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Top Sauvignon Blancs Named at Showcase

Media Release for immediate use, 2 November 2006

Top Sauvignon Blancs Named at Mainland’s Premium Showcase

The winner of the eleventh annual Christchurch Casino Sauvignon Blanc First Taste Awards was announced at an awards dinner tonight held at Christchurch Casino’s Grand Cafe.

The awards recognise the finest Sauvignon Blancs made from South Island grown grapes.

Nick Blackburn, who accepted the premium title, the First Taste Award, on behalf of Kim Crawford Wines for their Kim Crawford Small Parcel Sauvignon Blanc says, “We are delighted to have our wine recognised in such a way. It represents the pinnacle of Kim Crawford Wines from Marlborough. The night has been a great success for our label.”

Kim Crawford wines were also awarded two of the five gold medals given on the night.

Members of the public voted Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc 2006 as the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Well over a thousand people tasted and judged wines entered in this year’s competition, a huge increase from last year.

The VIP Best Label Award, a new award that is selected by the casino’s Club Aspinall members, was awarded to Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006.

Christchurch Casino has run the awards, which are the South Island’s only Sauvignon Blanc competition, since 1996. The awards are always extremely popular and constantly attract some of the country’s top vineyards.

The First Taste Award is the premier award given to the wine that is determined to be the most outstanding entrant by the master judges. In line with international standards, all wines that are deemed to be of ‘gold medal standard’ will also receive a gold medal and certificate.

The awards are judged by three of New Zealand’s foremost wine experts. Terry Copeland, President of the Japan Wine Challenge, well-known wine writer Graham Watson, and Ivan Donaldson, owner of Pegasus Bay winery.

To maintain the awards premium positioning in the South Island, this year’s entries were limited to 50. With over 75 entries this year, Terry Copeland completed a blind tasting to determine the final 50 entries.

“The wines just keep getting better and better. Last year the overall standard of the wine was amazing and this year was no different. Limiting the number of entrants to 50 meant that only the best wines made it through to the competition stage.”

“This year saw five gold medals awarded, which is a good sign for the Sauvignon Blanc wine-making industry in the South Island. A real sub-regional diversity of style was evident in this year’s wines. This makes the wines much more interesting,” says Chief Judge Terry Copeland.

Christchurch Casino Acting Chief Executive Stephen Lyttelton says the competition at the 2006 awards was as tight as ever.

“It was a fantastic night for everyone. The awards attracted 50 great quality entries from vineyards spread all over the South Island so we can confidently say that the South Island’s premier Sauvignon Blanc has been found.”

“New Zealand wine lovers should keep an eye on tonight’s winners. In previous years some of our award winners have gone on to win some major international awards, and we see no reason why this year’s winners can’t do the same. The quality of the 2006 winners proves that the Mainland is home to some world-class wines,” says Stephen Lyttelton.

Results
First Taste Award: Kim Crawford Small Parcel Sauvignon Blanc
The People’s Choice Award: Mount Riley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
VIP Best Label: Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Gold Medal: Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Kim Crawford Small Parcel Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 6 Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Wither Hills 2006 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc


ENDS

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