It’s no longer a case of ‘love it or loathe it’ with Chardonnay – the classic but often polarising varietal has staged a comeback at this year’s New World Wine Awards with modern style wines sure to please a wide range of palates.
“While a record number of Rosé wines entered the New World Wines Awards, it was the enduring Chardonnay category that particularly pleased the judges this year,” says Chair of Judges Jim Harré.
Top-ranking Gold medal Chardonnays feature in the hotly anticipated New World Wine Awards ‘Top 50’, which are available in New World stores nationwide from today.
There has been a significant progression in Chardonnay winemaking over the years, and consumers are set to reap the rewards. These winners are all stunning examples of the quality and range of modern style Chardonnay wines that are now climbing back to the top of shopping lists.
Mr Harré says the varietal has moved on from the heavily oaked and buttery Chardonnays of the 1980s, and beyond the pronounced citrus and steely acidity that was prominent in the early 2000s.
“Now, we have well-managed wines that reflect the true quality of the Chardonnay fruit, with a judicious use of oak, and a fine elegance brought about by considered winemaking. They are simply a delight to drink, and a must-try even for those who may not typically choose Chardonnay.”
The Wither Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2017 was selected as the Champion White Wine for the whole competition and is amazing value. The judges noted it as a “superb food wine” and the one “that shows Chardonnay matches nearly anything”.
Other Gold medal-winning Chardonnays include: the Riverby Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2014, recognised for its beautifully aged characteristics and fruity sweetness; the Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017 which displays lovely density and texture; and the deliciously tropical Mission Estate Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017 from New Zealand’s oldest winery.
Gold medal wine for $25 or less
Mr Harré says results like these highlight the real strength of the New World Wine Awards in providing shoppers with trustworthy guidance to help make their next wine purchasing decision.
“The New World Wine Awards has a 16-year track record of connecting wine-lovers with the best quality affordable wines.
“Whether you are looking for a great bottle of your favourite varietal, or would like to try something new, these Gold medal-winning wines are the perfect starting point.”
Mr Harré says consumers can put their confidence in a New World Wine Awards medal thanks to an extremely thorough, three-day judging by 17 independent experts, who together brought more than 250 years of experience to the 2018 competition.
Medal-worthy wines were tasted and re-tasted through blind judging process, meaning judges see only the wine in the glass, no bottles or brands, and are only supplied with the varietal, vintage and country of origin of each wine.
“A Gold medal wine will have been tasted at least 19 times 11 different judges before being awarded this merit. Champion wines will have been tasted at least 36 times! A New World Wine Award Gold medal shows the wine is of the highest standard and shoppers can have absolute confidence in it.”
The New World Wine Awards uses the internationally recognised 100-point system. Under this system, wines are benchmarked and scored against what a perfect wine should be like, rather than against each other.
This means there can be several Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in a category. New World rewards the 50 top-ranked wines with nationwide distribution and promotion to customers.
As a condition of entry, all wines must retail for $25 or less and have a minimum volume available for sale in order to meet consumer demand.
The Champion Wines in the New World Wine Awards 2018
Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Vidal Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Champion Pinot Gris
Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018
Mount Brown Estates North Canterbury Riesling 2018
Wither Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2017
Champion Sparkling Wine
Morton Estate Black Label Brut
Madam Sass Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2018
Champion Pinot Noir
Shaky Bridge Pioneer Series Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
Champion Single Varietal Red
Grant Burge Cameron Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Champion Red Blend
Mo Sisters Red Blend 2016
Champion Shiraz & Syrah
Zonte’s Footstep Chocolate Factory McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016
The full medal results of the New World Wine Awards can be viewed at www.newworld.co.nz/wineawards