New wine frontiers from the International Wine Challenge 2017
Under embargo until 11am 17.05.17
The International Wine Challenge 2017 announced its results today following two weeks of blind tasting at the Kia Oval in London last month. From the thousands of wines tasted blind by the panel of expert judges, niche grape varieties and historic but lesser known appellations came through to scoop an unprecedented number of top awards.
- Swiss wines have been on the up-and-coming radar in recent years, and stepped into the limelight in grand style in 2017, with a record-breaking seven Gold medals. Special recognition is due to Charles Rolaz and team of Hammel – Terres de Vins, whose wines received six of the seven Golds awarded. Red and white wines were Gold winners. Hammel’s Gold reds included the the 2014 and 2013 vintages of Domaine de Crochet Grand Cru, Cuvée Charles Auguste , Mont-sur-Rolle. Gold-medal whites included 2 stunning examples of the Chassalas grape in the Chablais AOC: Clos du Châtelard Grand Cru Villeneuve 2014 and Clos de la George Grand Cru Yvorne 2014.
- Basel-based producer Vinigma won a Gold was awarded to for its Apriori 2015, an irresistible blend of Petite Arvine and the Valais speciality Humagne Blanche.
- Greece won three Gold medals, two of them awarded to Avantis Estate & Winery for Falcon Hill Red 2014 and the white Afoura 2013. Nemea-based producer Zacharias Wines was awarded a Gold medal for its Agiorgitiko Zacharias 2016.
Balkans and Eastern Med
- Macedonia scored its second Gold medal since its first Gold win back in 2010. Tikves Winery, the oldest and largest winery in South-East Europe received a Gold for its sleek red, Vranec Special Selection 2015.
- Turkey also struck Gold with native variety Oküzgözü 2015, from Doluca, who have recently secured a key UK importer.
- Judges were blown away by the quality and character of Saperavi entries from Georgia, the mountainous Caucasian country now emerging onto the global wine scene after decades of dependence on the Russian market. Four Golds were awarded to superb examples of this rich but fragrant red grape, from a range of larger and smaller producers including Shabo, JSC Telavi, Georgian Wines and Château Mukhrani.
China triumphs at last
- After receiving three Silver medals in 2015 for its red wines, China secured its first ever Gold medal at the competition. The award went to Helan Mountain Wines for its Helan Mountain Premium Collection Chardonnay 2014 from the Ningxia region. China picked up a further 5 Silver, and 11 Bronze medals across a range of styles including sparkling, still and sweet wines.
Beyond Sake for Japan
- Famed for its Sake, Japan also secured a single Gold medal for its Château Mercian Nagano 2015 – a delicate but intense Unwooded Chardonnay.
South American success
- Uruguay put in another excellent performance after it was awarded a Gold medal for its Garzon Reserve Tannat 2015. This delightful red wine is widely available in the UK and is perfect for wine lovers looking to discover something new.
Sarah Abbott MW, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:
“It is a privilege and adventure for us to lead the IWC community of talented judges in discovering and recognising great wines – from wherever they are. This competition is all about honouring and encouraging wines of character, quality and personality. All wines are tasted blind under the most rigorous conditions, so when a wine from a lesser known or underestimated area does well, we hope that consumers feel confident that it absolutely deserves its prize, and a place in their wine glass, alongside more famous names.
The international composition of the IWC is unique and precious, and reflects the diversity and excitement of the UK wine market. We were pleased to see from the results that the dedication and talent of winemakers from lesser known wine countries as diverse as China, Uruguay, Japan, Georgia, Turkey and Switzerland are adding to the richness and diversity available to UK wine lovers”.