Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV takes top spot at Air New Zealand Wine Awards

24 November 2013

Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV takes top spot at Air New Zealand Wine Awards

A Sparkling wine from Marlborough has won top honours at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards, making it only the third Sparkling wine in the 27-year history of the Awards to take out the coveted prize.

The Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV was awarded the prestigious Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards Gala Dinner held in Queenstown on Saturday night. The wine 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 that 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,” Mr Brajkovich said.

Nautilus Estate, the producer of the winning wine, is a small, family-owned Marlborough winery which started 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 over 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 won 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 winning 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.

The trophies were presented at a gala awards dinner at the Queenstown Events Centre. Comedian and host of 7 Days, Jeremy Corbett, was the evening’s MC while the guests enjoyed a five course meal created by Air New Zealand consultant chef Peter Gordon.

Sustainability is a continuing trend at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards with 96 per cent of wines entered this year being sustainably accredited, compared with 92 per cent in 2012. Sustainable wines are produced from grapes that have been accredited or certified through an independently audited sustainability programme. The winemaking and packaging facilities used must also have been accredited or certified.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says “sustainability is an increasingly important factor within our industry and it’s superb that the country’s winemakers are also taking a leadership role within the environmental space”.

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.

Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2013 Trophy Winners

Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show
Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV

O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012

Label and Litho Limited Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Boundary Vineyards Rapaura Road Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Rabobank New Zealand Limited Champion Chardonnay
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012

Guala Closures NZ Champion Pinot Gris
Lake Chalice Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Highfield Riesling 2012

ICIB Gold Medal Insurance Champion Gewürztraminer
Not Awarded

BDO Champion Other White Styles and Rosé
Coopers Creek SV Gisborne Albariño 'Bell-Ringer' 2013

Wineworks Champion Sparkling Wine
Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV

Stuff.co.nz Champion Dessert Wine
Riverby Estate Noble Riesling 2012

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Noir
Greystone Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012

Fruitfed Supplies Limited Champion Syrah
Elephant Hill Syrah 2012

Coast FM Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010

Fairfax Media Champion Other Red Styles
Not Awarded

New World Champion Open White Wine
Lake Chalice Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013

Liquorland Champion Open Red Wine
Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2011

Waitoa Free Range Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2012

Business World Travel Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2010

Trophies by region:
Gisborne 1
Hawke’s Bay 7
Marlborough 7
Canterbury 1
Total 16

About Pure Medals (sustainability)
Every wine entered into the Air New Zealand Wine Awards from vintage 2010 onwards has to be 100 per cent sustainably grown and produced in order to enter the competition. Pure Medals are awarded to wines that are 100 per cent sustainable and that have achieved medal status. Therefore, a wine that attains a Gold Medal score and is sustainably accredited is awarded a Pure Gold Medal rather than a ‘Gold Medal’. In 2013, 634 Pure Medals were handed out.

Pure Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Méthode 2009

Gewürztraminer
Mount Riley Gewürztraminer 2013

Pinot Gris
Lake Chalice Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013
Mud House South Island Pinot Gris 2012
Two Tracks Pinot Gris 2012

Riesling
Giesen Riesling 2013
Highfield Riesling 2012
Hunter's Marlborough Riesling 2013
Terrace Edge Liquid Geography Riesling 2012
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Dry Riesling 2010

Sauvignon Blanc
Boundary Vineyards Rapaura Road Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Corbans Homestead Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Rossendale Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 2 Swamp Block Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Sauvignon Blanc 2013
te Pā Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Chardonnay
Coopers Creek SV Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 'The Limeworks' 2012
Mount Riley 17 Valley Chardonnay 2011
Nautilus Estate Chardonnay 2012
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Chardonnay 2012
Te Awa Chardonnay 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2011
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2012

Viognier
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Omahu Gravels Viognier 2010

Dessert Wine Styles
Allan Scott Family Winemakers Late Harvest Riesling 2013
Riverby Estate Noble Riesling 2012
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling 2012
Wairau River Reserve Botrytised Riesling 2012

Rosé
Kate Radburnd Berry Blush Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2013

Pinot Noir
Archangel Pinot Noir 2012
Domain Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011
Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Greylands Ridge Pinot Noir 2012
Greystone Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2012
Mount Michael Bessie's Block Pinot Noir 2012
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir 2012
Thistle Ridge Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011
Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2012

Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2011
Esk Valley Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2012
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010

Syrah
Elephant Hill Syrah 2012
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2010
Newton Forrest Syrah 2011

Other Varieties – Single
Coopers Creek SV Gisborne Albariño 'Bell-Ringer' 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Malbec 2009

Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV

By varietal Elite Gold Pure Elite Gold
Sparkling 1 1
Gewürztraminer 0 1
Pinot Gris 0 3
Riesling 0 5
Sauvignon Blanc 0 7
Chardonnay 0 8
Viognier 0 1
Dessert Wine Styles 0 4
Rosé 0 1
Pinot Noir 0 11
Merlot, Cabernet and Blends 0 3
Syrah 0 3
Other varieties – singles 0 2
Total 1 50

By region Elite Gold Pure Elite Gold
Gisborne 0 1
Hawke’s Bay 0 14
Nelson 0 1
Marlborough 1 22
Canterbury 0 3
Otago 0 7
Other 0 2
Total 1 50