“On est les champions”: France claims first place in Tranche One of the International Wine Challenge 2018
Under embargo till 11am 30/11/2017
French winemakers receive an impressive 341 IWC medals at Tranche One of 2018 competition, beating New Zealand and Australia to the top spot
In some of its best results for years, France won more top medals than any other country in the latest results from the International Wine Challenge. French winemakers won 26 Gold medals, 159 Silver medals and 156 Bronze medals, 141 more medals than New Zealand, whose winemakers achieved the 2nd biggest haul of 200 medals. France was 157 medals ahead of third place country, Australia, which won 184 medals.
- Burgundy was France’s top performing region, producing ten of the country’s Gold medal-winning wines. Chardonnays from 2015 did especially well, winning seven Gold medals. The best performing of these Gold medal winners, with a superb score of 96 points, were Meursault Charmes Dessus 1er Cru 2015, made by Domaine du Château de Meursault, Berry Bros. & Rudd Puligny-Montrachet 2015, made by Domaine Jean-Louis Chavy, and Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2015, made by William Fèvre.
- Winemakers from the Languedoc Roussillon also put in a stellar performance, winning a total of seven Gold medals across a range of styles. Five of those Gold medals were awarded to Syrah blends, proving that this historic but previously overlooked region has the ideal terroir for this hugely popular grape variety. Previous winner Cave De Roquebrun struck Gold yet again with its Les Fiefs d’Aupenac 2016 (96 Points), a compelling blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre.
- The oldest wine to win Gold at the competition was also made in Languedoc Roussillon. The Rivesaltes Grande Reserve 1969 (96 Points), produced by Vignobles Dom Brial, delighted the judging panel with its “rich, sweet palate of nuts, raisins, fruit peel and caramel”.
- The judges awarded three Gold medals to the 2016 Gamays produced in Beaujolais. These were the Juliénas Clos des Poulettes 2016, by Jacques Charlet, Morgon Les Grands Cras 2016 by Collin Bourisset, and Saint Amour Domaine de la Pirolette 2016, by Domaine de la Pirolette. All received 95 points.
- Champagne produced two Gold medals at this tranche of the competition. Champagne A.Boates & Fils made the Ch. Legendre Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut 2009, which wowed the panel with its delicious blend of yellow apple aromas and creamy nutty notes, securing 95 points. Champagne de Venoge’s non-vintage Champagne Princes Extra-Brut (95 Points) also proved popular with the judges, who noted its ‘crisp-fresh acidity’ and a ‘superb finish’.
- Alsace received two Gold medals for Riesling. The Wolfberger Riesling Grand Cru Eichberg 2016 (95 Points) seduced the judges with its understated, floral jasmine notes, while the Riesling Vallee Noble by Domaine Jean Marie Haag was lauded for its stunning purity of fruit which the judges noted had huge potential to improve with age. With a glowing score of 96, this Riesling is set to become a classic.
- The most successful French producer at Tranche One of the competition was Domaine William Fèvre from Burgundy, which won three Gold medals with its 2015 Chablis entries. Its beautifully elegant Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Côte de Bouguerots (95 points) mesmerised with its herbal notes, while the Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2015 was loved for its delightful orange and tangerine fruit. Fèvre’s third Gold medal winner was the Chablis Premier Cru Les Lys 2015, which secured 95 points, thanks to its stone fruit aromas and smooth palate. The producer also secured a further eight Silver medals and four Bronze medals.
- Producer Jean-Michel Cazes won two Gold medals they secured a Gold medal for their Château Villa Bel Air 2016 (95 Points), a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes grown in Bordeaux. Its Domaine de L’Ostal Grand Vin 2015, a red blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache clocked up a score of 95 points,. Cazes also received a further Silver medal and two more Bronze medals.
Sarah Abbott MW, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:
“France’s continued success at the International Wine Challenge is a testament to the country’s widely renowned reputation as a global leader in wine production. The quality displayed at this year’s competition is proof that France is home to some of the most talented and diverse winemakers in the world. The world-class entries provided by the French are proof that the bar is constantly being raised in our competition.”