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

Aisle of Glory: Supermarket wines shine bright at the International Wine Challenge 2017, with 26 Gold medal wins

  • UK supermarket own-label wines win big at IWC 2017, with 350 medals being awarded including 26 Gold, 120 Silver and 204 Bronze medals
  • Marks & Spencer tops medal chart with 146 medals awarded
  • Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, and Waitrose all secure Gold medals for their own-brand wines

Supermarket own-brand wines continue to impress at this year’s International Wine Challenge, which announces its 2017 results today. The world-renowned wine competition awarded medals to 293 supermarket own-brand wines, including 26 Gold, 120 Silver and 204 Bronze medals

Own-brand wines created for Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, and Waitrose all received Gold medals, but it was Marks & Spencer which led the charge, with 12 Golds being awarded to its wines.

Marks & Spencer won Gold medals across a range of styles, but the premium retailer had most success with its fortified entries, with five Gold medals being awarded to its madeira, port, marsala and sherry. Iconic sherry maker and competition veteran Emilio Lustau produced two Gold medal winners for the supermarket, the Marks and Spencer Very Rare Oloroso NV and the Marks & Spencer Very Rare Dry Old Amontillado NV, both available for just eight pounds. The Marks & Spencer 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, produced by QVBV also struck Gold, as did the 5-Year-Old Finest Medium Rich Madeira NV, created by Henrique and Henriques. Finally, the Marks & Spencer Marsala Superiore Riserva Dolce 5-Year-Old also won a Gold.

In the white wine category, Marks & Spencer also impressed with a further four Gold medals. Two Rieslings struck Gold, namely the Clare Valley Riesling 2016 (£13) and the Marks & Spencer Stepp Riesling *S* Kallstadter Saumagen 2015, available for just £15. The Ascheri name brand Ascheri Langhe Arneis, 2016 (£13.50) that is stocked at Marks & Spencers was also awarded a Gold medal. A final Gold was awarded to Marks & Spencer Hermits Hill Botrytis Semillon 2013 (£9), a botrytis white wine produced in New South Wales, Australia. In addition to its eight Gold medals, Marks & Spencer secured a further 36 silver medals.

In the red wine category, Marks & Spencer received a further three Gold medals. Its Meyer Pinot Noir 2015 (£20), produced in Canada was awarded a Gold, as was the Rod McDonald Wines Quarter Acre Syrah 2015 (£19) from New Zealand. The final Gold medal winning red was the Marquès del Romeral Reserva Rioja 2011 from Spain (£13.50).

Last year’s IWC Supermarket of the Year, Morrisons received an impressive 61 medals for its own-label range, including five Gold medals, 17 Silvers and 39 Bronze medals. White wine fans will be clamouring for a taste of Gold medal winner, Morrisons The Best Chablis 1er Cru 2014 (£15), and filling their trolley with Morrisons The Best Rioja Reserva Blanco 2011 (£8.99). A further three Golds were awarded to its own-brand fortified wines including Morrisons The Best 10-Year-Old Tawny Port (£12), Morrisons The Best Palo Cortado (£6) and Morrisons The Best Oloroso NV (£6).

Tesco wines performed well picking up a grand total of four Gold, 12 Silver and 20 Bronze medals. Two of the four Gold medals were awarded to its outstanding fortified wines, namely the Tesco finest* 10-Year-Old Tawny Port (£12) and Tesco finest* Vintage Port 1997 (£18). Both were produced for the supermarket by Symington Family Estates. Two red wines from its own-brand range also secured Gold. Fans of bold, fruity reds should snap up Tesco finest* Viña del Cura Rioja Reserva 2012 (£8), while those who prefer their red wine a little lighter should try the Gold medal winning Tesco finest* Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015, available for £12.50.

No stranger to success at the IWC, Waitrose received four Gold medals, 14 Silver, and 16 Bronze medals. Two Gold medals were awarded for its own-brand champagne; first for its vintage Waitrose Brut Special Réserve Vintage 2005 (£24.99) and the second for its Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut (£21.99). A further two Gold medals were awarded to its sherries, the Waitrose Fino (£6.99) and Waitrose Manzanilla (£6.99).

Asda was awarded a total of 37 medals, more than double its 2016 medal count. The supermarket secured a Gold medal for its Italian Wine Atlas Negroamaro 2016, available for just £5.48. Other wins including 12 Silver medals and 24 Bronze medals. Those in search of bargain bubbles are sure to be reaching for its Silver medal-winning Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Vintage Champagne Brut 2007 (£22) and Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Brut NV (£19).

The Co-operative took home 14 medals including six Silver and eight Bronze medals. Four red wine entries received Silver medals including The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Mt Benson Shiraz 2016 (£6.99) and The Co-operative Fairtrade Merlot 2016 (£5.99). The two Silver medal winning white wines were The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Chablis 2015 and The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Viognier St Gabriel 2016.

Aldi secured five Silver and 13 Bronze medals for its own-brand wines. Anyone looking for a great value alternative to Champagne or Prosecco should pick up a bottle of The Exquisite Collection Phillippe Michel Crémant Du Jura 2014 (£7.99). This sparkling silver medal winner impressed the judging panel, with a complexity which belies its modest price tag.

Sainsbury’s took home one Silver medal and three Bronze medals. The Silver was awarded to its Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Languedoc White 2016 (£6.25).

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

“The quality of supermarket own-brand wines continues to soar, and today’s results prove that you can get fantastic wines at outstanding prices in the supermarket aisles. Whatever your wine of choice, UK supermarkets cater for all – with award winning still, sparkling and fortified wines UK shoppers really are spoiled for choice.”

“The purpose of the International Wine Challenge and its panel of judges is to recognise and reward quality wines from across the world, and to help consumers try new and different wines. Customers can shop with confidence knowing that they don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to get a great bottle of wine”.

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