Waiheke Island winemaker best in New Zealand – A former New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year has taken out the title of New Zealand Winemaker of the Year.
A panel of four international wine judges picked Patrick Newton of Mudbrick Vineyard as the inaugural winner on 15 October. The competition replaces the New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year as part of the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition, administered by the Canterbury A&P Show.
The Waiheke Island winemaker was thrilled with the award.
“It’s very exciting – it’s quite an honour. I think when every young winemaker starts out it’s a goal to win these major awards. To do it at 34 years old is fantastic – it’s my best professional achievement to date.”
Mr Newton entered the competition with the 2015 Mudbrick Reserve Chardonnay, 2013 Mudbrick Reserve Syrah and the 2013 Mudbrick Velvet a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Malbec blend.
“I entered with those wines as I felt they reflected the greatest expression of the Mudbrick terroir. We strive to make sure the process is as honest as possible to reflect the season. Mudbrick’s vineyard manager Nick Otto works hard to ensure there is balance in the vines and purity in the fruit year after year. This win just cements that our belief that our minimal impact style is producing outstanding wine.”
Chairman of judges Terry Copeland agreed that the winemaking style was evident in the wines on show.
“The chardonnay was the standout wine in that selection – well-crafted yet restrained. He really allowed the fruit to shine through. All three wines presented by Patrick were full bodied, incredibly seductive and very drinkable.”
Judging for the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition also took place on October 15 and 16. The Supreme Champion Wine in Show Trophy was awarded to the 2016 Hunters Gewürztraminer.
“It was really good to see a strongly aromatic style like gewürztraminer showing through when the standard of gold medals across the board was so high. It was the most complete wine across the table – aromatic with great structure and texture,” said Mr Copeland.
“The wine was incredibly drinkable and it’s very affordable on the shelf – definitely great value for money. We think it will be a real crowd pleaser this Summer.”
Mr Copeland said that from over 316 entries, 27 gold medals were awarded and judges were impressed with the diversity of the wines.
“We found that there was a greater diversity of style this year – we rewarded a lot more types of wines than ever before. It was great to see a huge variety of vintages as well which means we’re starting to see longevity in aromatic style – this can only be a good thing for the industry and the consumer.”
Other trophy winners were: Champion Riesling – TOHU Single Vineyard Riesling 2015, Champion Canterbury Wine – Waipara River Estate Riesling SVR 2012, Champion Sauvignon Blanc – Villa Maria Reserve Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Champion Pinot Gris – Baby Doll Pinot Gris 2016, Champion Gewürztraminer – 2016 Hunters Gewürztraminer, Champion Rosé – Matawhero Pinot Rosé 2016 and Champion Other Aromatic – Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Gruner Vetliner 2015.
The judging panel consisted of: Terry Copeland (Chairman of Judges), Sam Kim, Jim Harre, Kate Radburnd, Petter Evans, Jane Boyle, Jane Cooper and Paul Harre (Associate Judge).
Twenty-seven gold, 73 silver and 123 bronze medals were awarded. All winning wines will be on display in the new Food and Wine Village at the 2016 Canterbury A&P Show from 9 to 11 November at ASB Agricultural Park. Full results are available online at: www.aromaticwine.co.nz.