Kiwi success at International Wine Challenge 2018: 394 medals awarded to New Zealand wines
Under embargo until 11am – 10/05/18
New Zealand has enjoyed yet another great year as the results of the International Wine Challenge 2018 are announced. Following two weeks of blind tasting by some of the world’s most preeminent judges, New Zealand has been awarded 394 medals, including 32 Gold, 176 Silver and 186 Bronze.
As expected, its cool-climate wines enjoyed predominant success, with producers of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc performing particularly well.
Pinot Noir dominates
Of its 32 Gold medals, 14 were made from Pinot Noir, with a range of producers striking Gold. Hawkesbury Estates achieved success by picking up two golds: Hawkesbury Estates, Akitu A1 Black Label 2016 and Hawkesbury Estates, Akitu A2 White Label 2016. The majority of Gold medal winners came from the renowned Central Otago region but there was also success for Canterbury-based producer Waipara West with their Waipara West Pinot Noir 2016 as well as Wairarapa-based producer Matahiwi Estate with their Holly Pinot Noir 2016.
Nine Gold medals were also awarded to producers of Sauvignon Blanc with a stand out example from The McElhinney Wine Group with its Cause and Effect Barrique Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2017 which scored higher than any other Sauvignon Blanc (96 points).
Riesling and Syrah success
Three Rieslings achieved Gold medals, two from Lone Goat Vineyard with particular recognition for its Lone Goat Vineyard Canterbury Riesling 2013, scoring 96 points. Also receiving a Gold was its Lone Goat Vineyard Canterbury Winemaker’s Series Riesling 2012. Finally, Lawson’s Dry Hills Riesling 2015 also attained Gold.
Meanwhile, there were two Gold medals for Syrahs, both from the Hawke’s Bay region which grows around 70% of New Zealand’s Syrah plantings: Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2015 and Yealands Crossroads Winemakers Collection Syrah 2014.
Other outstanding grapes
Further Golds were awarded to outstanding examples of other single varietal wines:
• Pinot Gris – with Mt Difficulty Wines, Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017
• Chardonnay – Pernod Ricard, Brancott Estate Letter “O” Series Chardonnay 2016
Grenache strikes Gold
Interestingly a Grenache also struck Gold this year with Villa Maria Cellar Selection Grenache 2016. Grenache is one of the most widely planted red varieties in the world but is rare in New Zealand.
Accolades for all regions
Whilst all the key regions had some success. Unsurprisingly Marlborough, which is home to over 500 growers and produces around three-quarters of all New Zealand wine, led the way with the Golds. It achieved 12 in total including two each for Pernod Ricard Winemakers and Yealands Wine Group.
Meanwhile, Central Otago produced ten Golds, primarily for Pinot Noir.
Peter McCombie MW, Co-Chair of the IWC commented:
“It’s hard to believe that winemaking is still fairly new to New Zealand. Yet after a few short decades, Kiwi winemakers are producing wines that are consistently lauded by our judges and experts here at the International Wine Challenge. Keep doing what you’re doing New Zealand!”