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Air New Zealand Wine Awards recognise top drops at showcase event

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A Hawke’s Bay Syrah has won the top prize at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, presented at Nelson’s Saxton Stadium.

The winners were presented in front of over 500 winemakers and industry legends, with the trophy and champion wine labels being beamed onto a large bottle built on the stage.

The Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 won the prestigious Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy, as well as the Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah Trophy.

Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 was one of the fuller-bodied Syrahs in this year’s competition.

“It’s a wine with lovely ripe black-fruit and floral Syrah characters, and very well-handled subtle oak influence,” said Brajkovich. “The palate is full-bodied, with rich berry fruit and firm tannins to fill out the finish and ensure a long maturation potential.

“Syrah provided a quality class of wine, displaying a diversity of styles from fresh, vibrant peppery and herbal, to full-bodied rich and ripe black-fruit styles, with significant oak impact and earthy tannins.

There were strong trophy contenders across the 16 classes, but the winners prevailed by having that “extra something special,” Brajkovich said.

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The second highest accolade of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, went to the Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014. This exceptional Chardonnay also won the Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Bruce Parton said the airline was a longstanding partner of the New Zealand wine industry, which continued to produce some of the world’s best wines.

“We’ve been a proud sponsor of the awards for 29 years, and are passionate about promoting home-grown wines and showcasing New Zealand as a destination for wine tourism,” he said.

“It’s been fantastic to see such a large number of entries in this year’s competition from wineries across the country. We wish to congratulate all medal and trophy winners.”

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As well as the 18 trophies awarded, 36 Pure Elite Gold Medals and one Elite Gold Medal were announced at the dinner, which was emceed by TV3’s Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts. This year’s competition saw 1,407 wines entered, 99 percent of which were accredited as being sustainably produced.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand winemaking and are widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,600 grape growers and winemakers, has owned and organised the competition for 40 years.

AIR NEW ZEALAND WINE AWARDS 2015 – TROPHY WINNERS

Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir
Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014

Label and Litho Ltd Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014

Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

Bite Magazine Champion Sweet Wine
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015

Coast FM Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

Guala Closures New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Gris
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015

Liquorland Champion Open Red Wine
Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013

New World Champion Open White Wine
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Gewürztraminer
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015

Port Nelson Limited Champion Other White Styles
Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015

Toast by Liquorland Champion Rosé
Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015

WineWorks Limited Champion Sparkling Wine
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Rangitikei Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014

Nelson Airport Limited & Nelson Tasman Tourism Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Beach House Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014

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