The Air NZ Wine Awards have been running for 31 years now which makes it one of the longest running sponsorships in New Zealand, (The All Blacks and Steinlager sponsorship has run for an equal amount of years)
Every year this event grows from strength to strength and this year there was 1,300 entries, and each entry (yup, every, single, one) is blind tasted by 3 senior & 2 associate judges. The way that it works is firstly they pick and publish the medal winners and then only the winners of Gold medals go forward to be considered for a trophy. Honestly to earn a gold medal is an achievement in itself & they are prestigious! For example of the 149 Sauvignon Blancs that were entered only 9 were gold & on the red side 164 Pinot Noir's were entered and 19 won gold. So gold is not easy to achieve & a genuine mark of quality.
Each year the awards are held in a different location - this year it was the beautiful Hawke's Bay - and 17 trophies are awarded with 2 supreme trophies which are essentially “Wines of the show” being the top awards on the night.
As mentioned, all of the gold medals are already incredible wines so depending on your taste you will not be disappointed with a Air New Zealand trophy winners - the three below are just some of my picks of the bunch and also ones that I could get my hands on at short notice after the event in time for the Long Lunch the following Friday.
I will admit to feeling a tad smug when the Dashwood – Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 won not just an award, but THREE awards last weekend, one of them being the O-I NZ Reserve Wine of the Show - AKA one of the top top awards. I recommended this wine a few months ago and I am so proud to see how well it has done. This wine is a beautiful, plummy, fruity (very) easy drinking Pinot and an great expression of the amazing region of Marlborough. They also serve it in business class on Etihad Airlines. This wine is an absolute STEAL at $18 and my friends in retail tell me it's selling by the caseload...get yours now, you will know it by it's red label featuring a beautiful Pohutukawa. This wine also won the Dish Magazine Champion Open Red Wine Award & JF Hillebrand NZ Chamption Pinot Noir Award - what an over achiever!
Also from Marlborough the Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Valley Marlborough 2017 won two awards last weekend. The New World Champion Open White Wine Award and the Label and Litho Ltd Champion Sauvignon Blanc Award. This is another very affordable wine at $22 with aromas and flavours packed with citrus, apple, even feijoa and tropical fruit. The palate is crisp, well balanced and refreshing. This is a great one to have in the fridge this summer and is a wonderful example of what great looks like in the world of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and just why it's so beloved the world over.
My final pick is a Hawke's Bay Syrah because, well because I bloody love Hawke's Bay Syrah! Man oh man what a wine is the Coopers Creek Reserve Syrah 2016, it's deep red is almost purple and it is so deliciously well structured with dark ripe fruit with just a hint of floral and oak. This wine I have no doubt will age so well but I advocate for treating yourself and drinking it now? Why? Because it's absolutely delicious. It is a little bit pricer at $59, but have a hunt around and it will be on special from time to time as low as $49. Trust me, it's worth it. This Hawke's Bay beauty took out the Champion Syrah Trophy and boy is it....
For more info on the rest of the trophy winners go to the Air New Zealand Wine Awards page and to hear my chat with Carly Flynn on the long lunch click the link below....