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Sauvignon Blanc Shines At Air NZ Wine Awards

Sauvignon Blanc from 2004 vintage shine at 2004 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

The high quality of New Zealand’s 2004 Sauvignon Blanc is reflected in this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards with a strong showing of the popular white wine varietal with a record 14 gold medals, two more gold medals than were awarded last year.

Across all varieties 78 wines have received gold medals. Chardonnay also increased its gold medal count from 16 to 17 gold medals and maintains the position as the variety with the most number of gold medals awarded.

Pinot Noir was again a strong gold medal category with 11 gold medals awarded to this variety. This was however down on the 13 gold medals awarded last year.

The other significant red wine category, Cabernet Merlot blends saw an increase from seven to 10 gold medals. Merlot was awarded four gold medals with all these wines from the 2002 vintage.

Judged last week in Auckland, the medal tally totaled 665, down by 4% on the total awarded last year. Out of the record 1,403 entries 53% were awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal (in comparison to 57% last year).

Gold medals were up by 1%, silver medals down by 3% to 156 with the large increase coming in bronze medals up by nearly 10% to 504, compared to last year’s 459.

Air New Zealand General Manager Marketing, Network and Sales Norm Thompson commends the many wineries around the country that have taken part in the 2004 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

“Air New Zealand’s sponsorship of the awards has reached its 18th year, a remarkable partnership which this year has seen a record number of wineries choosing to showcase their wines,” he says.

“Congratulations to the wineries awarded gold, silver and bronze medals this year and the very best of luck to the gold medal winners for this Saturday’s announcement of the trophies and overall Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show.”

White wines led the way in the gold medal stakes with 46 awarded (5% of total white entries) followed by red wines with 31 (6% of total red entries) and sparkling with one gold medal (2% of all sparkling entries).

In addition to the impressive performance by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling also performed well reaping eight gold medals. Niche white varieties Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer were each awarded two gold medals with another new variety Viognier also earning a gold medal. Sweet wines were awarded two gold medals.

Gold medals in the red wines were dominated by 11 gold medals to Pinot Noir and 10 to Cabernet Merlot blends. Merlot gained four gold medals and Syrah continued its very strong performance with three gold medals and 75% of all its entries receiving a medal.

Marlborough wines took out the highest number of gold medals, receiving nearly half the quotient with 35, followed by Hawkes Bay with 29, Otago with seven, Gisborne with three, Wellington (including Martinborough) with two and Canterbury with one.

The wines were judged over a three day period by 21 experienced judges including two leading international wine experts – Matthew Dukes, UK wine correspondent for the Daily Mail Weekend magazine and BBC Radio and Nick Stock a wine sommelier, consultant and writer from Adelaide, Australia.

All trophy winners will be announced at the Air New Zealand Wine Award’s dinner on Saturday November 13 in Blenheim. This is the first time the awards have been held outside a main centre. Details of all medal winners will be available on http://www.wineshow.co.nz from 2.00pm Monday November 8 and trophy winners from 9.00am Monday November 14.

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