Tauranga winery Mills Reef has won its fourth trophy in as many months.
The winery's 2010 Elspeth Merlot took out the Merlot & Carmenere Trophy at the Five Nations Wine Challenge presentation dinner held in Sydney on Saturday night.
The competition comprised a total of 540 wines from the five nations of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Chile.
"Because the wines are all pre-selected by each of the judges the standard of wine quality must surely be higher than any competition of this size in the world,'' Five Nations judge Bob Campbell said.
Awarding the merlot trophy to Mills Reef, Judge Huon Hooke said the 2010 Elspeth Merlot was ``a delicious pure- fruited medium bodied style of wine with lots of energy and grace.
"Very good colour, aromas of blueberry and spice, hints of chocolate and a subtle touch of oak, finishing with great balance.''
Accepting the award, Mills Reef chief winemaker Tim Preston said he was both ``humbled and excited to receive the trophy from amongst such a distinguished line-up of wines, it's a great honour''.
The latest trophy serves as further endorsement of the stature of 2010 vintage for Gimblett Gravels wines, with all four trophies received for the Mills Reef Elspeth reds (Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Merlot wines) being grown in their 18 hectare Mere Road Vineyard.
"It's a phenomenal vintage, arguably our best yet, with beautiful fruit purity and physiological balance,'' Mr Preston said.
The three preceding trophies for the 2010 Elspeth reds include the `NZ Syrah Trophy' for Elspeth Syrah at the London International Wine Challenge, the `Tom McDonald Champion Classical Red Wine Trophy' for Elspeth Cabernet Merlot at the Bragato Wine Awards, and the `Alan Limmer Champion Syrah Trophy' for Elspeth Syrah at the Bragato Wine Awards.