It’s the scale of the Decanter World Wine Awards that makes any wine that stands out from the close to 17,000 that are entered really worth taking notice of. Now into its 16th year, the awards attracted entries from 57 countries demonstrating not only its significance in the world of wine, but just how far and wide quality wine is now being produced globally. France was again the star performer in terms of Best in Show medals, closely followed by Spain and Australia. Here are the highlights of this year’s awards with links to the full medal winners.
It took 280 judges over two weeks to swirl, taste and spit their way through the wines in the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. A line up that included 70 Masters of Wine, 23 Master Sommeliers and judges flying in from 30 countries to take part.
We will all soon be settling down to watch Wimbledon and two week’s of the world’s best tennis players trying to outwit each other. But before the likes of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic get anywhere near Centre or Number One court there would have been weeks of preliminary events featuring 100s of professional players whose ranking is closer to 200, 300 or 400 in the world, who are all trying just to get the chance to compete at Wimbledon itself.
The world of wine is no less competitive and the route to the very top just as hard to reach. For example, only 0.3%, or 50, of the close to 17,000 wines that were entered in this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards were awarded with the much coveted ‘Best in Show’ accolade. A further 148 wines were awarded with a Platinum medal and 480 with Gold.
Perhaps the biggest reflection of how far the overall standards of international winemaking have come in recent years is the fact 74% of wines entered were awarded with a medal of some kind, compared to 66% in 2018. As well as the 480 Golds there were 4,164 Silver and 7,376 Bronze medals awarded.
Here are the key highlights from the 2019 awards:
- France was the stand out performer, accounting for 13 of the Best in Show medals, with strong performances across its main wine regions, but most notably Burgundy, Champagne, the Rhône and Provence.
- Burgundy was awarded with four Best in Show awards for: Château de Meursault, Les Charmes Dessus, 2017; Château de Meursault, Clos des Epenots, 2017; Christian Moreau Pére et Fils, Le Clos 2017; and Domaine de la Vougeraie 2016.
Jeannie Cho-Lee MW, Regional Chair for Burgundy said: “This year has been a real turnaround for the region. The whites are sensational, delicious and lively and we’re seeing surprising wines from the villages that are being awarded golds, usually you would expect that from the bigger regions.”
- Spain came second in the Best in Show medals tally with eight wines, with two Sherry winners, and also wines from Rioja, Priorat, Rias Baixas and Castilla y Leon.
Sarah Jane Evans MW, Co-Chair and Spanish wine and Sherry expert, said: “I am very excited by the quality of wines that have been entered by Spanish wineries this year. Sherry and Cava continue to impress, helping to continue driving the trend for these styles forward.”
- Australia continues to shine and picked up six Best in Show medals, with wines made form Shiraz the stand out category featuring Brokenwood, Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz. Hunter Valley, New South Wales , Australia 2017; Woodlands, ‘Margaret’, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia 2016; and Eileen Hardy, Chardonnay, Cross-Regional Blend, Australia 2016.
- English wines cemented their place on the world map, picking up three Best in Show awards. These included: Chapel Down for its Kit’s Coty Chardonnay 2016 and Kit’s Coty Coeur De Cuvée 2014 and Wiston Estate for its Blanc de Blancs Brut 2011.
“These results once again highlight the country’s increasing influence on the global wine industry. It has been great to see so many producers from a variety of top-producing wine regions score so highly in this year’s competition,” said Alex Layton, Decanter’s head of marketing.
Highlights from other countries included:
- Italy’s Cenatiempo Kalimera, a single varietal made using the indigenous Biancolella grape from the island of Ischia was awarded Best in Show for its 2017 vintage
- China picked up seven Gold medals including the Puchang Vineyard, Rkatsiteli, 2017 that is a blend of 30% Riesling and 70% of the Georgian grape variety, Rkatsiteli.
- Mexico enjoyed its most successful year in the awards, and increased its medal tally by 46% on 2018, including two Gold medals.
Poh Tiong Ch’ng, the Regional Chair for Asia, said: “This year the competition has seen a wealth of quality Chinese wines entered from across the country and in a variety of styles; white, rosé, sweet and red wines. After carving itself a place on the wine map a few years ago, Ningxia in north-central China continues to produce exciting and quality wines and truly excelled in this year’s competition. The region won six out of the country’s seven Gold medals and 60 medals in total.”
Michael Hill Smith MW, co-chair of the awards, said of the this year’s competition: “2019 has yet again seen some exciting wines with revelations coming out of Greece, Madeira and China. The Decanter World Wine Awards really helps producers to raise their profile internationally and for consumers faced with the prospect of such choice; choosing a bottle with a DWWA sticker on it, particularly a Gold or Platinum should reassure them that the wine has been through a rigorous judging process, against much competition and you can trust the quality. With more education on wine so widely available nowadays, and plenty more opportunities to travel, now really is the time to have an interest in wine.”
- Search all Best in Show medals
- Search all Platinum medals
- Search all Gold medals
- Search all Silver medals
- Search all Bronze medals
- In 2018 a new system to award top medalists was introduced – Platinum and Best in Show. Gold medal-winning wines are re-categorised by grape or style and re-tasted by a panel of Regional and Co-Chairs. The wines are judged according to their origin and the judges are aware of countries, regions, sub-regions, grapes, vintages and price bands. The winners are awarded Platinum medals. Those with a price band below £15 are awarded a Best Value Platinum medal. In a separate tasting, the 3 Co-Chairs of the judging panel select the Best in Show from the Platinum winners, and are aware of origins, grape varieties, vintage and price bands. Full details on the judging process can be found on decanter.com.
- You can taste the DWWA winners at Decanter’s upcoming events including Sparkling Exploration on June 20 at Church House in London and Decanter Fine Wine Encounter and Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter both in November.