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St Clair Dominant In Powerful NZ Wine Performance

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Fuseworks Media
St Clair Dominant In Powerful NZ Wine Performance

New Zealand winemakers have proved an equal match for their Australian counterparts in a stunning performance at Winestate magazine's Wine of the Year Awards.

Described by Winestate publisher Peter Simic as the Bledisloe Cup of Australasian winemaking, New Zealand wineries won a record six out of 12 categories in the largest blind tasting of its kind.

"New Zealand may have been catapulted to world attention with its outstanding sauvignon blancs, but this competition demonstrates its winemakers are capable of producing world-class wines across a range of varietals," Mr Simic said.

New Zealanders took out the major trophies for the best sparkling, pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot and, for the first time, the best sweet white. In many categories, New Zealand wineries filled all top five positions.

The winners were selected after a blind taste-off of the best 10,000 Australasian wines sampled by Winestate's expert judging panel over the past 12 months.

While it was a great result for the New Zealand wine industry overall, it was a triumph for Marlborough's largest family-owned producer Saint Clair Family Estate.

St Clair not only won the prize for Wine Company of the Year for best overall performance in the tastings, but its chief winemaker Matt Thomson was named Winemaker of the Year for the second time in three years.

"Matt Thomson has without doubt established himself as one of the finest winemakers on either side of the Tasman," Mr Simic said. "Winemaker of the Year is an objective decision based on the number of points achieved over a full year of all our tastings. To win it twice is an outstanding achievement."

Mr Thomson has been involved with Saint Clair since the winery's first vintage in 1994 and has won a string of accolades over the years.

The overall Wine of the Year went to the 2007 Lake Breeze Cabernet Sauvignon from Langhorne Creek in South Australia. This is the 14th year of the Winestate Wine of the Year Awards. WINESTATE WINE OF THE YEAR AWARDS

New Zealand Winery of the Year: Saint Clair Family Estate

New Zealand Winemaker of the Year: Matt Thomson, chief winemaker, Saint Clair Family Estate

Australian Winery of the Year: De Bortoli

Australian Winemaker of the Year: Nick Haselgrove, chief winemaker, Adelaide Winemakers

Wine of the Year: Lake Breeze, Langhorne Creek, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Australasian category winners

Sparkling: Margrain La Michelle Methode Traditionnelle 2007 (Wairarapa, NZ)

Pinot Gris/Grigio: Greystone Sand Dollar Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2010 (NZ)

Riesling: Kettle Lane Tasmanian Riesling 2009 (Tas)

Sauvignon Blanc: Vavasour Awatere Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (NZ)

Semillon: Pokolbin Estate Hunter Valley Semillon 2005 (NSW)

Chardonnay: Rosemount Show Reserve Cool Climate Release Robe Chardonnay 2009 (SA)

Pinot Noir: Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008 (NZ)

Merlot: Kim Crawford Small Parcels Corner 50 Merlot 2008 (NZ)

Cabernet Sauvignon: Lake Breeze Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (SA)

Shiraz: Saltram No.1 Barossa Shiraz 2006 (SA)

Sweet White: John Forrest Collection, Brancott Valley Marlborough Noble Riesling (375ml) 2006 (NZ)

Fortified: Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Amontillado Sherry (500ml) NV (Vic)

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