IWSC 2023 wine highlights:
- Top-scoring gold medals for 40-year-old Tawny Port, 2008 Blanc de Blancs Champagne and a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough
- Australia was the only country (outside of Portugal and Spain) to receive a gold medal for a fortified wine
- Icewines took home the most gold medals for Canada
- Two sparkling wines from Hampshire, England were awarded gold medals
- Gold medal for still rosé from Provence, France
- Gold medal for orange wine from Sardinia, Italy
- France won the sparkling race this year with nine gold medals
Following the completion of another fantastic year of wine judging, the IWSC is delighted to reveal its medal highlights. We had over 100 international judges join us for our biggest Wine Awards to date, consisting of 30% Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, 76% buyers for all sectors of the trade. Our panels of expert judges were overseen by our six Wine Judging Committee members, Essi Avellan MW, Sarah Abbott MW, Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, Alistair Cooper MW, Mick O’Connell MW and Alex Hunt MW.
It was the Fortified wine category that this year took home the most gold medals, with the majority awarded to Portugal and Spain, namely Sogevinus Fine Wines, Cálem 40-Year-Old Tawny NV that scored our highest score of 97 points. The only gold medal scored outside Portugal and Spain for fortified wines went to Australia, Casella Family Brands, Cellar Reserve Grand Topaque NV, scoring an impressive 95 points.
Sparkling wine was not far behind with its gold medal count. For the second year in a row we had Champagne and Sparkling expert Essi Avellan MW
heading up our Sparkling Wine Awards.
It was France that won the sparkling race this year, with nine gold medals awarded. The majority of golds were awarded to the veteran of sparkling wines, Champagne, with our judges praising the 2008 vintage for its “rich and complex flavours demonstrating beautiful ageing”. Champagne de Saint Gall, Orpale Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008 was awarded the highest score of 97 points. But it wasn’t only Champagne that made up France’s sparkling gold medals, Bouvet Ladubay SA, Trésor Brut 2019 from Loire, caught our judges’ attention and was awarded a gold with 95 points.
Italy came in second with its gold medal haul, three golds were awarded to Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG. Sarah Abbott MW
oversaw our Prosecco Awards and commented that, “Our judges were particularly impressed by the drier styles of Prosecco from Rive, winning two golds. The Proseccos in the Cartizze category also stood out to our judges, for their elegance and beautiful balance” with a gold medal awarded.
Hampshire was the region that brought home the gold medals for English sparkling wine this year, with two awarded to RAIMES English Sparkling, Classic Brut 2018 and Hattingley Valley Wines, Classic Reserve Brut NV.
New Zealand had a successful year with medals awarded to over 200 wines, including seven gold medals. Yealands Wine Group, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2022 was the highest scoring still dry wine in this year’s awards, receiving 97 points. Our judges were impressed by the wine’s “intensity and zingy acidity”, noting that this wine was “the benchmark, with impressive length and purity on the finish”.
Australia had an impressive medal haul, with over 350 medals awarded. Six wines were awarded gold medals (including the aforementioned fortified wine gaining 95 points). Alex Hunt MW
oversaw the Australian wine judging and noted that our judges were impressed by the offering from the Shiraz grape, “showing real elegance and balance”. Judges awarded two golds to Gemtree Wines, Ernest Allan Shiraz 2021
and Penny's Hill Estate Pty Ltd, Skeleton Key Shiraz 2021.
Another two gold medals were awarded to two Chardonnays that our judges thought “demonstrated power and complexity”, Pernod Ricard Winemakers Chardonnay 2021
and Treasury Wine Estates, Grey Label Chardonnay 2019.
The final gold awarded to Australia went to a standout Riesling from 2017, with its “fresh and floral characters” showing the grape’s “capacity to age” - Treasury Wine Estates, Leonay Mature Release Riesling 2017
Canada put forward an impressive number of entries this year, Alistair Cooper MW
oversaw the judging of Canadian wines and commented that it was “heartening to see that through the last four or five years there has been consistent improvement in the wines from Canada”. The country was awarded five gold medals, with three going to the national treasure, Icewine. The highest scoring Icewine, with 96 points was Arterra Icewine Vidal 2019
. Two golds were awarded to dry wines from Canada, both wines receiving 95 points, Nk'Mip Cellars, Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay 2021
and Andrew Peller Estates, Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc 2020.
