New Zealand tops international wine show
New Zealand narrowly headed off Australia to win the trophy for top country at the Six Nations Wine Challenge this year. The competition started sixteen years ago; then ‘The Tri-Nations Wine Challenge’ with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa; but now also includes Chile, USA and Canada. South Africa earned third place, with the USA fourth, Canada fifth and Chile in sixth place.From a judge’s perspective, this is a great show as it features many top wines that I would otherwise never encounter.
A judge/selector from each country is invited to choose their top 100 wines, which are then sorted by variety and style. Huon is judge/selector for Australia while I am the New Zealand judge/selector.
The total pool of 600 wines is then judged blind by the six judges to choose a winning country in each class and winning country overall. The top wine in each class earns a trophy.
New Zealand won the sparkling wine, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay classes on points while the following New Zealand wines earned a trophy for coming top in their respective classes:
- Aromatic White: Johanneshof Cellars 2017 Gewürztraminer, Marlborough
- Sauvignon blanc: Saint Clair 2017 Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
- Chardonnay: Sacred Hill 2016 Rifleman’s Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
- Pinot noir: Akarua 2015 Single Vineyard Limited Edition Kolo Pinot Noir, Central Otago.
- Merlot & carménère: Villa Maria 2016 Reserve Merlot, Hawke’s Bay
- White Wine of Show: Sacred Hill 2016 Rifleman’s Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
- Top Wine of Show: Sacred Hill 2016 Rifleman’s Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
- Red Wine of Show: Akarua 2015 Single Vineyard Limited Edition Kolo Pinot Noir, Central Otago.
Australian trophies include:
- Other Reds Light to Medium-Bodied: Head Wines 2016 Ancestor Vine Grenache, Eden Valley
- Other Reds Full-Bodied: Schwarz Wine Company 2017 Meta Mataro, Barossa Valley
- Red Blends: Karrawatta 2016 Single Vineyard Spartacus, Langhorne Creek
South African trophies:
- Non-Aromatic Whites: Stellenrust 2016 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch
- Bordeaux Blends: Morgenster 2014 Estate Reserve, Stellenbosch
- Dessert Wines: Nederburg 2004 Private Bin S316 Noble Late Harvest Weisser, Paarl
- Sparkling: Caraccioli Cellars 2009 Brut Cuvee, Santa Lucia Highlands
- White Blends: Au Bon Climat Hildegard Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligote, Santa Maria
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Long Meadow Ranch 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley
- Riesling: Thirty Bench Wine Makers 2016 Winemakers Blend Riesling, Niagara
- Shiraz/Syrah: Laughing Stock 2016 Syrah Viognier, Okanagan Valley
From a judge’s perspective, this is a great show as it features many top wines that I would otherwise never encounter. It’s also a chance to test the strengths of wine styles from five serious wine producing countries and to benchmark them against equivalent styles in New Zealand.