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Wine Awards Announce Gold Medal Winners

Air New Zealand Wine Awards Announce Gold Medal Winners

• Highest number of entries ever – 89 gold medals awarded

• Sauvignon Blanc largest category

• Riesling showed outstanding purity

The quality of wines judged at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards will ensure New Zealand continues its popularity on the international stage, according to chairman of the judges, Brent Marris.

"We saw exceptional wines across all classes during the three-day judging," he said.

A total of 89 gold medal wines will go on to vie for 18 trophies at the prestigious Air New Zealand Wine Awards on Saturday 11 November in Hawke’s Bay.

Managed by New Zealand Winegrowers, with naming-rights sponsor Air New Zealand, the awards attracted 1,737 entries this year. A panel of 18 local and two international judges awarded wines with 89 gold medals, 261 silver medals and 592 bronze medals.

This year a record 328 entries were received for Sauvignon Blanc, the highest in the awards’ history. Sauvignon Blancs won 19 gold medals, for the first time surpassing Chardonnay which has traditionally been the highest gold medal winning category.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive, Philip Gregan, said it is exciting to see winemakers excel in their profession and take pride in producing a premium product which continues to push New Zealand internationally.

"This year we celebrate 20 years of Air New Zealand’s sponsorship and have seen the competition grow from 444 entries in 1986 to 1,737 entries in 2006. We are looking forward to seeing this competition grow in the future," he said.

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International judge Sam Harrop, Master of Wine, praised the organisation and thoroughness of the judging process. Harrop, a New Zealander based in the United Kingdom, is a winemaking consultant.

"I have judged at many wine competitions around the world and the Air New Zealand Wine Awards is by far the most well run and organised event. This competition is the biggest for New Zealand wines and when consumers see the Air New Zealand Wine Awards logo they should feel confident they’re getting the best," he said.

Brent Marris said Sauvignon Blanc was an extremely strong class with 19 gold medals awarded. "The high quality fruit harvested in the 2006 vintage has seen excellent wines produced in this class. We can be assured that the high quality 2006 Sauvignon Blanc has hit the international level that it has commanded in the past," he said.

Pinot Noir wines from the 2005 vintage were awarded 15 gold medals from a class of 243 wines. Mr Marris said that the gold medal winning Pinot Noir wines were of high international quality. "Pinot Noir has generated overwhelming international interest in the recent years. Both 2004 and 2005 vintages have produced exceptional wine which will help to continue this enthusiasm from our markets," he said.

Syrah wines from the 2005 vintage were awarded four gold medals, up one from last year. Mr Marris was impressed with this category and believes this variety is becoming more adaptable to the warmer regions of New Zealand grape growing. "There were varied styles of Syrah this year which is exciting for this variety," he said.

Merlot and Merlot predominant blends from the 2004 vintage were awarded nine gold medals. "Those vineyards that achieved ripe fruit and ripe tannin with balanced oak were clearly rewarded for this with gold and silver medals," Mr Marris said.

Riesling wines won nine gold medals. "Riesling was an exciting class this year. Wines were very fruit focused and drier in style with a lot of purity about them," said Marris.

Pinot Gris wines won six gold medals, up one from last year. Mr Marris said the Pinot Gris class was once again huge as this emerging variety gains popularity. "The top wines in this class displayed lovely concentration and weight with acid balance being their main strength," he said.

There were 15 gold medals awarded for Chardonnay. "The top Chardonnays expressed elegance and refinement that consumers would appreciate," said Marris.

On Saturday night, New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand will host 800 guests in Hawke’s Bay to experience first-hand, the trophy wines, accompanied by a stunning five course dinner designed by Air New Zealand’s executive chefs – Rex Morgan from Citron in Wellington and Inspire in Queenstown, Peter Gordon from dine in Auckland and The Providores in London, Geoff Scott from Vinnies in Auckland and Govind Armstrong from Table 8 in Los Angeles and Miami.

The Air New Zealand Wine Award trophies will be announced at midnight on Saturday, November 11, 2006.

The medal results for the 2006 Air New Zealand Wine Awards will be available from today on and and the trophy results will be available from midnight Saturday, November 11, 2006.

For further information please contact:
Brent Marris
Chairman of Judges, Air New Zealand Wine Awards
Phone 09 522 9684 or 029 778 2444

Philip Gregan
Chief Executive Officer, New Zealand Winegrowers
Phone 09 306 5555 or 0274 964 564

Chris Yorke
Global Marketing Director, New Zealand Winegrowers
Phone 09 306 5551 or 021 419 194

Gold Medal Winning Wines
Please find below the gold medal winning wines which will compete for the following Air New Zealand Wine Awards trophies to be announced at midnight on Saturday, November 11, 2006.

