International Wine Challenge

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The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 35th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 different judges and awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards

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Elly Barham-Marsh Helen Kenny
Manifest London
t. +44 (0)203 1379 270

International Wine Challenge

Portugal in top three Gold medal winning countries at International Wine Challenge 2017

Under embargo until 11am 17.05.17

Portugal had an outstanding year at the 2017 International Wine Challenge (IWC), picking up a whopping 553 medals. With a mighty haul of 76 Gold medals, the country finished in the top three of the Gold medal chart, being beaten only by France and Australia. In addition to its haul of Golds, the nation’s winemakers also received 206 Silver and 271 Bronze medals.

  • Portuguese winemakers were most successful with the country’s signature fortified styles, with 45 of the Gold medals being awarded to ports and Madeiras. However, Portuguese unfortified wines also performed very well, securing 31 more Gold medals, including a first ever Gold for a Portuguese sparkling wine at the IWC.
  • 37 of the Gold medals were awarded to ports. Ports took the lion’s share of the Gold medals with 37, one of which went to a white port from Sogevinus Fine Wines. This winemaking titan, which owns the Cálem, Kopke, Barros and Burmester brands, received a total of eight Gold medals for its ports, making it the most successful Portuguese producer at the competition. Kopke has been making port for over 100 years, and also produced the oldest Gold medal winner of the competition, for its Kopke Colheita 1937.
  • Symington Family Estates had an impressive year, receiving three Gold medals for ports created for UK supermarket own-brand ranges. Tesco Finest* 10 Year Old Tawny Port NV and the Tesco Finest* Vintage Port 1997 both won Golds, as did Morrisons The Best 10 Year Old Tawny Port.
  • Manoel D. Poças Júnior Vinhos impressed with its wood-aged ports, winning Golds for Poças 30 Years Old Tawny , Poças 40 Years Old Tawny and Poças Colheita 1995.
  • Further success for fortified wines came from Madeira, with a trio of the region’s producers securing a total of seven Gold medals at the competition. Justino’s was the most successful madeira producer this year, receiving three Golds for its Justino’s Madeira Malvasia Colheita 1997, its Justino’s Madeira Verdelho Colheita 1997 and its Justino’s Madeira Terrantez 50 Anos.
  • Henriques & Henriques also had an excellent year, with two Gold medals being awarded to its Malvasia 10 Year Old and its 5 Year Old Finest Medium Rich Madeira. Pereira D’Oliveira saw equal success, with a pair of Gold medals for its Terrantez 1988 and its Verdelho 1981.
  • A fortified Muscat from the Península De Setúbal also featured among Portugal’s Gold medals. Casa Ermelinda Freitas won Gold for its Moscatel de Setúbal Superior 2007. The Freitas family has been making wine in the region since 1920, and this Gold medal should focus attention on this lesser-known Portuguese wine style.
  • Portugal’s unfortified wine producers had a stellar year at the competition, and doubled the number of Gold medals they won in 2016 – 30, against 15 last year. 22 of those Gold medals were awarded to red wines, with eight Golds going to whites.
  • The 22 Gold medal-winning red wines came from 15 different producers, located in the Alentejo, Dão, Douro, Lisboa and Tejo.
  • Esporão was the only Portuguese winemaker to win Gold medals for both a red and a white wine, In addition to its Gold for its Esporão Reserva Tinto 2014, the Alentejo producer also received a Gold for its Esporão Reserva Branco 2015. A further seven Gold medals were awarded to Portuguese white wines.
  • In a competition first, a Portuguese sparkling wine also received a Gold medal. Bairrada producer Quinta dos Abibes won Gold for its sparkling Quinta dos Abibes Sublime Brut Nature 2010. A relative newcomer, this company produced its first harvest in 2007, but its success at the International Wine Challenge shows it has a bright future.

Charles Metcalf MW, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:

“This has been the best ever year for Portuguese wine companies at the IWC. We had a wonderful line-up of medals for the great fortified producers – magnificent medal-winning Ports and Madeiras, and a solo Gold for a Moscatel de Setúbal. And this year the huge improvements in Portugal’s unfortified wines have borne fruit, with a dazzling array of medals, including the first-ever Gold for a Portuguese sparkling wine. I’m sure that Portugal’s wines will go from strength to strength, and that we shall see continuingly brilliant results at the IWC in years to come. ”

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