Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recent Awards - Published 16.09.11

Wine shows are important for the wine industry for a couple of reasons. Firstly because winning a medal and, in particular, a gold medal or trophy means producers get to put a nice shiny sticker on the bottles they are trying to entice you and me to buy. A medal of any colour is a general indication that the wine is of good quality, it may not necessarily be to your taste but it should be a good example of the variety. The second key reason for those in the industry is it lets producers benchmark their product against other wines; as all judging is blind (the judges don’t know whose wine they are tasting) and because judges at wine shows are generally all very experienced, have palates that are able to detect small nuances in wines and are able to express why they prefer one wine over another it is fair to say wine producers find out very quickly whether or not their wines are up to generally accepted industry standards.However we also need to remember that not every winery enters wine competitions, either because they have already established a great name for themselves in the market place and or because of the expense. By the time a winery pays to enter the competition which can be expensive, sends several bottles of each wine entered and then have the cost of attending an awards dinner if they are in the running for a trophy of some sort it is not a cheap exercise.
On top of that some competitions insist you have a certain amount of wine available for sale after the awards and many small wineries simply don’t make the volume of wine required so are excluded from entering by default.
Having said all of that Nelson wineries have performed exceptionally well in the recent round of wine shows, especially for aromatic style wines. Gold medals for sauvignon blanc, riesling, gewurztraminer, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah are very good results but two trophies for Riesling is simply exciting. Kaimira Estates Iti Selection Brightwater Riesling 2011 (low alcohol) was the Champion Riesling at the New Zealand International Wine Show while Brightwater Vineyards Nelson Riesling 2011was the Champion Riesling at the Bragato Wine Awards. And let’s not forget Seifried Estate winning three gold medals in the same show for three different rieslings, a fantastic achievement.
For one of New Zealand’s smallest wine producing regions the wineries here certainly punch well above their weight. About 3% of New Zealand’s wine is made here but the region won 4.5% of gold medals awarded (200) at the NZ International Wine Show that attracted entries from around the world and 16% (51 awarded) at the Bragato Wine Awards.

On a local note the fiercely competed for Colin Harrison Memorial Trophy for this region’s best Chardonnay was awarded to Rimu Grove’s 2010 Chardonnay, one to look forward to when it is released later in the year.
Over the next few columns I will have a look at the award winning wines, let’s start with
Waimea Estates 2011 Sauvignon Blanc - $19.00
Bursting with pungent floral aromas of white peach and passionfruit with a palate that is full, rich and fruity with lashings of crisp lime flavours to balance the fullness of the passionfruit characters. With a long juicy finish this wine certainly deserves its gold medal status.
Kahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Chardonnay 2010 - $22.00
There is nothing shy and delicate about this old fashioned beast. Flavours are packed with big oak characters with lovely creamy butterscotch flavours, a dusting of oak toast and some lovely herbal characters all beautifully balanced and wrapped up in a lusciously rich texture.

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