The development of regionally-focussed wine shows is slowly progressing and I think it is very positive for this country’s wine industry. There’s the viewpoint that there’s too many wine shows and that a proliferation will result in confusion for the consumer at large, and that the results of wine competitions will generally be devalued, especially if some shows are run less stringently than others. Against this is that the focus on one region allows a better understanding and appreciation of the wines and enables a judging to be better tailored to the specific styles and varieties. The judges selected for such regional shows can be chosen for their expertise in the styles of that region, or who have a perspective that will enable recognition of the wines of a region in how they compare with the wider world. And usually, regional shows are much smaller, so that the pressure of trying to judge an inordinate number per session does not apply.
The Canterbury Wine Show, now in its second year enjoys the benefits of being focussed and smaller. It is unusual in that it has wines judged alongside food. The long-running Sydney International Wine Competition is the best-known show that does this in Australasia, and the results carry a lot of weight among consumers who realise that wine needs to be appreciated in the context of dining to be properly appreciated. As we all know, a wine can ‘perform’ and taste quite differently when eating. At the Canterbury Wine Show, exhibitors must enter their wines for judging in specific food categories. There is an element of recognising ‘social responsibility’ as an industry with the involvement of food too. And the other important criterion as a regional show is that the wines must be made from at least 85% Canterbury fruit.
This year, there were 63 wines entered to be judged by a panel with Jo Burzynska, wine writer, Kirsten Creasy, winemaker and oenologist, and Simon Sheehan, chef. The food classes for wines to be entered into were: Lamb, Game, Cheese, Asian, Seafood and Chicken.
The Canterbury Wine Awards 2013 Results
Of the 63 wines entered for judging on 15 April, there was one gold medal (1.6%), 21 silver (33.3%) and 24 bronze medals (38.1%) awarded, making a total of 46 medals. Thus 73% of the entries gained an award. The overall medal rate reflects the general high quality of the wines judged. The one gold medal, for the Terrace Edge Waipara Syrah 2011, was the first time a gold has been awarded over the two years of the running of the competition. This is lower than the usual proportion of golds (usually around 5-6%), but may reflect a more critical judging panel make-up, and/or the process of judging with food. I list the food category winners below.
For the full results, go to the Wines of Canterbury website: www.winesofcanterbury.co.nz The awards for all the wines will be presented at the 2013 David Jackson Dinner which will feature the class winning wines in a degustation dinner (of course) on 24 May at the Canterbury Club in Christchurch. The Champion Wine of the Show will also be announced at the end of the evening. The cost of the dinner is $120.00 pp, and tickets can be obtained through Gill Walsh, the awards co-ordinator, Tel: 03 312-5553 or Email: email@example.com
Gill Walsh can also provide a breakdown of the entries according to Canterbury sub-region. This is, of course, essential in the development of terroir, and maybe the show, as it matures, will account for it in judging, very much as the Marlborough Wine Show has already done.
Lane Neave Lawyers Cheese Class
Greystone Gewurztraminer 2012 – Silver
Lane Neave Lawyers Seafood Class
Marble Point Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – Silver
Hill Laboratories Game Class
Terrace Edge Syrah 2011 – Gold
Hill Laboratories Asian Class
Greystone Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – Silver
FruitFed Lamb Class
Marble Point Pinot Noir 2011 – Silver
Wines of Canterbury Chicken Class
Waipara Hills ‘Equinox’ Chardonnay 2012 – Silver