Pinot Noir Shines at Milestone Air New Zealand Wine Awards

04 November 2011

  • 83 gold medals awarded at 2011 Air New Zealand Wine Awards
  • Pinot Noir scoops 20% of all gold medals awarded, topping the varietal classes
  • 77% of gold medals awarded to sustainable wines

83 gold medals have been awarded at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards – 77% of which were awarded to sustainable wines. Today’s announcement follows last week’s three days of judging and precedes a gala dinner on Saturday 12 November in Auckland, where the sought-after trophies, and elite gold medal winners will be announced.

Pinot Noir received the most gold medals for the fourth year in a row (17), followed by Sauvignon Blanc (14) and Chardonnay (10). Of the gold medals awarded this year, 77% (64) are pure gold medals. Pure medals were introduced in 2007 to acknowledge medal-winning wines that are 100 per cent sustainably grown and produced.

Air New Zealand General Manager Marketing and Communications Mike Tod congratulated the gold medal winners, saying it was fantastic to see the very high standard of entries across the spectrum of varietals.
“Air New Zealand prides itself on showcasing the very best of New Zealand to the millions of customers travelling with us each year, and food and wine is a critical differentiator for us. We look forward to bringing a taste of a number of these award-winning wines to our customers in the coming months.”
Given Air New Zealand’s focus on environmental sustainability, the airline has also been really impressed with the wine industry’s commitment to sustainable business practices, Mr Tod said.

2011 is a milestone year for The Air New Zealand Wine Awards, which marks a 25 year partnership between the Awards and New Zealand’s national airline, with Air New Zealand becoming the naming rights sponsor of the Awards for the first time in 1987. Over the last 25 years, nearly 30,000 wine entries have been submitted, and evaluated by more than 130 different judges, including over 50 international judges.

Mike Tod says the airline is very proud of its long-standing association with New Zealand’s most prestigious wine awards.
“It has been a privilege for us to have worked alongside the industry through a remarkable period of growth. This has seen an explosion in the range of varietals that we sell to the world and the emergence of a very clear focus on sustainability."

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 1,489 wines entered from ten key wine growing regions. In addition to the 83 gold medals, 230 silver medals and 386 bronze medals were also awarded.

Varietal and regional highlights
For the fourth year in a row, Pinot Noir was the varietal that received the most gold medals with 17 awarded this year. Pinot Noir also received 40 silver medals and 84 bronze medals.

The Marlborough region received the most medals totalling 332, up 28 from last year, including 32 gold medals, 118 silver medals and 182 bronze medals. Hawke’s Bay received 156 medals in total with 22 gold medals, 55 silver medals and 79 bronze medals. Otago received 85 medals in total with 12 gold medals, 23 silver medals and 50 bronze medals.

Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Syrah featured prominently in this year’s awards as well as the emerging Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris classes.

Awards Dinner
Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner and results
The trophy results will be available after the Awards dinner on Saturday 12 November 2011. New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand will host around 650 guests at Auckland’s Langham Hotel at a black-tie gala dinner.

Guests will taste the trophy wines accompanied by an exquisite menu designed by Air New Zealand's consultant chefs.

Judging
The Air New Zealand Wine Awards has a rigorous judging process undertaken by a team consisting of experienced international and local judges.
All wines in the competition were judged over three days from 25 – 27 October at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.

The 21-strong judging team is chaired by Steve Smith, Master of Wine (MW), and included three international judges; Michael Hill Smith MW (Australia), Charles Metcalfe (United Kingdom) and Joe Czerwinski (United States).

RESULTS

2011 Air New Zealand Wine Awards Gold Medals by varietal

Sparkling – 1
Gewurztraminer – 5
Pinot Gris – 7
Riesling – 8
Sauvignon Blanc – 14
Chardonnay – 10
Viognier – 3
Dessert Wine Styles – 6
Rosé – 1
Pinot Noir – 17
Merlot – 3
Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blends – 3
Syrah – 3
Emerging Wine Styles – 2
Total – 83

2011 Air New Zealand Wine Awards Gold Medals by region
Auckland – 4
Hawke's Bay – 22
Wellington / Wairarapa – 3
Nelson – 6
Marlborough – 32
Canterbury – 3
Otago – 12
Other – 1
Totals – 83

Pure Medals
Pure medals acknowledge medal-winning wines that are 100 per cent sustainably grown and produced. The medals include Pure Elite Gold, Pure Gold, Pure Silver and Pure Bronze. The Pure Elite Gold and Pure Gold medal winning wines compete for the Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy.

