Katikati's Leveret & Mills Reef Winery have received a double gold and title of New Zealand Wine of the Year in an international competition.
Their Gimblett Gravels Reserve Merlot 2020 took the top spot at the 2022 China Wine and Spirits Award which is considered to be the biggest wine and spirits competition in Hong Kong and China.
Wine and spirits were entered from more than 55 countries, covering all price levels and tasted blind. A CWSA medal is considered to be a powerful endorsement of quality and suitability for the Chinese market, with the judges representing top buyers, distributors, retailers and sommeliers in Hong Kong and China, says sales and marketing director Fiona MacDiarmid.
"It's a wine we knew would have great appeal and presence,'' says Katikati's chief winemaker Paul Dawick of the winning merlot. ''You get that minerality of the dirt and more of the dark fruit spectrum — which is strong in plum and blueberry flavours as opposed to the red fruit.''
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"It is a huge outcome for this newly released wine.''
The fruit growing and winemaking process begins at Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay and then to Katikati for fermentation and oak aging.
Local winemaker Cam Duke says the 2019-2020 were good years for fruit growing.
''When you get such good quality fruit and a good quality year, you place a bit of oak in there, a bit of care and time and the wine can make itself, so to speak.''
The Leveret Reserve Hawke's Bay Syrah 2019 also received a double gold medal, with the Leveret Reserve Merlot Cabernet 2020 and Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 also receiving gold medals.
NZ wine of the year and double gold medal - Mills Reef Gimblett Gravels Reserve Merlot 2020
Double gold medal - Leveret Reserve Hawke's Bay Syrah 2019
Gold medal - Leveret Reserve Merlot Cabernet 2020
Gold medal - Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon 2019