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18/01/2010

A decade of Chardonnay

As final plans are ticked off for the 10-year anniversary of the International Chardonnay Challenge, organisers are taking a little time to reflect on the past decade.

Chardonnay has certainly ridden its ups and downs, but organisers say it remains the most popular white wine in the world – none the least because of its versatility.

Over the years, the challenge has attracted thousands of entries from all over the globe – wine makers from France, Italy, South Africa, Australia and beyond have all sought to have their wines matched against other top labels.

Past winners have gone on to do very well in the Chardonnay du Monde competition as well, including a top 10 finish and a gold medal for the 2006 challenge winner, the Landmark Estate Earls Chardonnay Reserve 2004.

The international interest is rivalled only by the judges who also come from far and wide.

Competition director Prue Younger is bringing back some of the best for the 2010 competition, including former chairs Mike DeGaris (Australia), Jane Skilton MW (New Zealand) who has been involved for five of the nine challenges so far, and Larry McKenna (NZ), alongside Paul Atwood (Australia), top international wine writer Jo Burzynska, and Kate Radburn (NZ).

“It's no secret that our judges love to be involved with the challenge and for good reason,” says Younger.

“Gisborne is a perfect place to host such an event and they always leave having sampled not just the best wines from all over, but all that is good about Gisborne too.”

Entry forms are available on line through the website and close 26 March.

Judging will run from 26–28 May, with both the Chardonnay Forum and the Gala Awards Dinner on 28 May.

“This will be a challenge to remember,” says Younger.

“We're pulling out all stops to showcase this magnificent variety and toasting a rather incredible decade of Chardonnay celebration.”

For more information visit www.internationalchardonnaychallenge.com

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