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Gisborne grapes in champion wines

Wines produced from Gisborne grapes featured in the 17th annual New World Wine Awards that were announced yesterday, with the wines judged champion aromatic, champion pinot gris and champion “bubbles”, from more than a thousand wines.

Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Bell-Ringer Albariño 2019 took out the Champion Aromatic award, with the grapes produced by Gisborne grower Doug Bell.

“I am absolutely stoked to have grown the grapes that produced that wine,” Mr Bell said.

“It’s well known that 2019 was a stunning vintage in Gisborne.

“Most importantly for me it shows that Gisborne is right up with the rest and the best and particularly with alternative varieties like albarino.”

The judges’ tasting notes said the albariño variety, an evocative name for the crisp white wines from the coastal area of northwest Spain and Portugal, had flourished since planted in Gisborne.

“Intense flavours and aromas of lime, rock melon, mouth-watering fresh acidity and a touch of salt right at the end,” the judges said.

Mr Bell said the New Zealand wine industry had been told on several occasions that it must work towards showcasing varieties other than sauvignon blanc.

“This is a good example that Gisborne can be part of that direction.”

Grapes from Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Waipara went into Villa Maria’s Private Bin East Coast Pinot Gris 2019, judged champion Pinot Gris

“This classic example showed wonderful wine does not necessarily cost a fortune and also the value of blind tasting wines. A combination of great East Coast vineyard sites including Gisborne,” the judges said.

“Ripe fruit in perfect condition and premier league winemaking produced a spectacular wine that is not going to break the bank. Beguiling aromas of stone fruit and apple blossom, dry with crunchy pear flavours and refreshing acidity.”

Te Hana Rosé won the champion “bubbles” award with the grapes also grown in Gisborne.

“This year’s champion is a Rosé with lovely fresh strawberry and cherry notes,” the judges said.

“The taste is complex and opulent with flavours of strawberry and brioche, concentrated with a super long flavour.”