Central Otago Pinot Noir awarded top honours at 2010 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

21 November 2010

Central Otago Pinot Noir has taken out the top awards at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

The Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 has won the Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show trophy.

The Central Otago region received further recognition with the Gibbston Valley China Terrace Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 being awarded top sustainable wine – receiving the O-I New Zealand Champion Sustainable Wine trophy.

Chair of judges Steve Smith (MW) said the Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 was “the finest example of the finest red wine variety in this country”.

“Wild flowers, thyme and black fruits on the nose, nothing restrained but there are a few hidden earth and savoury bits hiding in the corner, with briary dry forest on the palate and black cherry and vivid fruit notes.”

Organised and owned by New Zealand Winegrowers, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the country’s most prestigious wine competition, and regarded as the official competition of the New Zealand wine industry. This year’s competition saw 1,579 wines entered from ten key wine growing regions.

The three regions that received the majority of the 19 trophies were Hawke’s Bay with six, and Marlborough and Central Otago receiving five each. Gisborne, Nelson and Canterbury/Waipara also received trophies.

New Zealand Winegrowers’ global marketing director Chris Yorke said the announcement of the trophy winners concludes a programme of several months that has seen quality across the board, from entries to medal winners to tonight’s trophy winners, including the pure elite gold and elite gold medal winners.

“New Zealand Winegrowers congratulates all winners and entrants. The Air New Zealand Wine Awards’ medal sticker helps consumers with wine-buying decisions and we are delighted that this year’s competition has highlighted the quality and variety of the wine produced by New Zealand wine industry,” Mr Yorke said.

Sustainability continued to be an important focus at this year’s awards with 13 Pure Elite Gold Medals awarded (up from just two in 2009). Of the 13 Pure Elite Gold Medals, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir featured prominently, receiving five and four medals respectively.

Seventeen Elite Gold Medals were awarded across numerous varietals and classes including: Riesling, Dessert Wine, Syrah and Chardonnay. Elite Gold Medals are Gold Medals with distinction and are specially recognised as outstanding gold medal wines.

“Pure medals were introduced three years ago to acknowledge medal-winning wines that are 100 per cent sustainably grown and produced, so it’s pleasing to see that this is continuing to grow,” Mr Yorke said.

From this year, wines grown and entered from the 2010 vintage onwards had to be 100 per cent sustainably produced in both the vineyard and winery. This only applied to wines entered from the 2010 vintage.

Air New Zealand is a long-time and proud supporter of the New Zealand wine industry and has been a partner of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards for more than 20 years.

“It’s great to see the wine industry’s commitment to sustainability and it is an important focus of this year’s awards,” says Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe.

“Credible sustainability can give New Zealand wines that competitive edge in key overseas markets.”

Regional Highlights
The winning wines from Hawke’s Bay were: Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay 2009; Squawking Magpie "The Stoned Crow" Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2008; Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2008; Church Road Cuve Merlot 2007; Left Field Merlot Malbec 2009; and Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2007.

The winning wines from Marlborough were: Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc 2010; Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling 2010 (received two trophies); The Sounds Méthode Traditionnelle 2007; and Allan Scott Family Winemakers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2008.

The winning wines from Central Otago were; Peregrine Pinot Noir 2009 (received three trophies); Gibbston Valley China Terrace Pinot Noir 2009; and Olssens Slapjack Creek Pinot Noir 2009.

Air New Zealand Wine Awards results and dinner
The gold, silver and bronze medal winners were announced on Wednesday 10 November. All results are available at www.airnzwineawards.co.nz.

The 2010 Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner was held in Auckland last night (20th November) at SKYCITY and was attended by 700 guests.

Guests enjoyed the trophy-winning wines accompanied by a six-course menu designed by some of New Zealand’s best chefs. Using local Auckland produce and focusing on Pacific influences, the menu was designed by Air New Zealand’s team of consultant chefs including: Rex Morgan from Boulcott Street Bistro in Wellington; Peter Gordon from dine by Peter Gordon and Bellota in Auckland; and The Providores and Tapa Room in London; and Geoff Scott from Vinnies Restaurant in Auckland.

For a full list of Trophy winners, click here.