Air NZ Wine Awards 2012 Roundup

· Blog
Nov 15th, 2012 | By | Category: Blog

Air NZ Wine Awards 2012 RoundupVilla Maria's dominance

They roll around quicker every year. But the importance of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards couldn’t be more. In a world where we are simply bombarded with wine shows and gold stickers, the Air NZ Wine Awards gold medals still manage to get some cut through. People understand the awards, people also understand the gold medals.

The 2012 gold medal winning wines were all about one winery, Villa Maria. Villa Maria simply cleaned up. Under their own label, Esk Valley and Vidal they won more golds than any other winery. In the Chardonnay class alone they managed to secure 9 golds, out of a total of 17 winners. They also achieved 26 gold medals across all categories, that’s over 25% of all golds awarded.

Taking over quarter of all gold medals is a massive achievement, although it does beg the question, where was everyone else?

For one winery to be so dominant, ad they do make sublime wine under the top tier, surely questions needs to be asked. Should there be a limit on how many wines can be entered? Should you only be allowed to enter one wine per category?

I completely get why Villa Maria enter so many wines, why wouldn’t you? It’s part of their marketing strategy. Win as many golds as you can and tell the world. I would do the same. But, for the show to have some integrity the entry requirements need to change.

I would have also loved to see some of Kumeu River’s Chardonnay compete for top prize at this most auspicious show.Michael Brajkovich, M.W.

Enough of that negative crap. The real highlights for me were as follows:

Matua Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
Beautifully aromatic. Violets, flint, and citrus crush nose. Tangy and crunchy. Chaly, cream, mineral, citrus crush on the palate. Potential trophy winner! 92 Points

Villa Maria Chardonnay
Across the board there was not one gold medal winner that doesn’t have the capability to take the trophy. What can I say. Great wines. 88 – 92 Points

Soderberg Single Vineyard Home Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
This little organic winery only makes Pinot Noir. The wine itself is very European in style. Somewhat challenging nose. It’s definitely about the texture on the palate than aromatics. Firm tannin. Restrained use of integrated oak. Balanced. Might not be what the judges are looking for. 90 Points

Judge Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010.
It’s a dinner winner. Reminiscent of Central Otago in every way.  Schist and red current nose. Good fruit ripeness and definite poise and balanced palate. Elegant! 92 Points

Passage Rock Reserve Waiheke Island Syrah 2010
This wine is tipped to be a show winner. Full of greatness. Bright in the glass, and packs a punch on the nose. Rich, ripe, and flavoursome. Juicy, concentrated, and full bodied, this has spice, acidity, and elegance on the palate. 94 Points. 

Coopers Creek Single Vineyard Gisborne Albarino ‘Bell Ringer’ 2012
From an extremely difficult vintage. This emerging wine variety has finally found a place in NZ. Full of fun. A real surprise. Delicate but endearing and definitely a Summer success. Delicious. Good fruit. Good balance. Good overall. Clean and pure. Citrus meets sunshine in a glass. Refreshing. 92 Points

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Written by Jayson Bryant

Jayson’s roots in wine began when his father literally dragged him round France and injected his passion into him. From the age of 8 his family took month long holidays in France travelling through all regions and sampling their wine.
UnScrewed has reinvented the concept of wine tasting in New Zealand and along the way found a new and willing audience. In addition to encouraging straightforward wine tasting, Jayson educates viewers about the effects of regional factors (soil, sun, wind) on wine flavours, and how to buy wine.


  • Paul Donaldson

    I totally agree about the Passage Rock Reserve Syrah 2010. I’ve got some in the cellar, and it’s pretty impressive! Massive wine. Good round up to thanks.

  • Gathadair

    Hurrah for Judge Rock! I always like visiting Paul to get more…! But those northern Syrahs do bear some further investigation…