The New Zealand wine industry has been buzzing with excitement as the National Wine Awards of Aotearoa New Zealand returned for its second year, and it didn't disappoint. This prestigious competition is all about recognising and celebrating excellence in the wine industry. Jane Cooper, who returned as the Chair of Judges, led a talented team in their mission to honor the best of the country's wines. Among the award recipients, Saint Clair Family Estate made a significant impact with wines receiving multiple top awards.
The National Wine Awards of Aotearoa New Zealand released its gold medal winners late October. Saint Clair Family Estate received three gold medals across three different varietals.
- GOLD - Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2023 🏅
- GOLD - Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir 2021 🏅
- GOLD - Saint Clair Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewürztraminer 2023 🏅
Of these three-gold medal winning wines, Saint Clair is proud to announce that both the Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir 2021 and Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewürztraminer 2023 have been awarded trophies for top in their categories.
- Laffort Trophy for Champion Gewürztraminer: Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewürztraminer 2023
- Classic Oak Products NZ Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir: Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir 2021
Saint Clair Family Estate is also proud to announce that not only did the Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir win Champion Pinot Noir, but it also took out the competition, being awarded a second trophy, ‘Champion Wine of the Show’ the highest awarding trophy of the entire competition.
The Saint Clair winemaking team are Incredibly thrilled to receive these accolades. Senior Winemaker, Kyle Thompson reflects on the Pioneer Block Bull Block Pinot Noir 2021, “this wine is made from a special little parcel of Pinot Noir grown in the Omaka Valley which always produces elegant, perfumed Pinot Noir. Special mention to our contract grower Rob Goulter whose attention to detail in growing this fruit makes the winemaking process that much easier”.
The Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewürztraminer is named after the ‘Lone Gum’ vineyard on Dog Point Road in the Omaka Valley which is guarded by a large lone gum tree. Stewart Maclennan, Senior Winemaker at Saint Clair was elated at this trophy recognition “the growing conditions here in Marlborough promote so much fruit intensity, a variety like Gewürztraminer, grown in the light soils around parts of the Omaka river and Southern valley’s thrives in the prevailing and long ripening nor-wester conditions, the Marlborough terroir combined with a bit of winemaking resulted in a wine we are very proud of.
A noteworthy mention from the 2023 competition results goes to the Saint Clair Dawn Méthode Traditionnelle NV, which received an outstanding 93 Points from the judging panel. This special wine is a testament to the quality of wines produced by Saint Clair and a tribute to the matriarch of Saint Clair Family Estate, Neal Ibbotson’s late mother Dawn Ibbotson who reached the grand age of 105 years in 2020. This wine was originally crafted to celebrate her remarkable achievement of reaching 100 years of age on December 12, 2014, and is now released annually in her memory.
This Méthode Traditionnelle underwent a meticulous production process. The bottle fermentation took place over three months, followed by three years of ageing in the bottle. The result is a sparkling wine of unparalleled finesse, with the liqueur de dosage added to perfection.
The National Wine Awards of Aotearoa New Zealand recognises remarkable wines and the hardworking teams behind these creations. It's a testament to the dedication and passion of the people involved in the wine industry in New Zealand.
Saint Clair Family Estate's success at the National Wine Awards demonstrates the commitment to producing exceptional wines that capture the essence of New Zealand's unique terroir. The awards and acknowledgement received showcase the dedication to quality and excellence made by the entire Saint Clair team.