From Gibbston to the World – Brennan Pinot Noir a Champion
Sean Brennan’s painstaking approach and his belief in the Gibbston sub-region has brought Central Otago’s famed Pinot Noir to the world, with Brennan Wines’ B2 Pinot Noir 2011 scooping five awards and being named world champion red wine at the 2013 London International Wine Challenge, regarded as the most respected wine competition in the world. This followed awards for Best Red, Best International Wine and the Pinot Noir Trophy at the prestigious Royal Easter Show Wine Awards.
Established in 2006, the family owned and operated winery was born from the childhood summers spent in the area by Brennan, a New York native of New Zealand parentage. At an early age, Brennan realised he wanted to settle in New Zealand and with his Auckland-born father, distinguished New York surgeon Murray Brennan, having land in the Gibbston sub-region of Central Otago, his dream was soon able to become a reality. In an interview with Hamilton News, Brennan admits that after driving wine distributor delivery trucks around Manhattan for a year, he “totally got the wine bug”.
Brennan began his wine-making career in 1994, studying viticulture at Adelaide University and developing his winemaking skills in Australia, the US and New Zealand. In 2006, with 10 years of winemaking experience under his belt plus a wife and babies, he launched the boutique label with the intention of producing limited quantities of iconic wines that truly represented the potential of the exceptional wine region.
Judges from the International Wine Challenge were hugely impressed by the Pinot Noir. “It is a tremendous achievement that will catapult their product to an international audience,” said the Awards’ Co-Chairman Charles Metcalfe. The wine won trophies for Champion Gibbston Pinor Noir, Champion Central Otago Pinot Noir, Champion New Zealand Red and Champion International Pinot Noir.
Despite these accolades, a bottle of Brennan Wines’ world-class B2 retails at a remarkable $33 a bottle – showcasing not only excellent the wine of the Gibbston region but Brennan’s modesty.
Though not initially planning on attending the awards ceremony, Brennan flew to London with his father, , at the last minute to collect the trophy. “Not bad for a little shed in Gibbston,” he said of the win. “Truly a fantastic result for Gibbston, Central Otago and New Zealand Pinot Noir.”
In its 30th year, the International Wine Challenge is accepted as the world’s finest and most meticulously judged competition. The IWC assesses every wine ‘blind’ and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage. Each medal winning wine is tasted on at least three separate occasions by a minimum of 10 different judges.