The Villa Maria Group shone once again at this year's awards ceremony, showing the strength of the wines across their portfolio.
Champion Wine - Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010 The Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010 took out the Champion Wine of the Show trophy. After taking out the award for Champion Syrah earlier in the night, the Esk Valley team were delighted to see it win the top prize at these awards too.
Chief Judge Rod McDonald commented on this wine, 'It had a lovely floral lift and perfume along with a dense yet silky structure that made it the Champion Hawke's Bay Syrah'. This Syrah originated from the prized Gimblett Gravels area, reinforcing the high quality and outstanding potential of the terroir in this sub region.
Esk Valley Senior Winemaker Gordon Russell is currently presenting his wines in the UK so was unable to attend last night, but commented via phone, "I'm extremely pleased our Winemakers Reserve Syrah won the overall trophy at such a high profile event. This result reinforces the exceptional quality of our Esk Valley wines."
Champion Sauvignon Blanc - Vidal Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011 In an exciting result, the Vidal Estate Reserve Series Hawkes Bay Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011 was awarded the Champion Sauvignon Blanc at the Awards, the country's largest regional wine competition.
This wine was the only organic wine to be awarded a trophy in the award ceremony, reinforcing Vidal Estate's commitment to innovation. Grapes for this wine come from Joseph Soler Vineyard, a 65 hectare BioGro certified vineyard in the Hawkes Bay established in 1999. As an organic vineyard; the focus is on minimal intervention, enhancing soil growth, and working with nature rather than against it.
Joseph Soler Vineyard Manager Jonathan Hamlet was excited about the award: "The vineyard team and I are over the moon to win the category of Champion Sauvignon with the Reserve Series Hawkes Bay Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011. After over a decade of establishing and fine tuning our organic viticulture and winemaking it is such great recognition for the innovation and perseverance that has taken place. At Vidal, sustainable production is very much a core value, and goes hand in hand with the passion to make wine of the highest quality."
Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay and Villa Maria Single Vineyard Omahu Gravels Viognier The Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011 was the Champion Chardonnay, and the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Omahu Gravels Viognier 2010 won the award for Best in Class (Viognier). For the Viognier, this was the third year in a row that it took out the top spot in its category.
Villa Maria Senior Auckland Winemaker Nick Picone expressed his happiness today: "Premium Chardonnay is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and it's the white wine that many winemakers love to both make and drink; so this result is very rewarding as we place a huge emphasis on 'getting it right' with this variety. We see the Hawkes Bay as a key region for producing some of the country's best Chardonnays, and we are thrilled that our Hawkes Bay Reserve has been judged as the region's top example. It is testament to the selection of quality vineyard sites and the committed approach of our viticulture and winemaking teams that our Chardonnays consistently rise to the top".