The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2011

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Page 22 of 128

STEVEN SPURRIER'S LETTER FROM LONDON The 8th World Wine Awards T he Gala Dinner to celebrate the 8th Decanter World Wine Awards held at London's Royal Opera House on September 7 saw the announcement of the International Trophies, the crème de la crème from the 12,254 wines entered. Argentina improved its dominant New PHOTO: DECANTER World score of 4 International gongs last year with an amazing 6 awards: Once again Bodegas Etchart gained the Dry Aromatic Under £10 slot with its Privado Torrontes from Salta in the north and again from Salta Terrazas de los Andes Torrontes took the Dry Aromatic over £10. For the reds, Patagonia in the south took the Red Bordeaux Varietal Under £10 with Vinalba's 2009 Cabernet-Merlot from Rio Negro and also the Red Single Varietal Over £10 with Bodegas Dos Andes 2009 Chalten Malbec fromm Neuquén. Not to be left out, Mendoza grabbed the Red Single Varietal Under £10 with Argento's cheerfully fruity 2010 Bonarda and also took the Red Blend Over £10 with Finca Sophenia's Synthesis The Blend from high up in Tugungato. Coming from behind Chile in the South America popularity stakes, Argentina has certainly made its mark. Second in importance in the New World was New Zealand with 3 Trophies, corner- ing as expected the Sauvignon Blancs with Waimea Estates' 2010 from Nelson for Under £10 and Vasavour's Awatere Valley 2010 from Marlborough. Why Sancerre and Pouilly- Fumé, the acknowledged benchmarks for this category a generation ago, cannot match these always surprises me. Another surprise, but less dramatic than Israel's winning the Red Rhône Varietal Over £10 last year, was this going to Te Awanga's 2009 Elephant Hill Syrah from Hawkes Bay, proving that this central part of the North Island can turn its hand to everything. France and Portugal shared Old World honours with 3 Trophies each. France for Chardonnay Under £10 with Cave de Lugny's excellent 2010 Mâcon-Villages, Dopff-au- Moulin's classic 2008 Riesling de Riquewihr Grand Cru Schoenenbourg taking Riesling Over £10 and Charles Heidsieck's seemingly 22 / the tasting panel / october 201 1 ageless Blanc des Millénaires 1995 re-estab- lishing Champagne's prestige in Sparkling Over £10. Portugal held the Sweet Fortified Trophies, but not with Port: the Under £10 going to Bacalhoa's 2004 Moscatel from Setobal and the Over £10 to Henriques & Henriques magnificent 15 Year Old Verdelho Madeira. And to show how strong their tables wines are, Tagus Creek took the Red Blend Under £10 with its Shiraz/Trincadeira blend from the Alentejo. Old World Italy and Spain both gained two Trophies. Italy took White Single Varietal Under £10 with Lunae's delight- ful 2010 Vermentino from Colli di Luni in Liguria and Red Italian Varietal Over £10 with Piccini's superb Villa al Cortile 2006 Brunello di Montalcino. The Red Spanish Varietal Over £10 went classically to Bodegas Roda's 2006 Rioja Reserva and the Dry Fortified Over £10 just as classically to Fernando de Castilla's Antique Amontillado, whose Palo Cortado won it last year and their Amontillado in 2009. Australia proved its worth on both sides of the £10 barrier, with Bird in Hand's Two in the Bush 2009 Shiraz from South Australia taking Red Rhône Varietal Under £10 and Evans & Tate's 2008 Redbrook Chardonnay from Margaret River winning the Chardonnay Over £10 slot. That left four countries with one Tophy apiece: Greece took the White Single Varietal over £10 with a brilliant oak- fermented Assyrtiko 2010 from Argyros Estate on the island of Santorini; Slovenia, against huge competition, won the Sweet Over £10 Trophy with Dveri-Pax's Špon Slamnato Vino 2009; and Germany, competing against a wine from Central Otago, took the Pinot Noir Over £10 with Fritz Wassmer's Spätburgunder XXL Trocken 2009 from Baden. Last, and certainly not least, came China, whose He Lan Qing Xue 2009 Jia Bei Lan blend beat off Regional Trophy competi- tors from 8 different countries to take Red Bordeaux Varietal Over £10. This previously unimaginable result caused quite a stir. Extracted from Decanter magazine's October Awards Special. Decanter

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