Sarah Jessica Parker helps Kiwis retain dominance in Sauvignon Blanc, but Aussie wines fight back in Sydney International Wine Competition
New Zealand’s wine industry received an unlikely ally in the form of vivacious American actor, Sarah Jessica Parker, in the the battle of the Southern Hemisphere wine giants in the 40st Sydney International Wine Competition (SIWC).
Sarah Jessica Parker’s collaboration with New Zealand’s Invivo Wines helped the Kiwis complete a clean-sweep of trophies and medals in the Competition’s Sauvignon Blanc category with a BlueGold medal for her debut Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($25).
Parker – who has enjoyed considerable acclaim for her perfume range – put her olfactory skills to good effect with the blending of the Sauvignon Blanc from five parcels of 2019 Marlborough fruit to produce an easy-drinking, but distinctive wine described by SIWC judge, Andrea Pritzker MW, as having: “Lively aromas of passionfruit and fresh-cut grass. Crisp and fresh displaying passionfruit intensity and floral overtones.”
Sarah Jessica Parker also hand-painted the “X” design on the bottle’s original label.
She said of her first foray into wine production and the subsequent reaction: “The whole marvellous experience was a great and unexpected opportunity and yes, at last we get to introduce the fruits of these last many months. We are thrilled to pour our first glasses, delight in imagining others do so and hope very much that you love it as much as we do.”
The medal continues a run of success for Invivo’s celebrity backed wines in the Sydney International Wine Competition, with Graham Norton’s Sauvignon Blanc and Australian Shiraz blends tasting success in previous competitions.
However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic for the Kiwis. In the results announced today, Australian wineries won 166 trophies and medals compared to 77 for New Zealand’s wineries. Other trophy and medal winners came from Argentina, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Australian wineries took out 11 of the 13 trophies for the Style Categories and also best wine of the competition – the Jacob’s Creek Lyndale Chardonnay 2018 (A$50).
And while the Aussie winemakers couldn’t dent the Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc ‘fortress’, an Australian Pinot Noir did take out the trophy for best Pinor Noir, with Coles Liquor’s Ballewindi Pinot Noir 2018 (A$30) from Balnarring in the Mornington Peninsula ending a long run of dominance by New Zealand wines in the class. However, while an Australian Pinot Noir might have taken top spot, the Kiwis still won 20 out of the 24 medals in the category.
New Zealand’s Marlborough was once again the most successful wine region, with 52 trophies and medals, whilst Australia’s pre-eminence in the red wine categories saw South Australia’s Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills and the Clare Valley all perform strongly, along with Western Australia’s Margaret River.
Three wineries shared the ‘most awarded’ honour, with New Zealand’s Saint Clair Family Estate and Yealands Wine Group, and Australia’s De Bortoli Wines taking out nine medals each.
The Sydney International Wine Competition is unique in being the only international wine show that judges all its finalists in combination with appropriate food – meaning that consumers can select wines that are best suited to accompany specific meals, from BBQs to formal dinners.
An international panel of 13 highly-credentialed judges led by Warren Gibson, and including six Masters of Wine, judged the 1600 wines submitted, awarding 251 Top 100, Blue Gold and Gold medals, along with 24 trophies.
Sydney International Wine Competition Chair of Judges, Warren Gibson, said that the blending of ‘technical’ and ‘style’ judges, and the final judging with food, ensured that wines that made it through to medal contention were both of the highest quality and “good food wines”.
“I believe the results of this year’s competition have provided a strong and diverse range of award winners and trophies,” said Mr Gibson. “The show both attracts and awards a very broad range of wine styles, regions and varieties and there should absolutely be something for everyone in the list of winners.
“Some trends become obvious over time. In the past, cooler climate styles have tended to be strongly rewarded. Continuing on from this trend, it seems that in recent years warmer climate wines are encroaching into this space. There appears to be a general ‘freshening’ of style in the new generation of Australian wine. This year Australia fought back in many categories; there are now many more wines entered with fantastic freshness and balance.
“Two very different Australian Chardonnays, both regionally and in style, competed for the medium and full-bodied white wine trophies and ultimately for the Wine of the show. This demonstrates the current strength and diversity of Australian Chardonnay.
“New Zealand managed to hold on, as expected, to the Sauvignon Blanc category with complete domination, together with Sparkling wine.
“Australia reclaimed the Pinot Noir category for the first time in some years with a somewhat polarising wine from the Mornington Peninsula. Otherwise the category was dominated by New Zealand’s Central Otago and Marlborough regions.
“A fantastic light-bodied Grenache from McLaren Vale (Robert Oatley Signature Series McLaren Vale G-18 Grenache 2018) was a huge judge favourite all week and shows a recent trend of ‘what’s old can still be new’ particularly when made in this delicious style.
“South Australia’s McLaren Vale and Western Australia both performed well with three trophies each.”
A full copy of Warren Gibson’s Chair of Judges’ report is available at https://sydneywinecomp.com/chairman-of-judges-report-2/
Emphasising the importance of the food component in judging the finalists, renowned chef Michael Manners, alongside Marcel Kustos from Adelaide University, designed dishes to complement the various wine categories being judged.
The Competition’s website has been upgraded further to make it easier for wine consumers to identify wines that suit their palate and work best with meals they are planning.
Trophy Winners of the 40th Sydney International Wine Competition
New venue and new times for tastings of the Sydney International Wine Competition:
Exhibitions of the Sydney International Wine Competition trophy and medal winners will be held on Saturday 8 February 2020 at the Mercure Sydney Central, with two new tasting times to make it more convenient for wine lovers.
Sessions will now run from 11:30AM to 2:00PM and a late afternoon session from 3.30PM to 6:00PM. Special dining discounts will be available at the Mercure’s Platform 818 restaurant to complement the tastings. Full details: https://sydneywinecomp.com/events-2019/
Full details about the 40th Sydney International Wine Competition: https://sydneywinecomp.com/
Photos: Sarah Jessica Parker with her debut Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc 2019 & the dish that was prepared for final judging of the Sauvignon Blanc finalists – Marinated Zucchini with Hazlenuts and Goart Ricotta