Boutique and specialist Pinot Noir producer Fairmont Estate is celebrating winning it's 13th Gold medal at this years longest running wine competition, the Easter Wine Show. The Fairmont Estate 2011 Pinot Noir was the Wairarapa's only Gold medal at this years show.
Fairmont Estate's winemaker Jon McNab commented "this was an excellent result for Fairmont Estate and reinforces the quality and commitment Fairmont Estate puts into growing and producing world class wine."
Master of Wine Sam Harrop commented " It has been a sensational show, as professional as I have seen in my 15 years of international judging. The judges have unbelievable skill and confidence that allows them to debate the merits across the full range of wine styles in an informed and collegial manner, and to have arrived at results that would stand up anywhere in the world," said Mr Harrop.
Trophy winners will be announced at the Diamond Jubilee Easter Show Wine Awards Dinner to be held at the Logan Campbell Centre, ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane, Auckland on Saturday evening, 16th March.
2003 Block One Pinot Noir-GOLD Medal, Air New Zealand Wine Awards
2003 Block One Pinot Noir-GOLD Medal, Liquorland Top 100
2004 Block One Pinot Noir-GOLD Medal, Air New Zealand Wine Awards
2004 Admiral Hill Pinot Noir-GOLD Medal, Royal Easter Wine Show
2004 Block One Pinot Noir-GOLD Medal, New Zealand International Wine Show
2006 Block One Pinot Noir-GOLD Medal, Liquorland Top 100
2008 Block One Pinot Noir-GOLD Medal, Liquorland Top 100
2008 Pinot Noir-GOLD MEDAL, Liquorland Top 100
2008 Pinot Noir-ELITE GOLD, Air New Zealand Wine Awards
2009 Pinot Noir, GOLD Medal , New Zealand International Wine Show
2009 Block One Pinot Noir, GOLD Medal, New Zealand International Wine Show
2010 Pinot Noir, GOLD Medal, New Zealand International Wine Show
2011 Pinot Noir, GOLD Medal, Royal Easter Wine Show
Wairarapa's Gladstone Vineyard has taken the top prize for Pinot Noir at the elite Australian Boutique Wine Awards in Sydney, making it back-to-back trophies for Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Owner and chief winemaker Christine Kernohan said the trophy-winning Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 came from a strong lineage of awarded wine.
“The previous vintage won the trophy for best Pinot Noir at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition and our Pinot Noir has won gold medals every year since 2004 - an exceptional record as we only started producing pinot in 2003.
“This shows that our distinctive style is not only consistent but is also well respected in the international arena,” said Christine.
Christine said the awards were a credit to the care and attention to detail given in both the vineyard and winery.
“We are proud to produce one of the Wairarapa's most awarded Pinot Noirs.”
The grapes are grown at the vineyard's Dakins Road and Gladstone blocks and were carefully managed to achieve optimum ripeness. The fruit is all hand-harvested and small batch fermented. The wine is then matured in French oak barrels for 10 months, each with its own oak regime of barrel age and choice of coopers.
CEO of the Association of Australian boutique winemakers Judith Kennedy said after 16 years of the Boutique Wine Awards this was possibly the most successful year yet with regard to quality.
Awards for Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir:
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
Trophy Best Pinot Noir Australian Boutique Wine Awards 2012
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009
Trophy Best Pinot Noir and Trophy Best New World Pinot Noir Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition 2010
Gold Medal Selections Mondiales des Vins Canada 2011
Gold Medal New Zealand International Wine Show 2011
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008
Gold Medal New Zealand International Wine Show 2010
Gold Medal International Wine Challenge London 2010
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007
Wairarapa Pinot Noir Trophy and Gold Medal
International Wine Challenge London 2009
Gold Medal New Zealand International Wine Competition 2008
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Gold Medal Mondial du Pinot Noir Switzerland 2007
Gold Medal Royal Easter Show 2008
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005
Gold Medal Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2006
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004
Blue-Gold Award Sydney International Wine Competition 2006
Wairarapa's Gladstone Vineyard has won gold at the prestigious Concours Mondial du Sauvignon for its special reserve oaked Sauvignon Blanc, Sophie's Choice 2010.
Owner and chief winemaker Christine Kernohan said Sophie's Choice was a special wine, named after the Kernohan's golden retriever, Sophie, who died in late 2010.
“This is only the third year we've produced this wine, but it already has a loyal following thanks to its unique oak complexities and richness of flavour.”
Sophie's Choice is made in limited quantities each year from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, barrel fermented and aged in French oak for 11 months.
Christine Kernohan said the gold medal recognised the care and meticulous attention to detail the team at Gladstone Vineyard gave both in the vineyard and in the winery.
Over 650 sauvignon blancs from around the world entered the third Concours Mondial du Sauvignon which took place at the Bordeaux in March.
“It's lovely that the namesake of this special wine – our golden girl, Sophie – now has a gold medal to her memory.”
