Sarah Jessica Parker helps Kiwis retain dominance in Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand’s wine industry received an unlikely ally in the form of actor, Sarah Jessica Parker, in the battle of the southern hemisphere wine giants in the 40th Sydney International Wine Competition (SIWC).

Sarah Jessica Parker’s collaboration with New Zealand’s Invivo Wines helped the Kiwis complete a clean-sweep of trophies and medals in the competition’s Sauvignon Blanc category with a Blue Gold medal for her debut Invivo X, SJP Sauvignon Blanc 2019.

Parker put her olfactory skills to good effect with the blending of the Sauvignon Blanc from five parcels of 2019 Marlborough fruit to produce an easy-drinking, but distinctive wine described by SIWC judge, Andrea Pritzker MW, as having, “Lively aromas of passionfruit and fresh-cut grass. Crisp and fresh displaying passionfruit intensity and floral overtones”.

She commented on her first foray into wine production and the subsequent reaction, “The whole marvellous experience was a great and unexpected opportunity and yes, at last we get to introduce the fruits of these last many months”.

“We are thrilled to pour our first glasses, delight in imagining others do so and hope very much that you love it as much as we do,” she said.

The medal continues a run of success for Invivo’s celebrity-backed wines in the Sydney International Wine Competition, with Graham Norton’s Sauvignon Blanc and Australian Shiraz blends tasting success in previous competitions.

However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic for the Kiwis.

In the results, Australian wineries won 166 trophies and medals compared to 77 for New Zealand’s wineries. Other trophy and medal winners came from Argentina, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Australian wineries took out 11 of the 13 trophies for the style categories and the Jacob’s Creek Lyndale Chardonnay 2018 was awarded best wine of the competition.

And while the Aussie winemakers couldn’t dent the Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc ‘fortress’, an Australian Pinot Noir did take out the trophy for best Pinor Noir, with Coles Liquor’s Ballewindi Pinot Noir 2018.

While an Australian Pinot Noir might have taken the top spot, the Kiwis still won 20 out of the 24 medals in the category.

New Zealand’s Marlborough was once again the most successful wine region, with 52 trophies and medals, whilst Australia’s pre-eminence in the red wine categories saw South Australia’s Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills and the Clare Valley all perform strongly, along with Western Australia’s Margaret River.

Three wineries shared the ‘most awarded’ honour, with New Zealand’s Saint Clair Family Estate, Yealands Wine Group, and Australia’s De Bortoli Wines taking out nine medals each.

An international panel of 13 judges, including six Masters of Wine, judged the 1600 wines submitted, awarding 251 Top 100, Blue Gold and Gold medals, along with 24 trophies.

Sydney International Wine Competition Chair of Judges, Warren Gibson, said that the blending of ‘technical’ and ‘style’ judges, and the final judging with food, ensured that wines that made it through to medal contention were both of the highest quality and “good food wines”.

“I believe the results of this year’s competition have provided a strong and diverse range of award winners and trophies,” said Gibson.

“The show both attracts and awards a very broad range of wine styles, regions and varieties and there should absolutely be something for everyone in the list of winners.

“Some trends become obvious over time. In the past, cooler climate styles have tended to be strongly rewarded. Continuing on from this trend, it seems that in recent years warmer climate wines are encroaching into this space.

“There appears to be a general ‘freshening’ of style in the new generation of Australian wine. This year Australia fought back in many categories; there are now many more wines entered with fantastic freshness and balance.

“New Zealand managed to hold on, as expected, to the Sauvignon Blanc category with complete domination, together with Sparkling wine.

“Australia reclaimed the Pinot Noir category for the first time in some years with a somewhat polarising wine from the Mornington Peninsula. Otherwise the category was dominated by New Zealand’s Central Otago and Marlborough regions.

“A fantastic light-bodied Grenache from McLaren Vale was a huge judge favourite all week and shows a recent trend of ‘what’s old can still be new’ particularly when made in this delicious style.

“South Australia’s McLaren Vale and Western Australia both performed well with three trophies each.”