Pinot noir dominates New Zealand test

Pinot noir was the star of this year's prestigious 12th annual Romeo Bragato Wine Awards in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Grape grower John Rutherford of Marlborough produced the winning Rutherford Pinot Noir 2004 that earned the Bragato Tropy, as well as the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy for champion Pinot Noir.

Geoff Jensen of Omaka Springs Estates, Marlborough, took second for his Falveys Sauvignon Blanc 2006, earning the Richard Smart Trophy for Reserve Champion Wine.

Grape growers from Marlborough and the Hawke's Bay received all eight trophies and 11 champion awards.

"The Romeo Bragato Wine Awards is a special competition because it recognizes the viticultural excellence of grape growers and individual vineyards," said Philip Gregan, chief executive of New Zealand Winegrowers. "The quality of entries received were in sync with any top winemaking industry and there were some standout wines reflecting the level of innovation and expertise New Zealand has reached in grape growing and wine making."

Judges awarded 476 medals -- 53 golds, 141 silvers and 282 bronze. Entries were up 20 per cent from last year, with 667 wines received for judging.

The major awards:

• Champion of Show -- Rutherford Pinot Noir 2004, John Rutherford,
Rutherford Vineyard, Marlborough.

• Reserve Champion Wine -- Falveys Sauvignon Blanc 200http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.bold.gif6, Geoff Jensen, Omaka Springs Estates, Marlborough.

• Champion Chardonnay --
Summerhouse Marlborough Chardonnay 2005, Meric and Heather Davies, Summerhouse Vineyard, Marlborough.

• Champion Sauvignon Blanc -- Falveys Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Geoff Jensen, Omaka Springs Estates, Marlborough.

• Champion Riesling -- Charles Wiffen Riesling 2004, Charles Wiffen, Charles Wiffen Wines, Cheviot, Marlborough.

• Champion Red Wine -- Cornerstone Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2002, Robert Newton, Cornerstone Vineyard, Hawke's Bay.

• Champion Pinot Noir -- Rutherford Pinot Noir 2004, John Rutherford, Rutherford Vineyard, Marlborough.

• Champion Syrah -- Bridge Pa Louis Syrah 2004, Lisa Daysh, Bridge Pa Vineyard, Hawke's Bay.

• Champion Gewurztraminer -- Te Whare Ra Gewurztraminer 2005, Jason Flowerday, Te Whare Ra Vineyard, Marlborough.

• Champion Dessert Wine --
Villa Maria Reserve Noble Botrytis Riesling 2004, Colin and Chris Fletcher, Fletcher Vineyard, Marlborough.

• Champion Amateur Wine --
The Winery IV 2004, Chris and Sally Brownlie, Saltaire Growers, Hawke's Bay.

Click here for the complete list of medal winners. And, look here for New Zealand wineries by region.

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