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Thirty Gold Medals awarded at NZ's Premier Regional Wine Show

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Fuseworks Media
Thirty Gold Medals awarded at NZ's Premier Regional Wine Show

The highlight of Hawke's Bay's wine event calendar, the glittering Hawke's Bay A&P Mercedes-Benz Wine Awards gala dinner is being held on Tuesday 18th October. Now in it's 11th year, this event celebrates Hawke's Bay's successful evolution from the old days of being "The Fruitbowl of New Zealand" to becoming one of the world's most highly regarded fine wine regions.

It took two teams of some of the finest palates in New Zealand two tooth-staining days in the confines of EIT's sensory laboratory to work their way through 338 entries but the effort was worth it as 30 gold medals were awarded. Chardonnay ruled the classes when it came to the heavy metal with seven gold's going to the likes of Villa Maria, Vidal, Esk, Morton and Osawa and it was closely followed by rising star Syrah scooping 6 gold medals. Trinity Hill, Ash Ridge, Alpha Domus, Pernod-Ricard, Te Awa and Squawking Magpie were victorious in that class.

Another great result was seven gold's being spread among the merlot and merlot-dominant classes including wines from Church Road, Esk Valley, Te Awa, Trinity Hill, Villa Maria and Matariki - along with two gold medals given to "sensational cabernet-dominant reds" firmly cementing Hawke's Bay's superiority as New Zealand's elite red wine region.

"The results showed what great vintages 2009 and 2010 were for Hawke's Bay, with the early release 2011 HB Sauvignon Blanc's showing real class" says Chairman of Judges, Rod McDonald. "Again the percentage of gold's in chardonnay, syrah and blended reds were high, defining their strengths in the region. What was really pleasing to the judges was the real development of modern winemaking styles especially in chardonnay - it's all tied into decisions around ripeness, acidity and use of oak. This was equally true of syrah" he says.

The consensus amongst the judges was that the level of quality of wines entered was better than ever before. "Before the first show, there was concern we'd be overly generous because it's our own regional show but that's never been the reality" says McDonald. "We've worked really hard since the show's inception to always have highly experienced, international judges coming in to work alongside our local professionals. That way we can ensure that the quality of our wines are up to the mark nationally and internationally. "The high percentage of gold medals and indeed medals given across the board, says to me that the quality is definitely there in Hawke's Bay, and that each and every medal-winning wine has been judged in a national and international context. Medals of any colour are not easily won in this show" he adds.

The all-important Trophy winners will be announced in front of a crowd of four hundred guests at the gala dinner being held at Waikoko Gardens in Hastings on the evening of Tuesday 18th October. Four of Hawke's Bay's top chefs including Terry Lowe (Black Barn), Andy Glover (Mission Estate), Jillene Slui (Vidal Estate) and Richard Highnam (The Old Church) will present a four-course dinner assisted by the talented culinary arts and hospitality students from EIT - and entertainment will come in the form of master MC (and avid wine fan) Frankie Stevens. For tickets please phone 0508 946329.

A complete list of results can be viewed at www.wineshow.co.nz.

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