Tempranillo emerging in New Zealand

Seeing a new brand emerge with a medal in a prestigious competition is one thing. Seeing a new variety win its class is another.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2005 was awarded the top trophy in the "Other Red Varieties" class at the 2006 Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Taradale, NZ, Sunday night. It is the only New Zealand-produced wine of this variety available in the market, although several other growers have the grapes planted.

Tempranillo is a Spanish grape variety that growers are successfully utilizing in the Hawke’s Bay area that has a warm climate and similar terroir to Europe.

“New Zealand consumers are quite conservative about the wines they drink. It’s up to the industry to offer them something new, educating their palates on a wider range of flavor profiles,” chief winemaker John Hancock said when he accepted the award. “Having a new variety recognized at this level is a big step and will encourage consumers to try something other than Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.”

The Tempranillo 2005 was aged 12 months, predominantly in French oak barrels. It is Trinity Hill's second vintage of the style. It also won a gold medal in the "Other red wines" category in the recent AMP Mercedes Benz Hawke’s Bay Wine Awards.

Go here for a full look at the Air New Zealand winners in all categories.

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