This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Dry Aromatic under £15 went to Lawson's Dry Hills, Gewürztraminer, Marlborough, New Zealand 2012 (14%)

Tasted against:

  • Zuccardi, Serie A Torrontés, Salta, Argentina 2013

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Following several years of Argentinian domination with Torrontés, it was a Gewürztraminer – from South Africa – that also won this Trophy at last year’s DWWA. An Argentinian Torrontés came close to reclaiming the crown, but this year sees another victory for Gewürztraminer, this time from New Zealand, and a wine that was praised by our panel of judges for its rich floral and stone fruit characters and great foodmatching credentials.

Grape growers since 1980, Ross and Barbara Lawson decided to strike out on their own in 1992 and produce wines themselves. Their first plantings were of Gewürztraminer in a small vineyard around the winery, and this plot is the source of this Trophy winner. The very first harvest yielded just 15 tonnes of fruit and was made by Ross in an old tin shed on the property that survives to this day (it now forms part of the winery’s cellar door). The oldest vines are those that the Lawsons planted at the beginning of the 1980s, and stand at the foot of the Wither Hills on soil that is clay overlaid with windblown loess.

The climate is most definitely cool, with significant temperature differences between day and night, helping to lock in Gewürztraminer’s signature floral and lychee fruit characters.

Today the winemaker is Marcus Wright. He joined Lawson’s Dry Hills in 2001 from Montana Wines, having also worked vintages in both Chile and the Loire. A love of aromatic wines means that Wright and his team have been rigorously applying themselves over the past decade to raising the quality of the wines to an even higher level.

Gewürztraminer in particular has long been an area of passion and focus for Wright, ever since working with the grape in Gisborne in the late 1990s; in 2010 he travelled to Alsace in order to increase his understanding and knowledge of the grape and its styles.

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Written by Decanter