Salud! Spanish winemakers impress at International Wine Challenge, winning 63 Gold medals
Spanish winemakers impressed at this year’s International Wine Challenge, taking home a mighty medal haul of 659, following two weeks of intensive blind tasting at the Kia Oval in London last month. 63 Spanish wines were awarded with IWC Gold medals, putting Spanish winemakers at a very respectable fourth place in the Gold medal league, after France, Australia and neighbouring Portugal. In addition to its impressive bag of Gold medals, Spain also picked up 203 Silver medals and 393 Bronze medals at this year’s competition.
- Sherry proved to be the brightest jewel in Spain’s crown, with almost half of all Spanish Gold medals being awarded to this fortified wine. In addition to the 29 Gold medals, 30 Silver medals and 27 Bronze medals were also awarded to sherry giving a total medal count of 86.
- Renowned sherry producer, Emilio Lustau, matched its exceptional performance in 2015, receiving ten Gold medals for a second consecutive year. Based in Jerez de la Frontera in southwestern Spain, Emilio Lustau produces non-vintage Sherries for a number of UK supermarkets which were awarded Gold by the IWC judges including four for Marks & Spencer, two for Morrisons and one for Waitrose.
- Consumers looking to get a Lustau Gold medal winner in their local supermarkets should look out for; Marks & Spencer Very Rare Palo Cortado, Marks & Spencer Very Rare Dry Old Amontillado, Marks & Spencer Very Rare Pedro Ximénez, Marks & Spencer Very Rare Oloroso, Morrisons Signature Oloroso Dry, Morrisons Signature Pedro Ximénez and Waitrose Solera Jerezana Amontillado.
- Rivaling Lustau’s sherry supremacy was González Byass, which picked up a total of seven Gold medals for its Sherries. In addition to receiving six Gold medals for non-vintage sherries including its Tres Palmas and its Dos Palmas, the producer also received a Gold medal for its 1987 Añada.
- Famed for its bold reds, the Rioja region racked up an impressive haul of fourteen Gold medals for red wines, amounting to two thirds of the total Gold medals awarded to Spanish red wine. In addition, 60 Silver medals and 111 Bronze medals were awarded to red Riojas.
- Baron de Ley was awarded four Gold medals, the highest number of Golds given to a single producer in the Rioja region. It won Gold with two of its reds, the Baron de Ley Gran Reserva 2010 and the Extra Special El Meson Gran Reserva 2010, produced for UK supermarket ASDA. Baron de Ley also scooped Gold medals for the 2010 and 2011 vintages of its white wine 3 Vinas Blanco Reserva.
- Further success for Spanish white wines came from Spain’s cool, green, northwestern corner, Galicia, with six Gold medals being awarded to white wines produced in the region. Five Gold medals were awarded to Albariño varietals from the Rias Baixas, with a single Gold being given to Pazo Casanova 2014, a blended white wine produced by Bodegas y Viñedos Pazo De Casanova in the Ribeiro region.
- Catalonia, in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, produced a further pair of Gold medal winning white wines. Clos Martina 2014, a white Priorat produced by Mas d’en Blei, and Domènech Vidal Cultivare Xarel.Lo2013 made using local Catalonian grape Xarel-lo by the Vallformosa group in Penedès both received Gold medals.
- Fans of Spanish bubbly should look no further than Torelló Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2009, the only Cava entry to win Gold at the competition this year. A further 15 Silver medals and 27 Bronze medals were also awarded to Cavas.
- Spanish neighbour Andorra also received its first ever Gold medal at the International Wine Challenge. Imagine 2014, a white produced by Celler Casa Auvinyà, scooped the first IWC Gold for the principality.
- Visit the IWC website for the full list of winners: http://www.internationalwinechallenge.com
Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:
“Spain always puts in a strong performance at the International Wine Challenge, and this year was no exception. Sherries shone as always, and we awarded some top medals to world-class Riojas, but it was also wonderful to see more white wines winning Golds. Spain is one of the most innovative wine countries in Europe, and it was a delight to see ever more diversity from the country’s winemakers.”