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A SPARKLING WINE from Marlborough has received top honours at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards, making it the third sparkling wine in the award’s 27-year history to take out the coveted prize. 

The Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV was awarded the prestigious Air New Zealand champion wine of show at the gala dinner held in Queenstown at the weekend.

It also won the Wineworks champion sparkling wine trophy.

Chair of judges and master of wine Michael Brajkovich described the wine to the 520 guests as having a “richness, length and complexity on the palate which finishes with a fine, persistent acidity”.

“This is a classic expression of this exciting wine style and a clear pointer as to how good New Zealand Sparkling wine already is, and can be in the future,” Brajkovich said.

Nautilus Estate is a small, family-owned Marlborough winery which began its operation in 1985.

The Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV is made from Marlborough-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and has become an iconic sparkling on the New Zealand wine scene since its launch in 1989.

It has won a number of awards throughout the years including trophies at the Sydney International Wine Competition and the Royal Easter Wine Show.

The Marlborough region received further recognition with five other trophies including the Lake Chalice Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013 which was awarded both the Guala Closures NZ champion Pinot Gris trophy and the new world champion open white wine trophy.

The second highest accolade of the evening – the O-I New Zealand reserve wine of the show – was awarded to the Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012.

This wine also took away the Rabobank New Zealand limited champion Chardonnay trophy.

In addition to the 16 trophies, there were 50 pure elite gold medals and one elite gold medal awarded.

Pinot Noir won the highest number of pure elite gold medals with 11, followed by Chardonnay with eight and Sauvignon Blanc with seven.

Marlborough wines scooped the highest number of pure elite gold medals with 22, followed by Hawke’s Bay with 14, and Otago with seven.

SUSTAINABILITY TREND CONTINUES

Sustainability was a continuing trend at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards with 96 per cent of wines entered being sustainably accredited, compared with 92 per cent in 2012.

Sustainable wines are produced from grapes which have been accredited or certified through an independently audited sustainability program.

The winemaking and packaging facilities used must also be accredited or certified.

Air New Zealand chief executive officer Christopher Luxon said sustainability is an increasingly important factor within the industry.

“It is superb that the country’s winemakers are also taking a leadership role within the environmental space,” he added.

Organised and owned by New Zealand Winegrowers, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards competition is well known for its rigorous judging process.

It is considered the country’s most prestigious wine competition and is regarded as the official competition of the New Zealand wine industry.

Contact: Shelley Ashdown. Phone: 0011 64 21 912 221. Email: shelley@bloompr.co.nz

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