‘Oh what a night!’ the Spiegelau International Wine Competition Awards Dinner 5 October, 2012

Maybe writing this blog will help ward off the anti-climax after such a big night last night! It was the culmination of the 2012 Spiegelau International Wine Competition – the trophy announcements.

150 people came together at a wonderful central Auckland location (a private club that wishes to avoid publicity) last night to celebrate some of the world’s finest wines.  New Zealand blazed the trail though this was much anticipated given the kiwi base from which the show is run. Australia, Italy and Spain also featured, with famous wine styles that only they can do – Hunter Semillon and massively intense McLaren Vale Cabernet, Primitivo from Italy’s Puglia region and richly decadent Pedro Ximenez – a sherry like no other.

New Zealand’s dominance started with the Gow Langsford Gallery http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz/  Trophy for Champion Sparkling Wine going to Quartz Reef for their delicious Central Otago Methode Traditionnelle 2007. John Gow, presenting the award, highlighted the 500 or so exhibition openings his two galleries have hosted over the last 25 years and said that at about four or five cases of wine per event – that was a significant amount of wine! Elaine Walker, Sales and Customer Services Manager for Quartz Reef received the award on behalf of the team, with effusive winemaker Rudi Bauer away overseas. http://www.quartzreef.co.nz/

Champion Other White was sponsored by Wine Competition Ltd http://on.fb.me/PnGYMX Director Margaret Cresswell said that we (Wine Competition Ltd is Marg’s and my company) chose to sponsor this and the ‘Other Reds’ trophy as we enjoyed the diverse styles and varietals that these two classes attract.  There was only one contender as only one gold medal was awarded during the judging. The Tyrrell’s Stevens Vineyard Hunter Semillon, http://www.tyrrells.com.au/ distributed by Kahurangi, is a stunning wine and will reward some serious cellaring as well as being divine right now. Sam Day from Kahurangi accepted the award http://www.kahurangiwine.com/

Mark Lim, General Manager of Osawa Wines http://www.osawawines.co.nz/ was there to receive the Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine. The Osawa Noble Gewurztraminer 2011 is a spectacular wine. Mark was clearly delighted as he outlined the company as still in its youth with only five vintages under its belt. Winemake Rod McDonald certainly making an impact with this wine.

From one Gewurztraminer to another, the only gold medal of the class was awarded to Distant Land Gewurztraminer 2011. A simply amazing wine building a strong portfolio of awards including Trophy for Champion Gewurztraminer last night. Export Manager Peter Fredatovich received the awarded, dedicating it to his father, Peter who recently passed away. http://www.distantland.co.nz/index.html

The Pinot Gris trophy was sponsored by Liquorland www.liquorland.co.nz . Merchandise Manager, Andrew Bartley stated Pinot Gris’ importance in wine retail with sales of some 140,000 cases a year. The trophy was awarded to Mount Riley for the 2012 Pinot Gris and winemaker Matt Murphy was there to receive the award. He shared the credit for this wine with his viticulturist and the rest of the winemaking team http://www.mountriley.co.nz/

Morven McCauley spoke on behalf of Riesling trophy sponsor, Antipodes Water Company http://www.antipodes.co.nz/ drawing similarities between Riesling and fine mineral water, saying both needed encouragement in a hesitant market place. Morven presented the trophy to Giesen for their 2012 Marlborough Riesling http://www.giesen.co.nz/

The Macvine Trophy for Champion Chardonnay was presented by Managing Director, Michael Jemison. A stunning wine – the Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2011 http://www.nautilusestate.com/ was named the winner and winemaker Clive Jones was clearly over the moon. In his acceptance speech, Clive acknowledged the ABC movement (Anything But Chardonnay) but declared it was now time for BBC – Bring Back Chardonnay. A very good idea if they are all going to be as good as this one!

