Giesen Wines wins top Pinot Noir trophy

By Aimee Shaw

Marcel Giesen of Giesen Wines.
Marcel Giesen of Giesen Wines.

Marlborough-based Giesen Wines has been awarded the Champion Pinot Noir Trophy at the 2016 International Wine and Spirits Competition in the UK.

Marcel Giesen, who co-owns Giesen Wines together with brothers Theo and Alex, said the win was exciting for the family and a testament to their decision to re-plant the Ridge Block vineyard.

"For me personally this was the award that I thought 'maybe one day if we get the right vineyard and right team together, we could put our hands on it' - it's one of those bucket list kind of awards," Giesen said.

He said the win had not yet sunk in.

"In the Pinot Noir world it's always been the ultimate prize and for us to win it is wonderful.

"[The Ridge Block] is a vineyard that we actually planted ourself with the full-intent of super premium wine back in 2009 so it's been organic since we planted it. The idea was to make something special so it is really nice to get that recognition."

In late 2008 Giesen ripped out the 8.5 hectares block and left the land to fallow for a year. Ridge Block was subsequently replanted in high density 1.5 metre rows as a wholly organic, Pinot Noir and Syrah vineyard. Today it has 40,000 vines, instead of the former 20,000.

The Giesen brothers are yet to celebrate the win, but will fly to London in November to attend the trophy receiving ceremony.

Marcel Giesen said he would also host a staff party to celebrate.

"We are going to have our first ever Christmas party where we will have all of our staff from Australia, our sales force, our winery in Marlborough and our New Zealand sales team in Christchurch.

"We will all meet in Marlborough so one of the dinners will certainly be themed around the trophy and I think it will be nice to get some wines of the previous winners for that night to make a pinot noir evening out of it," he said.

Competition judges described Giesen's Single Vineyard Ridge Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 as "an extremely balanced wine combining fine tannins with brooding summer compote fruit and bright acidity."

In the last 10 years the Pinot Noir trophy has never left New Zealand. This is the third time the Marlborough region has won it.

New Zealand winery Kim Crawford Small Parcels Spitfire Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc also won a trophy at the competiton.

- NZ Herald

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