New Zealand has taken line honours in a three-way national wine challenge with Australia and South Africa.
Kiwi wines took out eight trophies, 11 double gold medals and 10 gold medals, and New Zealand was named top overall country in the Tri Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney.
Australia usually dominates the competition but this year Aussie winemakers took a back seat.
NZ shiraz wines praised
New Zealand shiraz (syrah) wines received particular praise. But, Kiwi winemakers also cleaned up in the white wine, sparkling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot, Bordeaux blends, and dessert wine categories.
The quality of New Zealand wines entered for 2009 really demonstrated the ongoing evolution of wine quality in New Zealand, NZ judge Bob Campbell said.
"The results reflect the continuing strength of New Zealand sauvignon blanc in spite of a challenging 2008 vintage, and the quality of our pinot noir, syrah and merlot," Campbell said.
"The excellent red wine vintage experienced in Hawke's Bay and Central Otago in 2007 are also evident in this year's results."
Tri Nations judging panel
Wines entered in the Tri Nations Wine Challenge were picked by a selector from each country for each class.
Wineries were invited to send samples to Sydney to be blind-tasted by a panel of judges from the three countries.
New Zealand trophy winners were:
- Deutz Blanc de Blancs chardonnay 2006 (sparkling category)
- Neudorf Moutere chardonnay 2007
- Saint Clair Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block SB 2008 (sauvignon blanc)
- Martinborough pinot noir 2007
- Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels merlot 2007
- Craggy Range The Quarry cabernet sauvignon merlot 2007 (Bordeaux blends)
- Framingham Auslese No 3 riesling 2008 (dessert