English winemakers put in sterling performance at International Wine Challenge 2016, winning ten Gold medals
English winemakers had a record year of success at the International Wine Challenge 2016, receiving a whopping 120 medals, compared with 94 in 2015, as the quality of homegrown wine continues to soar. Following two weeks of intensive tasting at the Kia Oval last month, the panels of international wine experts awarded ten Gold medals, 57 Silver and 53 Bronze medals to English wines, with sparkling wines from the south of the country leading the charge.
- Sparkling wines produced in Hampshire, Surrey, Dorset all received Gold medals, and it was Sussex sparklers that shone brightest, with four of the ten Gold medals being awarded to Sussex bubblies.
- No stranger to success at the IWC, Sussex vineyard Nyetimber picked up a pair of Gold medals for its Blanc de Blancs 2009 and its Classic Cuvee Magnum 2009. The vineyard also received a Bronze medals for its non-vintage sparkling Rosé.
- Two other Sussex wines, Wiston Estate Blanc de Blancs 2010 and Hart of Gold 2010, also received Gold medals at the 2016 competition.
- Four non-vintage sparkling wines also received Gold medals at the competition. After picking up its first Gold medal last year, Hampshire-based Hambledon Vineyard continued its success this year receiving a further Gold medal for its Premiére Cuvée NV. Cottonworth Classic Cuvée NV, also produced in Hampshire, scooped a further Gold medal. South Downs vineyard Exton Park, a relative newcomer which has only been producing wine since 2003, was awarded its first ever Gold medal for its Exton Park Pinot Meunier Rosé NV, and Surrey vineyard Denbies received a Gold medal for its non-vintage sparkling Pinot Noir, Greenfields Brut NV.
- Furleigh Estate 2010 Rosé and Langham Wine Estate Blanc de Blancs 2011, both from Dorset, completed the list of English Gold medal winners.
- Cornish vineyard Camel Valley received the highest number of medals by a single English producer, with eight Silver and four Bronze. In addition to a flurry of Silver sparkling wines, the producer also received a Silver medal for its Camel Valley Chardaccus 2014, a blend of Chardonnay and Bacchus. Two other still wines produced by Camel Valley using Bacchus grapes received Bronze medals at the competition; Camel Valley Bacchus Dry 2014 and Camel Valley Atlantic Dry 2014.
- A total of ten Silver medals and 18 Bronze medals were awarded to English still wines using a range of grapes including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Bacchus, Solaris, Madeleine Angevine, Rondo and Siegerrebe, as English winemakers continue to work with different styles.
- While native winemakers have tended to favour white or sparkling wines, this year a pair of shining Silver medals were awarded to English red wines. Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Noir 2014 and Trevibban Mill Black Ewe Red 2014 both won Silvers.
Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:
“Our home-grown wines are getting better and better! I don’t know if it’s down to maturing vineyards, more experienced winemakers, or a changing climate, but the wines we see in the IWC improve with every year. Some winners come from familiar names, whose wines have shone before, some from people I’ve never heard of. It’s very exciting! The top results, as usual, are for the sparkling wines, but there are seriously good still wines made as well.”
“The south of England gets the top awards, but we have Silver medals for producers from Shropshire, Staffordshire and Oxfordshire, and Bronzes from East Anglia, Worcestershire and even Yorkshire. And two Silvers for red wines! This year’s IWC confirms what we have known for a few years: we can be really proud of the top English wines. More medals than ever, and even higher quality.”
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