In its fifth year, the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival just gets better. The organisers led by the indefatigable Liz Pollock just keep on polishing the running of this event while retaining all the features that makes it such an enjoyable wine celebration. It is no secret now that it is a return to ‘grass roots' and is everything that wine festivals were in the beginning, before they morphed into more sophisticated affairs. The venue is ‘The Cliffs' a beautiful riverside area at the end of Dakins Road, Gladstone, the site set among native Totaras and Kahikateas up to 1000 years old. The numbers are limited to 2000 attendees so that there is very little congestion or queuing. The emphasis on family attendance means that the atmosphere is genuinely friendly and personal. As noted, the logistics are seamless and efficient, making everything relaxing and fun. It is a community supported festival, with businesses and organisation from around the greater Wairarapa area involved in sponsorship and the management.
Forming the heart of the festival are the exhibitors and entertainment. The Wairarapa can turn it on. This year, we had great jazz from Fran Barton and the Kevin Clark Group, foot-stomping Celtic tunes from the Shenanigans Irish Band and classic rock ‘n roll from Xray Catz. The food ranged from offerings from Sushi Planet in Masterton, Cornucopia in Featherston, Café Mirabelle in Carterton, the Gladstone Vineyard Café in Gladstone, Super Coffee from the Hutt Valley and plenty more! However it is the range of greater Wairarapa wines that is what nearly all of the attendees come for. The wines are truly diverse in style and variety, and can offer superb quality that stacks up with that of any other region, as well as real value, making them worthwhile seeking out. I tasted wines from all 16 exhibitors and each had something that took my interest.
There were three wineries that I had never tasted wine from before, this year's festival the first time they had participated. It was instructive tasting the 2010 and 2009 Pinot Noirs from Paper Road, located in Opaki, Masterton. They could be representative of what the greater picture will be. The 2010s are obviously fresher than the 2009s, but I see them as being lighter and a little crisper than the accessible 2009s. And also with the Pinot Noir wines from Blairpatrick Estate, a tiny boutique with vines overlooking the festival site. The 2009 is fruity and aromatic, while the 2008 has more depth and structure, this seeming to be the case throughout the Wairarapa. Lynfer Estate also has their 11 ha vineyard on Dakins Road in Glasdstone, and the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and 2009 Pinot Noir showed classic varietal character and elegance. They will be worth watching too.
The festival was an ideal opportunity of seeing more from people I had become acquainted with only in recent times. Joseph Ryan, on Dakins Road seems to be making a name with white wines. This year they introduced their new, value-oriented ‘Tiffin Hill' range, but I had the crisp 2008 Pinot Gris and 2008 Viognier as my preferred picks. Cottier Estate, also on Dakins Road had their two ranges of Pinot Noir on offer, the ‘Terra Nova' 2009 as an introductory label and the ‘estate' Pinot Noir 2008, more substantial, but both exhibiting the fresh, racy house style. Trialling a different approach with their Pinot Gris was Paulownia of Masterton. The drier, riper 2009 had depth, but I was taken by the 2010 Pinot Gris – seduced by sugar? – surely not me! I must admit their 2009 Noble Sauvignon was deliciously harmonious.
A number of white wines from well-respected and well-established producers showed the depth of quality of the Wairarapa region. Mebus Estate was showing their archetype 2008 Pinot Gris, and it is good to see them adding the ‘Waipipi' range to their portfolio. Borthwick Vineyard has been bolstering their range with a good 2010 Pinot Gris, but I'm happy to say Paddy's 2010 Chardonnay is as good as any he has made to date, and pretty smart, even after only two weeks in bottle!
The Wairarapa region is best-known for Pinot Noir, and not just from Martinborough. The following wineries had for tasting some excellent examples which would stand tall in any company. Fairmont Estate's ‘Block One' 2008, Johner Estate's ‘Reserve' 2007, Loopline Vineyard's ‘Reserve' 2008, and Wycroft Estate's 2009 as a collection are absolutely first-class. They all have ripeness, richness, intensity, structure, and degrees of complexity that lift them into the top league. I'd love to put these up alongside Pinot Noirs from anywhere else in the country!
As always, each winegrowing region has a number of wineries that have reputations that make them fine ambassadors. Gladstone Vineyard's highlights for me were the new ‘Bubbles' NV, the beautifully pure 2010 Riesling and Pinot Noir 2009. Under Matahiwi's banner, the Alexia Pinot Gris 2010 is a crowd pleaser and the ‘Holly' Chardonnay 2008 is a super-star. The ‘Holly' Pinot Noir 2009 just keeps on coming together. Urlar has the right ‘look' and the Sauvignon Blanc 2010, 2009 Pinot Gris and 2009 Pinot Noir just carry on from their very smart earlier efforts, and that is saying plenty for the all-important factor of vintage-to-vintage consistency. And I'm amazed at what Schubert can do across the board. The beguiling ‘Marions' Vineyard' Pinot Noir 2008, superbly spicy Syrah 2008 and decadent ‘Dolce' 2009 all wonderful and showing their commitment to the finest quality. It was fortuitous that our table was situated very near to the Schubert stand!
The group I was part of at this year's Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival all thoroughly enjoyed the time, and has vowed to return next year. We'll be getting our tickets early to ensure our admittance.