A catch-up with Wanganui-based wine writer Warren Barton and his charming wife Colleen reminded me of how important it is to have your feet on the ground and avoid snobbery. Warren is one of the most sensible and down-to-earth men around, his modest demeanour belying his considerable experience of the world, his understanding of how the world works, as well as his pragmatic sense of right and wrong.
Warren’s recent column in the ‘Southland Times (click here to view) focussed on the results of the New World Wine Awards 2011, judged in the middle of July. I‘ve seen the results, but have not reported it in my blog. The reasoning behind this was manifold; I’d already reported the results of many of the judgings, and with more to come, I felt I had to draw a line on what I’m going to highlight. The website www.wineshow.co.nz is the best resource on wine show results in any case. Also, my blog on my website is really what I want to write about and on subjects that interest me. I realise now there was a degree of snobbery involved too. My interests and background has always been with the aspirational aspects of wine, and supermarkets have always seemed at the other end of my operating spectrum.
Warren’s article jolted me back into reality. As he says, ” It’s the only show that focuses almost entirely on the ranges of wines that most of us actually buy and drink – wines that retail for less than $25”. Warren quite rightly points out that the standards of judging are the same as other shows, and indeed the judges are the same people who judge at these other shows. The proportions of medals awarded bear this out. From 1045 wines (including international) entered, there were 50 (4.78%) gold, 135 (12.91%) silver and 336 (32.15%) bronzes, a tad lower than other competitions, but these are ‘$25.00 and less’ wines. Warren points out that at least 500 cases of the wines must be available, which means national availability – good for consumer and producer alike. And another point, the show highlights a top bubbly, white and red, rather than having numerous trophies for various classes and categories, which can seem like an endorsement programme for the sponsors of a wine show.
So hence this blog item on the New World Wine Awards 2011 results. It’s worth going to the New World website (click here to go to the wine awards section) for a full background on the process, the judges, the results and a great deal more. They’ve done a great job. Here are the 50 gold medal winning wines: