In the latest round of the International Wine Challenge, the world’s most influential wine competition, New Zealand’s winemakers picked up 285 medals – an increase on last year’s performance. Nine of the medals awarded to New Zealand were Gold, putting New Zealand in fourth place behind France, Australia and Portugal in the medal table.
Although the country may be best known internationally for its Sauvignon Blancs, the top-performing Kiwi wines in this competition were made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, taking six of the nine Golds between them.
The Gold-winning Chardonnays came from Kumeu River Wines, Trinity Hill and Marisco Vineyards. The top Pinot Noirs came from Central Otago producers Joval Family Wines and Ceres Wines, and Marlborough producer Delta Wines. Trinity Hill was also awarded a Gold for its Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2016.
The two Sauvignon Blanc wines that won Golds were dessert wines – The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc from Marisco Vineyards and the Brancott Estate Letter Series B Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Pernod Ricard Winemakers.
“2017 and 2018 were both difficult vintages for Marlborough, New Zealand's biggest wine region,” explained IWC co-chair Dr Jamie Goode. “Yet there were still some smart wines, including some nice 2017 Pinot Noirs. It just shows the danger of writing off entire vintages. It's all about the individual wines.”
The first part of the 2019 International Wine Challenge – Tranche 1 – saw 212 wine experts from 23 countries judging the wines over four days in London. Tranche 2 judging will take place from April 1-11, 2019, with the results announced on May 8.