Italy topped the table for countries’ medal counts, with just shy of 700 medals awarded. Tuscany led the gold medal table for the country, with four golds awarded and three to standout Vin Santos from producer, Fattoria La Vialla
. The highest-scoring gold for the country came from Sardinia, Silvio Carta SRL, Per Te Riserva 2002
, receiving 96 points. It was the only orange wine to receive a gold this year, our judges commented on the wine’s “wonderful flor aromas giving a great salty, savoury undertow, and caramelised apple finish”. Barolo received a number of medals with head judge, Mick O’Connell MW
, exclaiming that the flights of Barolo were “absolutely spectacular”. The standout Barolo was G.D.Vajra, Coste di Rose 2019
receiving the a gold medal and 95 points.
France had another impressive year, with over 550 wines receiving a medal. Burgundy performed well this year, with two golds awarded to, La Chablisienne, Château Grenouilles 2019
and VIVANT Inc, Clos Marey-Monge Monopole 2020
. The only still rosé to receive a gold medal this year came from Provence, Les Chais du Sud, Cicada La Légende 2022
. Our judges praised the rose’s “perfumed alpine strawberry finish, impressive minerality and great typicity.” Alistair Cooper MW
oversaw the judging of French wines, and although Cooper commented that the “2021 was a particularly difficult vintage in France”, it didn’t hold our judges back from awarding a gold to a 2021 vintage from Jurançon, Castel Frères, Terra Vitis Petit Manseng 2021.
Portugal brought home just shy of 200 medals for the country, with the majority of the gold medals awarded to Port and Madeira entries (including the aforementioned highest-scoring Port entry from Sogevinus Fine Wines
, scoring 97 points). Seven gold medals were awarded to Port and six to Madeira, with Pereira D'Oliveira (Vinhos), Lda.
collecting an impressive four of the six Madeira golds. Dirceu Vianna Junior MW
oversaw our judging of Portuguese wines, praising the Dão flights for their “great consistency and regional typicity”. Only two golds were awarded to still dry wines from Portugal, O Abrigo Da Passarela LDA, Abanico Reserva 2021,
receiving 96 points and Aveleda, Vale D. Maria Vinhas Do Sabor 2020,
from Douro with 95 points.
Spain did not disappoint this year, with over 450 wines receiving a medal. Eight gold medals were awarded to the country, with six of them received in the Sherry category. Bodegas Fundador was awarded three of the six gold medals in Sherry. The flights of Pedro Ximénez in particular gained three gold medals for their impressive concentration, complexity and depth but also retaining their acidity. Two gold medals were awarded to red dry wines from Spain, Gonzalez Byass S.A, Gran Reserva 2015, from Rioja gaining 95 points from our judges and Pago Heredad de Urueña S.L, Santo Syrah 2016 from Castilla y Leon awarded 96 points.
Following the success from last year’s awards, China has once again received a respectable number of medals from our judges. 179 medals were awarded to the country. The highest-scoring wine was, Copower Jade Winery, Reserve Chardonnay 2019
, scoring 94 points. Sarah Abbott MW
, who oversaw our China wine judging, praised the country’s wines for their “very high quality overall”.
Japan took home an impressive 56 medals this year, in particular, one Japanese Bordeaux blend delighting our judges, Château Mercian, Mariko Omnis 2018. The wine received a gold medal, 95 points. Our judges were impressed by the wine’s “purity of fruit with sweet and savoury spice, integrated tannins and long velvety finish”.
See the full list of the IWSC's 2023 Wine Results here
The Wine Judging Committee will now be re-tasting each gold-winning wine to select the best bottles across a range of categories. The trophy winners will be revealed in August.
Stay tuned for more wine results in the coming months from our awards that are taking place in Argentina, Austria, South Africa, Turkey and Margaret River in Australia.