Isabel Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021 has been named the Champion Wine of the 2023 Marlborough Wine Show, sponsored by QuayConnect.
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 stood out for judges.
"It showed how far we have come with Pinot Noir in Marlborough and a glimpse into the future. Pristine fruit, combined with thoughtful and sensitive winemaking, has created a wine with elegance and vibrancy," said Marfell.
It was the second year in a row that Pinot Noir was crowned champion wine, further solidifying Marlborough as a premium region to grow and produce world-class cool climate Pinot Noir.
"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."
Marfell said Marlborough was a winemaker's dream. With so many great vineyards, excellent soils, and now vine age and experienced winemaking teams, Marlborough creates 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, both sponsored by Bragato Research Institute, respectively.
Twenty-two trophies were presented on Friday evening at The Marlborough Wine Celebration Evening - Honouring 50 Years of Marlborough Wine.
This year, the highly sought-after NZ Wine Centre Legacy Trophy, sponsored by Marlborough Research Centre, was presented to Tohu Wines for their TOHU Rewa Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2011, 2014, and 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 ten years and a minimum gap of two years between each wine, demonstrating excellence and consistency.
This year, Wine Marlborough Ltd was thrilled to have Oz Clarke from the UK visit Marlborough in our 50th anniversary year and join the judging panel for the special Legacy award, said general manager Marcus Pickens.
"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," said Pickens.
The evening celebrated 50 years since the beginning of the modern Marlborough wine industry and was MC'd by the Chair of the Marlborough Winegrowers Association, Beth Forrest.
It included panel discussions from Marlborough wine industry pioneers, many of whom have been involved 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.
"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."
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 joined a growing list of industry leaders who have championed Marlborough wine for the best part of five decades.
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.