IN terms of quality, American wines have come out top in the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s (IWSC) northern hemisphere results, knocking France into second place. Although France was awarded the greater number of medals (833 to the USA’s 164), American wines scored more Golds and Gold Outstandings – the top gongs – comparative to the number of entries. Of all the American wines entered to the competition, 15.2 per cent were awarded a Gold Outstanding or a Gold, while just 3.84 per cent of French wines entered achieved the same accolade. Two of the USA’s 10 Gold Outstandings went to Francis Ford Coppola’s vineyard; its Diamond Collection Claret, 2011, and its Rosso & Bianco Shiraz, 2011 were both awarded the top prize. In all, the film director’s vineyard in Sonoma County in Geyserville, California, was awarded a staggering 26 medals, including two Golds. Aside from the success of Californian wine, a Gewürztraminer from Michigan and a Riesling from Oregon both scooped a Gold award
.IWSC’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Anna Grant, said: “Considering last year America achieved no Gold Outstandings and this year they won 10 shows how great American wine is, and for more than 15 per cent of their entries to score the top two awards is remarkable.”
However it may be some time before the New World steals the winemaking crown. This year, as in other years, Old World countries dominated in the sheer number of medals, with France taking 833 medals, Italy 643, Spain 566 and Portugal 312. America was in fifth place with 164 medals.
UK Supermarket own labels did well with Waitrose winning two Gold Outstandings, (for its Damilano Barolo Cannubi and its Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Champagne) one Gold (Blanc de Noirs Brut NV) and four Silver Outstandings (all for its own-label Champagne).
Sainsbury’s won two Golds one for its Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 12 Year Old Pedro
Ximenez Sherry and its Pouilly Fumé, 2012, from the same range.
From a medal haul of 64, Tesco’s Finest* Barolo 2009 scooped a Gold and a Blanquette de Limoux 2010 and Chablis 1er Cru 2009 were among the supermarket’s Silver Outstandings.
Marks & Spencer’s Oudinot Champagne Brut NV Champagne took Gold while a Hungarian Tokaji scored a Silver Outstanding, with two Lebanese wines winning a Silver and a Bronze.
Japan increased its medal haul from 30 to 48, a Saperavi from Georgia won a Silver Outstanding while China’s only medal – a Bronze – went to a Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
The IWSC, which is widely considered to be the most prestigious, independent competition of its type in the world, was founded in 1969.
There are two rigorous stages of judging - a professional blind tasting followed by a detailed chemical and microbiological analysis.
More than 300 wine specialists travel from all around the world to judge the wines. The judges are a mixture of Masters of Wine, winemakers, trade specialists, journalists and sommeliers.
This year’s northern hemisphere results were revealed at this year’s London International Wine Fair on May 20.