IWSC 2024 Wine Judging. Rosé and Fortified wines: judges' deliberations

Wine news

Tue 30 Apr 2024

By Mila Gorchakova

The IWSC's 2024 Wine Judging has kicked off with a day of tasting rosé and fortified wines from across the world. The judging panels were overseen by the IWSC Judging Committee member, Dirceu Vianna Junior MW.

“It was a great first day of judging. We had an incredibly strong panel today. In fact, the very first wine our judges tasted was awarded a gold medal – this shows how confident and professional our judges are, and that no wines get overlooked, no matter how they are positioned in the flights. The overall standard of wines was also very high,” shared Junior.


Our judges were excited to taste a variety of wines from well-established, as well as emerging rosé regions.

Provence rosés were the stars of the show with over 40 medals awarded in total, including over 20 bronzes, over a dozen silvers and 3 golds.

“We were delighted with the level of consistency and quality that showed fantastic typicity from the region and underlined the incredble rise in quality over the years - it was an exciting selection of wines which reminded us that Provence has so much to offer and a fantastic future in the UK,” shared the judges.

Other French rosés also performed well, particularly the ones made from Pinot Noir, with many strong silver and bronze medals awarded. “We found those wines with defined, pronounced red fruit gave the most enjoyable aperitif experience,” our judges shared.

Amongst standout Italian rosé wines, the judges highlighted the Pinot Grigio rosé flight, as well as the flight of Veneto rosé. “Italian rosés showed good overall quality, with a few strong silvers, but many good bronzes,” said the judges.

The judges tasted diverse styles of Spanish rosé wines. A standout wine was a rosé from Rioja which, untypically for rosé, spent over a decade in the bottle. The wine earned a stellar 96 points. The judges were unanimous in awarding it a gold and spoke highly of its “complex oxidative style with long length and a clear point of view; still lots of acids and complexity at the palate”.

“This shows the malleability, the versatility and the potential of rosé wines. We were very excited to taste an aged rosé today,” shared Junior.

The judges appreciated tasting some delightful English rosé wines, as well as a variety of good quality rosé from Greece. It is great to see the growing quality of rosé from emerging wine regions, noted the judges.

The New World rosé from South America, New Zealand and Australia showed consistent quality securing many strong silver and bronze medals.

Fortified wines

Fortified wines put on a stellar performance at the IWSC judging year-on-year, and 2024 is no exception. Our judges praised high quality across the board.

“Many of the fortified wines we tasted today were just delicious. Some of the Sherries showed amazing intensity, wonderful complexity – they just jumped out of the glass. You taste it - and you know straight away that it's a gold,” shared our Head Judge Dirceu Vianna Junior MW.

This sentiment was echoed by the panel of judges: “An exceptional lineup of fortified wines, and far better than the entire panel would have imagined. It's a pretty hefty lineup, yet the diversity between wine styles was breathtaking and truly surprised us all across every category. We tasted more standout golds than ever before, and we're uniquely surprised by the lightness of some of the wines,” shared the judges.

The judges started with a flight of Fino Sherry, with one exceptional entry earning an impressive score of 96 points, the judges describing it as “brilliant flor presenting on the nose, a real mixing pot of aromas and crisp apple and warming nuttiness.”

This was followed by a strong flight of Manzanilla, and an exceptional flight of Madeira. “The Madeiras were some of the best we had all tasted, real shining examples of a modern-day underrepresented region,” noted the judges.

One of the vintage Madeiras particularly impressed our judges earning a gold medal: “a subtle powerhouse on the nose, all dark berries and subtle smokiness, whilst the palate presented fresh acidity dark berries, plums and smokiness.”

The judges tasted a variety of styles of Port admiring the high quality of this year’s entries. “The White Ports really illustrated the diversity of this style with very fresh and fruit-forward options that excelled, versus brilliant aged and tertiary styles that also scored highly. The 20-year Ports also scored incredibly favourably this year, showing great typicity and overall quality across the flight.”

The 30/40/50 year-old Ports also scooped medals impressing the judges with their weight and complexity.

Overall, a great first day of judging with hardly any wines left without a medal – showing the brilliant quality of this year’s rosé and fortified wine entries.