Caffe L’affare http://www.laffare.co.nz/index.aspx?ID=2 , sponsors of the trophy for Champion Sauvignon Blanc, were there in force – a flock of fine young men who could have stepped straight from the pages of a glossy fashion magazine. Under the watchful gaze of L’affare  founder Tony Kerridge, Auckland Account Manager Dave Young made a brief (if hilarious) speech before presenting the award to Sue White, for the Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Champion Fortified Wine had just two contenders – Buller Fine Old Tokay and the Lustau Pedro Ximenez San Emilio – the latter winning the award http://www.lustau.es/en/lustau_97.html#78

Champion Other Red Wine, sponsored by Wine Competition Ltd, was won by the Feudi di San Marzano SUD Primitivo di Manduria DOP 2010. A multi-layered wine of great intrigue. Phil Clark from importer A Touch Of Italy was there to receive the award and reinforced the success of producer Farnese http://www.touchofitaly.co.nz/

Singapore Airlines, http://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/about-us/ the first sponsor to come on board (no pun intended) took ownership of the Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir. Recipient, Jamie Small on behalf of the winning wine, Pasquale from the Waitaki’s Hakataramea Valley said ‘watch this space’ as NZ’s newest Pinot Noir region was stacking up awards fast http://www.pasquale.co.nz/ Prior to presenting the award, Marg read out a speech written by Singapore  Airlines Marketing Manager, Murray Wild which eluded to the similarities between enjoying fine Pinot Noir and the in-flight service from Singapore Airlines!

Few others stood a chance next to the jaw-droppingly good winner of the Silver Fern Farms http://www.silverfernfarms.co.nz/ Trophy for Champion Cabernet Sauvignon. Presented by Paula Stebbing of Phenomenon Promotions, representing Silver Fern Farms last night, it went to Shingleback The Davey Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Australia’s McLaren Vale http://www.shingleback.com.au/ As Paula said in her speech, great wine deserves great food and these two were certainly well matched!

Finally, the Scenic Hotels http://www.scenichotelgroup.co.nz/ Trophy for Champion Shiraz or Syrah. Always a tussle between New Zealand and Australia, this year the kiwis came out on top with the excellent Vidal Reserve Series Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2010. Receiving the award, General Manager of Winemaking and Viticulture for Villa Maria Group, Alastair Maling praised the qualities of the Gimblett Gravels growing region and acknowledged that while there wasn’t a huge amount of Syrah available, that perhaps this was a good thing www.vidal.co.nz

After the class trophies came the Champion Wine Producer and Champion Wine of the Show. These highly coveted trophies recognise outstanding performance and outstanding quality.

Champion Wine Producer could not be decided between two companies, both of whom had had an exceptional show. Therefore the Spiegelau Trophy for Champion Wine Producer was awarded jointly to Mount Riley and Villa Maria Estate. Mount Riley had entered 10 wines and received a medal for each, including three golds, plus the Pinot Gris trophy.

Villa Maria Estate www.villamaria.co.nz received seven gold medals in addition to six silver and 15 bronze – another top performance from New Zealand’s leading, privately-owned wine producer.

The Spiegelau Trophy for Champion Wine of the Show was awarded to the Vidal Reserve Series Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2010.

For a complete list of the winners, see http://www.thespiegelauiwc.co.nz/?c=results&y=2012&r=t

Well, writing this might have been a tiny bit therapeutic, but…nah – still all feels a bit ‘quiet’.  Mind you – we have the exciting Marlborough Wine Show taking place on the 16and 17 October…..so one wine show down, and one to go!

I know – I’ll have a glass of award-winning wine – cheers!


About Belinda Jackson's Blog

I'm a professional wino! I am GM for Blind River, a small vineyard planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in Marlborough's beautiful Awatere Valley. You can see more at www.blindriver.co.nz. I am a director of Wine Competition Ltd which owns and runs two independent wine competitions in New Zealand: the Spiegelau International Wine Competition (www.spiegelauiwc.co.nz) and the Marlborough Wine Show (www.marlboroughwineshow.co.nz) When not 'wining' I am championing local causes such as Renwick Smart & Connected and the Mistletoe Bay Foundation. I have been on the board of New Zealand Riding for the Disabled for over six years. I have three books published and I have a regular wine slot on Radio New Zealand. I started in the wine industry in Bordeaux in the mid-eighties before heading back to the UK to work with a wine wholesaler. Ten years later I was responsible for sourcing and buying 750,000 cases of wine from around the world for one of the country's big brewers. I have been in NZ since 1995 and absolutely love it (the only other place I'd want to live is France...)
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One Response to ‘Oh what a night!’ the Spiegelau International Wine Competition Awards Dinner 5 October, 2012

  1. Raymond Chan says:

    Thanks Belinda – a good recount to make up for not being able to attend the awards dinner.

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