Quality rises at Hawke's Bay wine awards



Top wine, top food - and for the teams from Esk Valley Estate Winery, Sacred Hill and Ash Ridge Wines it was a case of top awards to celebrate.

The Hawke's Bay A&P Mercedes-Benz Wine Awards staged at the picturesque Waikoko Gardens in Hastings last night was a sparkling and colourful gala affair, and a memorable night for all the winners, but especially those who picked up the top three titles.

However, champion winemaker Gordon Russell will have to wait a while before joining the rest of his team at Esk Valley Winery as he is currently overseas, although a quick phone call appeared to be on the cards to pass on the great news.Esk Valley took out the Champion Wine of the Show Award for its Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010.

Sacred Hill took the Reserve Champion Wine of Show for its Brokenstone 2010, while there was jubilation for the Ash Ridge Wines team after the announcement they had been declared Winery of the Year.

The judges were as delighted with the class and high standards of all varieties, with chief judge Rod McDonald saying his team had never before seen "the complete expression of the variety combined with all that truly represents Hawke's Bay in a single glass."

Mr McDonald said the region was recognised around the world for producing exceptional Syrah but this year's Champion of Show had raised the glass to a new and exciting level.

"Over the last few years, Syrah has been an evolving class with two definite styles developing - the riper, fuller bodied, darker style and the more floral, feminine combination, medium weight, perfumed and supple,'' he said.

"This wine stood out as a combination of both - reflecting a true and complete expression of the variety.  It had a lovely floral lift and perfume along with a dense, yet silky structure that made it the Champion Hawke's Bay Syrah.

He described the line-up of all the Champion trophy winners as outstanding.

``All these Trophy wines would stand out at any international wine show, which is the context in which we are judging,'' he said.

In looking at the classes which did not produce a champion wine this year, Mr McDonald said it was important to recognise that in many cases, those varieties were not as widely planted or produced.

``There are fewer plantings of these varieties in Hawke's Bay, which is reflected in our entries.  What we need to ensure is that when awarding gold medals, these wines would be at the top at any international show across the world.''

Another highlight of the Show was the Museum Class with three wines winning gold, which represented a high proportion of older wines coming through, he said.

``This is an exciting category to watch as the number of golds grow each year, and shows the depth, quality and ageability of what Hawke's Bay is able to produce.''



After being welcomed by Master of Ceremonies Carol Hirschfeld and President of the Hawke's Bay A&P Society Rob Pattullo, the 400 guests enjoyed not only fine company but fine wines, and a fine menu created by Francky Godinho of Bay Produce, Leyton Ashley from Terroir at Craggy Range, the EIT Culinary Arts Team and The Tuki Kitchen's Andy Glover.

`"Stunning,'' was the succinct summation of one guest who effectively spoke for all,  given the spread of satisfied expressions.




Champion Wine of Show

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010


Reserve Champion Wine of Show

Sacred Hill Brokenstone 2010


Winery of the Year

Ash Ridge Wines


NZ Frost Fans - Best Export Wine of Show

Te Awa Cabernet Merlot 2009


EIT - Best Student Wine

Andrew Yin Bao - Chardonnay 2011


Hawke's Bay A&P Society Young Vintners Scholarship

Haidee Johnson


Hawke's Bay Cellar Door of the Year

Sileni Estates Winery


Champion Merlot

Church Road Winery - Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2010


Champion Red Blends - Cabernet Sauvignon Dominant

Te Awa Winery - Te Awa Cabernet Merlot 2009


Champion Red Blends - Merlot Dominant

Sacred Hill Vineyards Ltd - Sacred Hill Brokenstone 2010


Champion Syrah

Esk Valley Estate - Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010


Pinot Noir (Best In Class)

Junction Wines - Junction Body and Soul Pinot Noir 2011


Other Premium Red Varietals and Blends (Best In Class)

Church Road Winery - Church Road McDonald Series Marzemino 2009


Champion Chardonnay

Villa Maria Estate - Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011


Champion Sauvignon Blanc and/or Semillon

Vidal Wines - Vidal Reserve Series Hawkes Bay Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011


Pinot Gris (Best In Class)

Mills Reef Winery - Mills Reef Pinot Gris 2012


Viognier (Best In Class)

Villa Maria Estate - Villa Maria Single Vineyard Omahu Gravels Viognier 2010


Premium White Varietals (Best In Class)

Church Road Winery - Church Road McDonald Series Sauvignon Gris 2012


Champion Sweet Wines

Osawa Wines - Osawa Wines Noble Gewürztraminer 2011


Rosé (Best In Class)

Black Barn Vineyards - Black Barn Rose 2012


Champion Museum Class

Sacred Hill Vineyards Ltd - Sacred Hill Rifleman's Chardonnay 2007


Sparkling (Best In Class)

Black Barn Vineyards - Black Barn Blanc de Blanc's 2010

- Hawkes Bay Today

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