This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for New Zealand Sweet over £15 went to Seifried, Winemakers Collection 'Sweet Agnes' Riesling, Nelson 2012 (11%)

Tasted against:

  • No other Golds in this category

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Born in Austria, Hermann Seifried studied winemaking in his homeland and in Germany before moving to South Africa to gain hands-on experience with KWV. His next (and so far final) step on his journey was to New Zealand, where he arrived without a word of English in his vocabulary.

Here he met (Sweet) Agnes, whom he married in 1971. They held a joint ambition to plant their own vineyard in Nelson at the very north of New Zealand’s South Island, where they spotted immense potential. Despite the naysayers who claimed that Nelson was too far south and too cold an environment in which to fully ripen grapes, they pressed ahead, and 1973 marked the planting of the first vines, with the first vintage released three years later.

Seifried says Sweet Agnes is ‘the best of the best’ of its Riesling harvest, selected from one of his three estate vineyards. There’s no hard and fast rule as to which vineyard is chosen – the fruit from all three is always of a high standard. It’s down to which site performed best in that vintage.

This Trophy-winner – which has won two Regional Trophies and three International Trophies for different vintages in previous years at the DWWA – is made from hand-picked grapes grown on its Brightwater vineyard, with a significant percentage of the berries being raisined due to natural dehydration. They then undergo a gentle pressing before fermentation, with the finished wine being bottled just two months after harvest.

Written by Decanter