International Wine Challenge

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The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 35th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 different judges and awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards

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Elly Barham-Marsh Helen Kenny
Manifest London
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International Wine Challenge

Kiwi Quality: New Zealand scoops mighty haul of 200 medals at Tranche One of the 35th International Wine Challenge

Under embargo till 11am 30/11/2017

New Zealand’s winemakers raise a glass to another fruitful year at prestigious wine competition, after receiving 15 Gold, 94 Silver and 94 Bronze medals

New Zealand’s winemakers put in a stellar performance at Tranche One of the International Wine Challenge 2018, cementing the country’s position as a powerhouse of wine production. With a hugely impressive haul of 200 medals, New Zealand was second only to France in the total medal count, beating its neighbour Australia. The IWC judging panel of world-renowned judges awarded a total of 15 Gold medals, 94 Silver and 21 Bronze to Kiwi wines.

  • Almost three-quarters of all Kiwi medals were awarded to either wines made from Pinot Noir or from Sauvignon Blanc, as these iconic New Zealand varieties stormed to victory. 69 medals were awarded to wines made from Pinot Noir, including six Golds, 35 Silvers and 28 Bronzes. Five New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs received Gold, in addition to a further 27 Silver and 41 Bronze bringing its total medal count to 73.
  • New Zealand’s 15 Gold medals were awarded to 11 different producers spanning the Marlborough, Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay, and Central Otago regions of the country. The Marlborough region located at the North-East tip of New Zealand’s South Island was the country’s most successful territory, with its winemakers securing a total of nine Gold medals, with styles ranging from Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay.
  • The lion’s share of Marlborough’s Golds were awarded to Sauvignon Blancs, with five different wines receiving this top accolade. Gold medal winners included Tohu Mugwi Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (95 points), Yealands Estate Single Block L5 Sauvignon Blanc (95 points), and Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (95 points). A further two Golds were awarded to Craft Series Pride & Glory Sauvignon Blanc 2013, and Rapaura Springs Bull Paddock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which both received 95 points.
  • Marlborough Pinot Noirs also captivated the judges, with Stoneleigh Wild Valley Pinot Noir 2016 and the Asda Extra Special Selection Pinot Noir 2014 both receiving 95 points and an IWC Gold medal.
  • However, it was a Marlborough Chardonnay which received the region’s highest score. The Brancott Estate Letter “O” Series Chardonnay 2016 was awarded 96 points by the panel of expert judges. This wine caught the judge’s attention with its ‘striking notes of struck match, flint and fresh hay.’
  • Marlborough’s Lawson’s Dry Hill also broke from the pack, producing a Gold medal winning Kiwi Riesling. Its Lawson’s Dry Hill Riesling 2015 was awarded 95 points by the IWC panel.
  • Further south, New Zealand’s Central Otago region secured three Gold medals for its exceptional Pinot Noirs. Produced in Central Otago’s sub-alpine Bannockburn Valley, the seductive, sweet oak notes of Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2015 secured it a Gold medal (96 Points). The bright and youthful Mohua Pinot Noir 2015 (95 Points) also struck Gold, thanks to its dense dark fruit flavours blended with hints of tobacco aroma. The third Gold medal winning Central Otago Pinot Noir was Yealands Estate Winemaker’s Reserve Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (95 Points) from the neighbouring Gibbston valley.
  • Famed for its picturesque beaches, New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay also wowed with its red wines, with two wines produced in the region striking Gold. The judges remarked that Mission Estate Winery’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Mission Jewelstone Antoine 2015, was impressively intense, perfect to be enjoyed now, but with the potential to improve if enjoyed in three to five years. A further Gold for Hawke’s Bay was awarded to the Crossroads Winemakers Collection Syrah 2014 (95 Points) by Yealands Wine Group.
  • Wairarapa winemaker Matahiwi Estate secured its place alongside other Kiwi Gold medal winners with its Matahiwi Estate Holly Pinot Noir 2016, scoring 95 points. Another entry the judges predicted with improve with age, this wine dazzled with its bold and bright, dark fruit flavours.

Peter McCombie MW, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:

“The talent of New Zealand’s winemakers is reflected in today’s results. We have come to expect world-class examples of classic Kiwi styles like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and this year’s results are no exception. It is fantastic to see New Zealand building on these successes with excellent examples of Chardonnay and Riesling finding the judges’ favour at the IWC 2018. “

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