New Zealand may have become known through its Sauvignon Blancs and secured its reputation as a fine wine producer via its Pinot Noirs, but as the results of the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) released today testify, it's got many more strings to its bow.
I've just returned from judging the New Zealand classes at the IWSC, where historically it's been Sauvignon Blanc and, more recently Pinot Noir that have taken the country's top awards at this major UK-based competition. This was again true, with the show's Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir Trophy awarded to Ceres Composition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 and the IWSC Sauvignon Blanc Trophy to The Crossings Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013.
However, the Mission Hill Chardonnay Trophy also went to a local wine, the Jules Taylor Marlborough Chardonnay 2012 (on-premise blend), while Gold Outstanding awards were bestowed upon a Gewurztraminer - Waimea's Nelson Gewurztraminer 2011 - and a dessert wine - Seifried's Winemakers Collection 'Sweet Agnes' Nelson Riesling 2013 - as well as the Misha's Vineyard Verismo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010.
Looking down the list of Gold Medals, I was also pleased to see another Chardonnay - a variety that's undeservedly become overshadowed by the success of our Sauvignons. Another two Rieslings from the array of great examples the country is currently making also struck gold, as did a Syrah, whose New Zealand examples generated considerable excitement amongst the international judges.
It's interesting that only a couple of Sauvignon Blancs received top placings in the competition this year, leading to the question as to whether this important variety for New Zealand is starting to lose its shine. This is something that I discussed with my fellow judges following our assessments and which I'll explore further in my column in next week's issue of Viva.
Full results from the competition can be found here.