Pinot Noir the champion of Marlborough Wine Show

Trophy winners at the Marlborough Wine Show. Image courtesy Wine Marlborough.

Isabel Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021 has been named the Champion Wine of the 2023 Marlborough Wine Show.

The wine was a standout for judges, picking up four trophies in total, including the De Sangosse NZ Champion Current Vintage Pinot Noir, The Coterie Wine of Provenance and Wine Marlborough Ltd Champion Wairau Valley wine.

Chief Judge Stu Marfell said the Champion wine was a clear standout for judges.

“It showed not only how far we have come with Pinot Noir in Marlborough, but also a glimpse into the future. Pristine fruit, combined with thoughtful and sensitive winemaking has created a wine with elegance and vibrancy,” he says.

It was the second year in a row that Pinot Noir was crowned champion wine.

“While we have rightfully gained recognition for producing some of the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc, we have also been working hard on creating some of the best Pinot Noirs as well,” said Marfell.

“Marlborough is a winemaker’s dream. We have so many great vineyards with great soils, and now with vine age and experienced winemaking teams we are creating some of the most complex and interesting Pinot Noirs.”

Alongside making an impression with Pinot Noir, Isabel Estate proved tough competition with Chardonnay at the show. Isabel Estate Wild Barrique Chardonnay 2022 and Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2020 took the Champion current vintage Chardonnay, and Champion 2020 and older Chardonnay trophies.

Twenty-two trophies were presented at The Marlborough Wine Celebration Evening on Friday, honouring 50 years of Marlborough Wine.

The highly sought-after NZ Wine Centre Legacy Trophy was presented to Tohu Wines for their TOHU Rewa Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2011, 2014, 2016.

Launched in 2013, the award is a special one for the industry, and is designed to celebrate wines with pedigree. It is awarded to the wine with the highest scores from three vintage wines within a 10-year period and a minimum gap of two years between each wine, demonstrating both excellence and consistency.

Marcus Pickens, general manager at Wine Marlborough, said he was thrilled to have Oz Clarke from the UK visit Marlborough for the 50 year celebration, and join the judging panel for the special Legacy award.

“Oz is a world-leading wine expert, known for his phenomenal palate. We felt it was especially appropriate to have him join the Legacy Award judging panel this year to provide an outside view on how wines in our region age and develop.”

The evening was a celebration of 50 years since the beginning of the modern Marlborough wine industry.

It included panel discussions from Marlborough wine industry pioneers, many of whom have been involved with the industry since its inception. Five decades is a significant milestone for the entire Marlborough industry, but particularly for those people who have been involved since the start, Pickens said.

“It’s a timely reason to give a nod to the past, to look back and think, ‘Gosh, there were a lot of people who knew there was something magical here!’. It allows us to develop a sense of drive and optimism. It’s a springboard for Marlborough to become an even more unbelievable force in wine,” he said.

The Workplace Wellbeing Impact Award 2023 was presented to Spy Valley Wines, alongside the Workplace Wellbeing Leadership Award 2023, which was presented to Yealands Wine.

Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Awards presented to four industry treasures

Four pioneers of Marlborough wine were also recognised with Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Awards at the dinner; James Healy, Dave Pearce, Tessa Anderson and Murray Gibbons, who joined a growing list of industry leaders who have championed Marlborough wine for the best part of five decades.


Three of the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients

This year was the first year that four recipients have received the award in one year, each having demonstrated tireless dedication to the industry for the best part of five decades.

The Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Award aims to recognise nominees who have longevity of service to the Marlborough wine industry, unselfishly given their time to the industry, made a lasting impact and demonstrated a lifetime of multiple quality achievements.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said to have picked just one of the recipients proved too difficult for the board this year.

“These are people who have dedicated much of their lives to championing the Marlborough wine industry, and the wonderful wines we’re capable of delivering,” he said.

“To be able to recognise them at this special event was a real honour.”


2023 Trophy Winning Wines

Vitis and Winemakers Champion Sparkling
Deutz Prestige 2017

WineWorks Champion Sauvignon Blanc Current Vintage
Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2023

WineWorks Champion Sauvignon Blanc 2022 & older
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2022

WineWorks Alternate Style Sauvignon Blanc
Catalina Sounds Sound of White Sauvignon Blanc 2022

Bragato Research Institute Champion Chardonnay Current Vintage
Isabel Estate Marlborough Wild Barrique Chardonnay 2022

Bragato Research Institute Champion Chardonnay 2020 & older
Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2020

Label and Litho Champion Pinot Gris

Rapaura Springs Reserve Pinot Gris 2023

Orora Limited Champion
Riesling Stoneleigh Riesling 2023

Winebrokers New Zealand Champion Gewürztraminer
Mount Riley Marlborough Gewürztraminer 2023

Barrel Finance & Logistics Champion Sweet Wine
Wairau River Reserve Botrytised Riesling 2022

Move Logistics Champion Other White Wine

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 28 Camp Block Pinot Blanc 2020

De Sangosse NZ Champion Pinot Noir Current Vintage
Isabel Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021

De Sangosse NZ Champion Pinot Noir 2020 & Older
Lawson’s Dry Hills The Pioneer Tilly’s Single Vineyard 2020

Scenic Hotel Marlborough Champion Rosé
Babich Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2023

Vit Management Ltd Champion Organic Wine
Zephyr Chardonnay 2020

The Coterie Wine of Provenance
Isabel Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021

Vintech Pacific Best Low Alcohol Wine
The Doctors’ Riesling 2022

Wine Marlborough Ltd Champion Wairau Valley
Isabel Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Southern Valleys
Ara Resolute Pinot Noir 2021

QuayConnect Champion Awatere & South Marlborough
Triplebank Sauvignon Blanc 2023

NZ Wine Centre Legacy Award, sponsored by Marlborough Research Centre
TOHU Rewa Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2011, 2014, 2016

QuayConnect Champion Wine of the Show 2023
Isabel Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021


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