GlobalCap NZ Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy
Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Kim Crawford SP SH63 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Kim Crawford SP Small Parcel Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Kim Crawford SP Spitfire Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Martinborough Te Tera Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3 Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 6 Sauvignon Block 2006
Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Ti Point Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Tinpot Hut Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Villa Maria Reserve Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Waipara Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006

O-I New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy
Astrolabe Chardonnay 2005
Brightwater Chardonnay 2005
Bushmere Estate Chardonnay 2005
Hunter's Chardonnay 2004
Kim Crawford Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2006
Kim Crawford SP Tietjen Gisborne Chardonnay 2005
Marsden Estate Black Rocks Chardonnay 2005
Montana Estates Ormond Chardonnay 2004
Saints Chardonnay 2005
Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Chardonay 2004
Spy Valley Chardonnay 2005
Spy Valley Chardonnay 2004
Squawking Magpie Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2004
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Auckland Ihumatao Chardonnay 2005
Wither Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2004

Nissan New Zealand Limited Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy
Fierte Methode Traditionnelle Cuvee Number Six
Paradox Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle NV
Vic Williams Selection Marlborough Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier 2002

Air Sea Global Champion Pinot Noir Trophy
Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Pinot Noir 2005
Blue Ridge Pinot Noir 2005
Cooper's Creek Release Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005
Clayridge Excalibur Pinot Noir 2005
Delta Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005
Goldfields Pinot Noir 2005
Hatter's Hill Pinot Noir 2005
Martinborough Vineyard Estates Te Tera Pinot Noir 2005
Mount Michael Bessie's Block Pinot Noir 2005
Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2005
Three Paddles Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004
Triplebank Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2005
Te Mania Reserve Pinot Noir 2005
Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Label and Litho Champion Gewurztraminer Trophy
Allan Scott Gewurztraminer 2006
Lawson's Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 2005
Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2006

Huka Lodge Champion Pinot Gris Trophy
Astrolabe Marlborough Pinot Gris 2006
Coopers Creek SV Marlborough Pinot Gris 2006
Morton Estate Private Reserve Pinot Gris 2006
Mount Riley Pinot Gris 2006
Renato Estate Pinot Gris 2006
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2006

AMPM Marketing Champion Riesling Trophy
Camshorn Waipara Classic Riesling 2005
Cooper's Creek Riparian Marlborough Riesling 2006
Greystone Waipara Riesling 2006
Morton Estate Stone Creek Riesling 2004
Palliser Estate Martinborough Riesling 2006
Seifried Estate Riesling 2006
Tohu Marlborough Riesling 2006
Vavasour Wines Riesling 2003
Waimea Estates Classic Riesling 2003

Marlborough Bottling Company Champion Medium Sweet or Sweet Wine Trophy
Forrest Estate Botrytised Riesling 2006
Jackson Estate Marlborough Botrytis Riesling 2006

BDO Spicers Champion Rosé or Blush Trophy
Clearview Black Reef Blush 2006
Esk Valley Black Label Merlot Malbec Rosé 2006

Bayleys Champion Merlot Trophy
Saint Clair Rapaura Reserve Merlot 2005
Villa Maria Reserve Merlot 2004 Hawke’s Bay
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Twyford Gravels Merlot 2004

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Merlot Predominant Blend Trophy
Beach House Merlot 2005
Esk Valley Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Te Awa ''Zone 6'' Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet 2003
Trinity Hill "The Gimblett" 2004
Vidal Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Carter & Associates Champion Cabernet Sauvignon or Predominant Blend Trophy
Hatton Estate Tahi-One Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2004

Business World Travel Champion Syrah Trophy
Bridge Pa Vineyard Louis Syrah 2004
Passage Rock Waiheke Island Reserve Syrah 2005
Silks Syrah 2005
Trinity Hill "Homage" Syrah 2004

Hort Research Champion Other Red Varieties Trophy
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2005
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.
The New World Champion Open White Wine Trophy and Fairfax Media Champion Open Red Wine Trophy will be awarded to wines in their classes with stock levels declared in excess of 9,000 litres.

Gold Medal Winning Wines by Varietal

Gold Medals Gold
Sauvignon Blanc 19
Chardonnay 15
Sparkling 3
Pinot Noir 15
Gewurztraminer 3
Pinot Gris 6
Riesling 9
Medium Sweet or Sweet Wine Trophy 2
Rosé or Blush 2
Merlot 3
Merlot Predominant Blend 6
Syrah 4
Cabernet Sauvignon or Predominant Blend 1
Other Red Varieties 1
Other White Varieties 0
Total 89

Gold Medal Wins by Region

Regional Breakdown Gold
Auckland 2
Canterbury 2
Gisborne 4
Hawke’s Bay 17
Marlborough 50
Nelson 5
Northland 1
Otago 4
Waikato/BOP 0
Wellington/Wairarapa 4
Total 89


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