitely be doing it again in 2004.”

The National Winner scooped a trip for two to Australia with first night’s accommodation, an introduction to some of Australia’s leading winemakers, a Riedel Decanter set in a specially designed display case and a framed award certificate.

Category winners received a range of prizes from award sponsors including luxury accommodation, gourmet food products and wine and a framed award certificate.

Award certificates have been provided to all restaurants, cafés, clubs and bars according to the rating they received. Consumers can therefore use these ratings as a guide.

© Scoop Media

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