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
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International Wine Challenge

Southern success at IWC 2018: All eyes on what the wines of South America will do next

Under embargo until 11am 10/05/2018

South America has won 562 medals at the International Wine Challenge 2018 including a total of 25 Gold medals for its biggest players Argentina and Chile, 226 Silvers and 311 Bronze medals were also awarded.

Highlights for South America include:

The continued reign of Malbec in Argentina
In-keeping with its reputation for remarkable reds, South America took home 19 Golds, primarily for Argentinean Malbec which was awarded 13 overall.

Malbec, a grape originally produced in France, is now Argentina’s signature variety and undoubtedly its global home – with the largest acreage of Malbec vines in the world. At IWC 2018, nine of the eleven Argentinean Gold medals for red wines went to Malbec’s.

The most successful Malbec producer at this year’s event was Bodega Norton, a winery first established in 1895 by the English engineer Sir Edmund James Palmer Norton – now with five vineyards in the acclaimed Mendoza region, at the foothills of the Andes. In fact, over half of the Golds achieved by Argentinean wines came from the Mendoza. Bodega Norton won stand-out Golds for its Bodega Norton, Lote Negro 2015 and Bodega Norton, Norton Privada Family Blend 2015, both achieving the highest overall scores of 96.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Argentina received two Gold medals for its Cabernet Sauvignon, namely Bodega Sottano, Sottano Selección del Enologo Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Bodegas Fabre, Phebus Patagonia Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

Torrontés delivers two Gold winning Argentinean whites
Last year, it was only red wines from Argentina which won Gold medals at IWC but this year two white wines were added to its list of Gold medal winners. The Torrontés grape was awarded two Golds at IWC 2018: El Esteco, Old Vines 1945 Torrontes 2017 and Piattelli, Premium Torrontés 2017.

Argentina’s most successful producer was Bodegas Fabre which improved on its performance a year ago by winning four Gold medals (three were awarded in 2017). The Argentinean producer secured Gold for its Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec 2015; Vinalba Reserve Malbec Touriga Nacional 2017; Phebus Patagonia Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon 2016; and Vinalba Patagonia Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon (Finca la 70) 2017.

A Gold run for Chile – including a sweet wine
Overall Chile was awarded 12 Golds (eight reds and four whites) across a variety of styles including for a sweet Riesling, the Viña Casas Del Bosque, Late Harvest Riesling 2015.

Old World Grapes adopted by Chile
The Carménère grape originates from Bordeaux but it has become the unofficial national grape of Chile. Two Chilean producers secured Gold here: Lafken Wines, Lafken Carménère 2015 and Viñedos Puertas, El Milagro Reserva Carmenere 2015. Both scored an impressive 95 points.

Garnacha (aka Grenache) is another Old-World grape that Chile has made its own. This year, as part of a blend, it achieved a Gold for Viña Undurraga, T.H. Rarities Garnacha/Cariñena/Monastrell 2014.

Chile’s Viña Cono Sur was the country’s most successful producer, winning two Gold medals, one for red and one for white. Its 20 Barrels Pinot Noir 2015 and 20 Barrels Chardonnay 2017 both achieved 95 points.

Silvers for Brazil, Uruguay and Peru
Beyond Argentina and Chile, the two big players of the South American market, Brazil, Uruguay and Peru showed emerging strength and form.

Brazil enjoyed predominant Silver medal success scoring five Silvers, most notably for two sparkling whites: Vinícola Peterlongo, Vinho Branco Espumante Privilege Extra Brut and Miolo Wine Group, Miolo Cuvee Tradition Brut.

Uruguay was awarded a Silver for a red, Bodega Garzon, Garzon Reserva Tannat 2016.

Peru achieved a Silver also for a red: Viña Tacama, Tacama Selección Especial Alicante Bouschet 2017.

Colombia has again received a Commended award, this time for the Viña Sicilia, Bianco 2016

Central America: Mexican Medals
Meanwhile, a number of socio-economic factors are helping to drive and build confidence in the developing Mexican market. At IWC 2018 Mexico scored four Bronze medals for two Chardonnay, a Viognier and a Syrah/Merlot blend.

These reflect Mexico’s status as an up-and-coming market to watch.

Oz Clarke, Co-Chair of the IWC commented:

“There’s no doubt that Argentina and Chile are deserving of their solid reputation in the industry and it’s wonderful to see those Malbec’s evolve and deliver onto a world stage. But we’re also seeing more unusual wines from some of the well-known producer regions and a growing number of small-batch labels elsewhere. What is really encouraging are the stirrings of an exciting movement in Brazil, Uruguay and Peru. And of course, we’re thrilled to recognise the hard work from up-and-coming producers in Mexico and Colombia. Year on year Latin America only gets more exciting. Already we’re looking forward to what IWC 2019 might bring.”

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