Marlborough wine clean up at Air New Zealand Awards

Lake Chalice owner Phil Binnie, left, with Paul Vine of O-I New Zealand.
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Lake Chalice owner Phil Binnie, left, with Paul Vine of O-I New Zealand.

A strong showing in the country's most prestigious wine awards shows there is more to Marlborough than its flagship sauvignon blanc.

While the top prize at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, held in Nelson on Saturday night, went to a Hawke's Bay syrah, Marlborough wines took out nine of the 18 trophies, 19 of the 36 pure elite gold medals and the only elite gold medal awarded.

A Marlborough chardonnay particularly impressed judges. Lake Chalice won the Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay award with their Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014. The same wine went on to take the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show trophy, the second highest award in the competition.

Lake Chalice winemaker Matt Thomson with owners Sue and Phil Binnie. Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 ...
ANTHONY PHELPS/FAIRFAX NZ

Lake Chalice winemaker Matt Thomson with owners Sue and Phil Binnie. Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 took out the chardonnay trophy at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Nelson on Saturday night. The wine also won reserve wine of the show.

Lake Chalice owners Sue and Phil Binnie said they were overjoyed.

"People focus a lot on the savvy, and it basically shows that Marlborough has a few more strings to its bow," Mark said.

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Chair of judges Michael Brajkovich said it was great to see Marlborough dominating in the sauvignon blanc category, winning all 11 gold medals and also taking out the Label and Litho Ltd Champion Sauvignon Blanc trophy.

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This was claimed by Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014.

But the results of the awards showed the region was about more than sauvignon blanc, Brajkovich said.

"When you look at the major varieties, like pinot noir, pinot gris, riesling, gewurtztraminer and sparkling wine, Marlborough is getting very good.

"Where it hasn't done very well, in the past and this year too, is producing full-bodied red wines."

The awards are owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the 1600 grape growers and winemakers in the country.

They are widely considered to be the most prestigious wine competition in New Zealand, Brajkovich said.

"To do well at this particular show is a real feather in your cap."

"From a marketing point of view it's worth a lot."

The black-tie awards dinner also saw three wine professionals, Alan Brady, Kate Radburnd and Dr Mike Trought made Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers, recognising their outstanding contribution to the industry.

Trought, who works as a senior scientist at the Marlborough Research Centre, is one of the foremost wine scientists in the world.

He had been involved in wine research since the early 1980s.

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 Gewurztraminer: Johanneshof Cellars Gewurztraminer Marlborough 2014

Plant and 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

 - The Marlborough Express

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