Top drops under $20 (and over) and wine news from Joelle Thomson

Kiwi bubbles wow the world…

Hunter’s Wines has been awarded Best New Zealand Sparkling Wine for the third year running at this year’s Sparkling Wine World Championships for the third year in a row…

The Marlborough bubbly was celebrated at a retrospective tasting in Auckland this month to mark the 20th year of production. Jane Hunter of the eponymous winery says production of MiruMiru will grow, but will be capped – “The resources tied up in making high end sparkling wine are so big so that it’s best for us to continue focussing strongly on quality as well as growing the quantity a little,” she said at the tasting.

“MiruMiru is the jewel in the crown of our winemaking and I have watched production grow over the past years as well as the range expand from the Reserve MiruMiru to include Non Vintage and Rosé,” she says.

Hunter collected the trophy for Best Sparkling Wine for the 2013 MiruMiru Reserve at the Vintner’s Hall in London last week. Hunter also received two gold medals at the event for the Hunter’s MiruMiru Non Vintage, and the 2013 Hunter’s MiruMiru Reserve.

The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships is the most comprehensive international sparkling wine competition in the world and was founded in 2014. All wines are tasted blind at the competition, which is judged by Tom Stevenson, Essi Avellan MW and Dr Tony Jordan, who also consults to Hunter’s Wines.


Contact Hunter’s Wines here:

Vineyard tales… young, winning and able

Young North Island winemakers compete in national final

The national final of this year’s annual Tonellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year will be held in Auckland tomorrow; Wednesday 20 September with North Islanders Sara Addis from Trinity Hill Winery and Tom Hindmarsh from Dry River Wines competing against their South Island counterparts.

North Island winners were put to test at the Eastern Institute of Technology School of Viticulture and Oenology last month. Tests included wine blending, lab analysis, pitching the blend to a panel of judges, cellar competency, wine fault finding, public speaking and general wine knowledge.

The final challenge was a blind tasting wine options at Church Road Winery where contestants tasted four wines without knowledge of the wines’ identities. Winner, Sara Addis, works part time at Trinity Hill and is a student at EIT, studying a double graduate diploma in viticulture and oenology. She has worked a number of vintages, including one at Moet & Chandon, Champagne in 2016 and as a cellar hand at Cloudy Bay, Marlborough.

The judges comprised of well-known and respected winemakers from Hawkes Bay, including Tony Bish, Damian Fischer, Kate Radburnd, Ant McKenzie, Barry Riwai and Simon Nash MW.

The North Island competition was organized by five volunteers from the Hawke’s Bay wine industry, including 2015 Tonellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker winner Lauren Swift from Ash Ridge Wines, Hannah Burns from Craggy Range, Haley La Franco from La Franco Ltd, Sophie Harris from Rod McDonald Wines and Shaun La Franco from EIT.

“It is brilliant to see this competition become an annual event. We are such a young winemaking nation and it is important to recognise the next generation of winemakers we have coming through the ranks,” says Hannah Burns, of Craggy Range.

“I would like to thank our National Sponsors; Tonellerie de Mercurey, OI, Vintech Pacific, Farmlands and Laffort, along with our Regional Sponsors; Hawkes Bay Wine Co., Air NZ, EIT, Viniquip, Staples Rodway, Guala Closures, Charta Packaging, Pan Print, Glyn Rees-Jones Real Estate, Buzz Electric, Farmex and Breezing. Finally a huge thank you to our judges who gave up a day in the winery to be involved with the competition. We would also like to thank all the wineries who donated wines to the dinner event. Without all this generosity, this competition would not be possible.”

Top drop under $20… Gisborne goodness

Gisborne goodness 

2016 Spade Oak Voysey Gisborne Pinot Gris $19.95

Gisborne’s vineyard area has shrunk by more than a quarter over the past 10 years, but winemakers like Steve Voysey of Spade Oak have added diversity in spades, if you’ll excuse the pun…

Voysey and his wife, Eileen, own Spade Oak and produce many of their region’s most interesting wines from the safe – such as this well priced, full bodied, high quality Pinot Gris – to the downright unsafe, such as Petit Manseng (a hand sell, if ever there was, but a delicious one at that).

They also make very good quality Albarino, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and blanc de blancs bubbly. This Pinot Gris is youthful, dry, full bodied and soft with a flavoursome style spanning green apple and pear to ripe stonefruit (white peach and peach nectar) with secondary bells and whistles from a short time on yeast lees following fermentation.

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