Gold medal-winning wines
The gold medal-winning wines below will compete for 19 Air New Zealand Wine Awards trophies. Pure gold medal winners will also compete for the O-I New Zealand Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy. All trophy winners and elite gold medal winners will be announced at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards Dinner on Saturday 12 November 2011.

Label and Litho Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Pure Gold
Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Jules Taylor Wines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Kina Cliffs Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Lake Chalice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Matua Valley Single Vineyard Wairau Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Maven Premier Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Sacred Hill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Sacred Hill Three Passes Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Te Mania Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Tohu Mugwi Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Waimea Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2011

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Noir
Pure Gold
Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Gibbston Valley School House Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Judge Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Mud House Single Vineyard Casey's Road Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010
Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 22 Barn Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Triple Bank Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Two Degrees Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Gold
Brennan Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009
Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009

Rabobank Champion Chardonnay
Pure Gold
Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Vidal Reserve Series Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2010
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2010
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2010
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2009
Waipara Springs Premo Waipara Chardonnay 2010
Gold
Morton Estate Black Label Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2007

Wineworks Champion Sparkling Wine
Gold
The Sounds Marlborough Méthode Traditionnelle 2008

Stuff.co.nz Champion Gewurztraminer
Pure Gold
Distant Land Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2011
Flying Sheep Single Vineyard Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer 2010
Gold
Alan McCorkindale Waipara Valley Gewurztraminer 2009
Corbans Private Bin Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2008

Guala Closures NZ Champion Pinot Gris
Pure Gold
Elephant Hill Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2011
Moncellier Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Mud House South Island Pinot Gris 2010
Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Stanley Estates Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Pure Gold
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Riesling 2010
Greystone Waipara Valley Riesling 2010
Martinborough Vineyard Manu Martinborough Riesling 2011
Te Whare Ra Marlborough Riesling "D" 2011

BDO Champion Other White and Rosé Wine
Pure Gold
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke's Bay Viognier 2010
Waimea Nelson Viognier 2010

Business World Travel Champion Merlot
Pure Gold
Stoneleigh Marlborough Merlot 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Merlot 2008
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke's Bay Merlot 2009

Gold Medal Vintage Insurance Champion Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot/Cabernet Blend
Pure Gold
Mudbrick Vineyard Waiheke Island Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Gold
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke's Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah
Pure Gold
Bilancia Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2010
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010
Gold
Squawking Magpie Stoned Crow Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2009

The Langham, Auckland Champion Dessert Wine
Pure Gold
Saint Clair Reserve Awatere Valley Marlborough Noble Riesling 2009
Seifried Nelson Sweet Agnes Riesling 2011
Villa Maria Reserve Noble Botrytis Selection Marlborough Riesling 2011
Gold
Charles Wiffen Late Harvest Marlborough Riesling 2009
Corbans Cottage Block Cut Cane Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2009
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Noble Hawke's Bay Viognier 2009

New World Champion Open White Wine
Pure Gold
Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Lake Chalice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Maven Premier Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Mud House South Island Pinot Gris 2010
Stanley Estates Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Te Mania Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Fairfax Media Champion Open Red Wine
Pure Gold
Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010
Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Stoneleigh Marlborough Merlot 2010
Gold
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke's Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Newstalk ZB Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Pure Gold
8 Ranges Central Otago Pinot Rosé 2011
alex.gold Pinot Gris 2011
Lawson's Dry Hills The Pioneer Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
Moana Park Hawke's Bay Viognier 2010
Nautilus Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010
Ngatarawa Cellar Door Riesling 2010
Redoubt Hill Single Vineyard Nelson Riesling 2011
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2009
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Verdelho 2010
Gold
Hunter’s Wairau Valley Marlborough Riesling 2008
John Forrest Collection Wairau Valley Marlborough Riesling 2007
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2008

Kapiti Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Pure Gold
Charcoal Gully Estate Sallys Pinch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Gold
Folding Hill Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Matua Valley Single Vineyard Matheson Hawke's Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Grenache 2007
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009