New Zealand cleans up at Six Nations Wine Challenge
This is the 15th year that the Six Nations Wine Challenge (originally Tri-Nations Wine Competition) has been held in Sydney. It’s my favourite wine competition for lots of rather obvious reasons.
The concept is a simple one. A representative from each of six countries (New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, USA, Chile and Canada) chooses the best 100 wines from their country to enter in up to 16 classes with a maximum of 10 wines in any class.
The wines are divided into classes and we taste them blind, choose our top 13 to 15 wines (depending on class size) and rank them in order of preference. The numbers are counted to find the top wine in each class (which wins a trophy for that class), the top country in each class, the top white wine of the show, the top red wine of the show and the top country of the show.
|CLASS||CLASS WINNERS||TROPHY WINNER|
|Class 1 – Sparkling||South Africa||2014 Deutz Prestige Cuvee, Marlborough|
|Class 2 – Riesling||New Zealand||Canada|
|Class 3 – Other Whites (Aromatic Style)||New Zealand||2015 Johanneshof Gewürztraminer, Marlborough|
|Class 4 – Sauvignon Blanc||New Zealand||2016 Astrolabe Awatere Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough|
|Class 5 – Chardonnay||Australia||Australia|
|Class 6 – White Blends||Canada||USA|
|Class 7 – Other Whites (Non-Aromatic)||Split – South Africa / USA||South Africa|
|Class 8 – Pinot Noir||New Zealand||2014 Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir, Marlborough|
|Class 9 – Merlot & Carmenere||Chile||2013 Villa Maria Organic Braided Gravels, Hawke’s Bay|
|Class 10 – Syrah/Shiraz||New Zealand||2014 Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah, Hawke’s Bay|
|Class 11 – Cabernet Sauvignon||USA||USA|
|Class 12 – Other Reds (Medium-Bodied)||Canada||USA|
|Class 13 – Other Reds (Full-Bodied)||USA||USA|
|Class 14 – Bordeaux Blends||New Zealand||South Africa|
|Class 15 – Red Blends (Non-Bordeaux)||Australia||Australia|
|Class 16 – Dessert Wine||New Zealand||Canada|
Top Red Wine of the Show
2014 Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah, Hawke’s Bay
Country of Show
Ranking by country
|1st||New Zealand||617 points|
|4th||South Africa||279 points|
This is a resounding victory for New Zealand. I chose to enter wines in 12 of the 16 classes and New Zealand was the class winner in eight of those. We also fielded top wine in six of the 12 classes entered.
New Zealand has (I believe) earned a place as the top country in the past four years. Australia was top in the other 11 years. I had a sneaking suspicion that we might come top this year and feel immensely proud that we earned top place by such a considerable margin.