France’s world-class wines
France was the most awarded country across each of the medal categories, notching up 77 Gold, 419 Silver and 681 Bronze medals. Burgundy produced almost half of the Gold medal-winners, taking home 33 Golds as well as trophies for the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of the competition which both went to Maison Albert Bichot for its Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru Domaine du Pavillon 2019 and Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Cuvée Cyrot Chaudron Hospices de Beaune 2019. Of the 282 medal-winning wines from Champagne, the 2008 Vintage Champagne from Piper-Heidsieck received the coveted Champagne Trophy for 2021.
‘There is a reason why Burgundy and Champagne are internationally renowned as some of the best wine regions in the world: each year we see this quality shine through in the entries.’Shiraz shines for Australia whilst Tasmania reveals its sparkle
After a five-year reign held by Syrah from New Zealand, Australia has won the crown of International Shiraz Trophy this year, for Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz 2019 from Wolf Blass Wines. This year’s result represents the first time in almost a decade that Australia has won this trophy. Australia’s top performing red this year came from Kilikanoon Wines which received the Australian Red Trophy for its GSM, Baudinet 2019.
Whilst only representing 1% of Australia’s vineyard area, Tasmania is becoming internationally renowned as a producer of premium wines and in this year’s competition a Tasmanian sparkling wine, Arras E.J Carr Late Disgorged Vintage 2005 from House of Arras has been awarded the Australian Sparkling Trophy. This latest win reinforces Tasmania’s reputation as one of Australia’s leading producers of sparkling wine, with every Australian Sparkling Trophy awarded by the International Wine Challenge in the last 10 years having been won by a Tasmanian producer.
‘While Syrah and Shiraz share the same DNA, there is a distinction in the styles produced from this noble varietal. It’s great to see Australia, who arguably put Shiraz on the world stage, taking the trophy this year’ explained Sam Caporn MW, Co-Chair.
Indigenous grapes triumph in Spain
Spain is the second most awarded country in this year’s competition, with 956 medals in total and the third largest haul of Gold medals after France and Australia. An exciting win came for Bodegas Baigorri which was awarded the Maturana Trophy for its Baigorri Maturana 2018. This is the first time in the history of the International Wine Challenge that a Maturana Trophy has been awarded, celebrating the quality of a lesser-known variety indigenous to Rioja. There were big wins across Spain’s winemaking regions with Montecastro Reserva 2016, a Tempranillo from Bodegas Montecastro in Castilla Y Leon receiving the Spanish Red Trophy and Granbazán Etiqueta Ámbar 2019, an Albariño from Galicia’s Agro de Bazán receiving the Spanish White Trophy. Acclaimed Sherry producer, Emilio Lustau, scooped the Sherry Trophy for Lustau Palo Cortado V.O.R.S 30 Years and the Pedro Ximenez Trophy for Pedro Ximenez San Emilio.
‘Spain has an incredibly diverse viticultural landscape, reflected in the variety of winning styles in this year’s competition. It also benefits from a wealth of indigenous varietals and it’s encouraging to see the single variety Maturana emerge triumphant this year.’
Europe’s rising stars
Austria has beaten 15 other countries, including Sauvignon Blanc producing heavyweights, New Zealand and France, to the title of International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy for its Sauvignon Blanc Kitzeck-Sausal Südsteiermark 2019 from Südsteiermark producer, Weingut Schneeberger. Austria was one of the top ten best performing countries in this year’s competition, achieving 79 medals overall including 11 Gold medals.
Other notable achievements came from Switzerland, with Les Celliers de Vétroz being awarded the Swiss White Trophy for Petite Arvine 2019 and Greece, which saw Domaine Sigalas awarded the Greek White Trophy for Sigalas Santorini Barrel 2020, made from the increasingly popular variety, Assyrtiko.
‘The results this year really highlight the breadth of quality wines being produced across the world, with medal-winners from established regions as well as lesser-known wine producing countries such as Georgia, Turkey, Moldova and North Macedonia. An International Wine Challenge medal sticker helps consumers navigate this ever-changing vinous landscape and give them confidence to make great wine choices, even if, from a wine perspective, the country is totally new to them.’The full list of award-winners in the 2021 International Wine Challenge released on 17th May can be seen here. The IWC 2021 Champions, which are selected following a re-tasting of all trophy-winning wines by the IWC Co-Chairs, will be revealed at the IWC 2021 Awards announcement on Wednesday 30th June.
Find out more here