Yealands Estate wins 'pinnacle' trophy
For the second year running, Marlborough's Awatere Valley has produced the finest sauvignon blanc in the world, as judged by the London International Wine Challenge.
Wine giant Yealands Estate won the worldwide sauvignon blanc trophy with a single vineyard offering made solely for export. The 5000-case drop also picked up best Marlborough white wine.
Winery founder Peter Yealands said it was the first time his company had taken a trophy at the challenge.
Yealands Estate's Seaview winery in the Awatere Valley crushes about 12,000 tonnes of grapes each year and exports to 67 countries.
"This is the pinnacle of what trophies one could hope for," Yealands said.
"To be granted the accolade for best sauvignon blanc in the world out of 800-odd wineries, it doesn't get better than that.
"A lot of wineries would go through their lives without receiving an award of this nature."
The Yealands Estate Marks and Spencer Single Block Series 2011 was mostly sold in Britain, however some had been sent to other countries as well. It was not sold in New Zealand.
The judges said it was a great example of Awatere Valley sauvignon blanc with a fragrant nose and herbal aromas finished with striking acidity.
The Awatere Valley, 20 kilometres south of Blenheim, is less well-known than the longer-established Wairau Valley vines. It was the birthplace of household name Vavasour, which is now owned, along with several other labels, by an American billionaire.
Last year's International Wine Challenge awarded the champion world savvy to family-owned Awatere wine company Stanley Estates.
There had been a swing of recognition toward the different style of sauvignon blanc that was being made over the hill, Yealands said.
"It shows how good the Awatere is."
Yealands Estate chief winemaker Tamra Washington will accept the award for the company at the challenge gala dinner in September.
Originally from Blenheim, in 2007 she returned from Italy to head the winemaking team for Yealands from the winery's inception.
It was a great opportunity to get in at the ground floor and help build the winery up, she said.
"There was a lot of learning and understanding the blocks and getting a feel for this Seaview Vineyard because it's really unique.
"It's just really lovely to have the recognition globally and I've always believed in this site; I've always had a great feeling about the vineyard and what Peter had done here."
Winning the trophy was great for the company's morale, she said.
Held in London each year, the challenge is one of the world's most prestigious wine competitions.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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