The International Wine Challenge, the world’s most influential, impartial and rigorously judged wine competition, also released details of the 40 highest scoring wines in its 2022 competition.
Following a series of rigorous blind tastings, winners from 16 countries were named the best wines in the world, as judged by a panel of global wine experts. Of these 40 exceptional wines, five were awarded the ultimate accolade last night – of Champion Wine, a title reserved for wines that are deemed the absolute best-in-class in the categories of red, white, sparkling, sweet and fortified.
France, the country achieving the most medals overall in the competition, backed that up with two coveted Champion trophies. Northern Rhône producer Maison Delas Frères beat wines from more than 50 countries to secure the Champion Red Trophy for its Les Bessards 2019, which was also awarded the International Syrah Trophy.
The Champion Sparkling Trophy went to Rare Champagne (above) for its Rare Millésime 2008, while Charles Heidsieck’s chef de cave, Cyril Brun (below), was named IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year again, having won this title in 2019.
French winemakers were also recognised for their expertise in still wine production. Vincent Bartement from La Chablisienne was named IWC White Winemaker of the Year and Christophe Briotet (below) from Edouard Delaunay won IWC Red Winemaker of the Year (after winning the title for white wines last year).
Spain enhanced its credentials as a producer of world-class fortified wines with Bodegas Tradición winning the Champion Fortified Trophy with its Oloroso Tradición VORS, which judges described as having “an almost eternal finish”. Spain also took home the Vermouth Trophy for the Cabecita Loca Vermouth as well as a further three trophies, making it one of the best performing countries in this year’s challenge. Galician producer Bodegas Altos de Torona was awarded the Spanish White Trophy for its Albariño 2021, the Spanish Red Trophy went to Legaris for its Alcubilla De Avellaneda 2018 and Bodegas Villa Conchi took home the Cava Trophy for its Extra Brut Imperial Reserva 2018.
For the second year in a row, Tuscany producer Tenuta Di Capezzana (above) was awarded the Champion Sweet Wine Trophy for its Vinsanto di Carmignano Capezzana Riserva 2014. Meanwhile, Sardinian producer Antonella Corda impressed judges with the “lovely savoury edge” of its Cannonau Di Sardegna 2020, earning it the Italian Red Trophy this year. Further north in the Veneto, Col Vetoraz Spumanti was awarded the Prosecco Trophy for its Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartizze 2021.
For only the second time, the Champion White Trophy went to a New Zealand producer, Trinity Hill Wines, for its Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2020 (above). The judges were impressed by its “expressive yet nuanced nose” while its environmental credentials were recognised with the IWC Sustainable Trophy.
New Zealand was one of the top-performing countries in this year’s challenge, with a total of five wines in the top 40. Giesen Group had two wines in the top 40 with its Single Vineyard Clayvin Syrah 2019 receiving the IWC Organic Trophy and The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2017 claiming the New Zealand Sweet Trophy. Fellow Marlborough producer Yealands Estate Wines secured the International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy with its Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc 2021.
Australia, which came second for gold medals in this year’s competition, has an impressive four wines in the top 40 list. For the first time ever, an Australian producer, Pinnacle Drinks, won the International Grenache Trophy for its The Ethereal One Fleurieu Grenache 2020 (above), which the judges described as “soft and juicy yet elegant”.
Tasmania cemented its reputation as one of the county’s leading wine producing regions with House of Arras winning the Australian Sparkling Trophy for its EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2006 and the Australian White Trophy going to Tolpuddle Vineyard for its Chardonnay 2020.
South Africa reclaimed the IWC Fairtrade Award for the first time since 2018 with the Spar Reserve Chenin Blanc Fairtrade 2021 from Breede River Valley producer Uniwines. South African winemakers saw wide success in this year’s awards with the Whitehall Chardonnay 2020 from Neil Ellis Wines winning the South African White Trophy and Bouchard Finlayson scooping the South African Red Trophy for its Tete de Cuvee Pinot Noir 2020.
Some of the smaller wine-producing countries also shone. The Sweet Winemaker of the Year, Hans Tschida from Austria (main photo), has now won this award eight times since 2010.
And one of the most prestigious awards, the one that recognises five years of consistent excellence in the International Wine Challenge, went to Portugal’s Sogevinus Fine Wines (above). In that period, the producer of Ports and Douro still wines has been awarded three trophies, 24 gold medals, 36 silvers and 22 bronzes.
But there was a new winner of the Fortified Winemaker of the Year title. This year it went to Luís Sottomayor (below), head of winemaking at Sandeman Port Wines.
Co-chair Peter McCombie MW commented: “The International Wine Challenge judging panel includes experts from all around the world and each trophy-winning wine is tasted by at least three panels, meaning that each wine is judged as fairly as possible and entirely on its own merits. This year’s top 40 features many familiar names but it is great to see wines from lesser-known regions standing up on the global stage too.”
IWC Champion Wines (sponsored by Hellmann Worldwide Logistics)
Sweet (Alois Kracher Trophy): Tenuta Di Capezzana Vinsanto di Carmignano Capezzana Riserva 2014
Fortified (Manuel Lozano Trophy): Bodegas Tradicion Oloroso Tradicion VORS
Sparkling (Daniel Thibault Trophy): Rare Champagne Millésime 2008
White: Trinity Hill Wines Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2020
Red: Maison Delas Frères Les Bessards 2019
IWC 2022 Great Value Champions (the best-performing wines under £15)
Sweet: The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Fortified: Morrisons The Best Oloroso
Sparkling: Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV
Rosé: Cintu Ile de Beaute Corsican Rosé 2021
White: Paul Mas Réserve Languedoc Blanc 2021
Red: Tesco Finest Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2019
Winemakers of the YearSweet: Hans Tschida from Winery Tschida Angerhof
Fortified: Luís Sottomayor from Sandeman
Sparkling: Cyril Brun from Charles Heidsieck
White: Vincent Bartement from La Chablisienne
Red: Christophe Briotet from Edouard Delaunay
Planet Earth and special awardsIWC Own Label Range of the Year 2022: Tesco
IWC Fairtrade Award 2022: Spar Reserve Chenin Blanc Fairtrade 2021
IWC Sustainable Trophy 2022 (sponsored by Reflex Label Plus): Trinity Hill Wines Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2020
IWC Organic Trophy 2022: Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Syrah 2019
IWC Best Wine in First Year of Production 2022: Highweald Estate Brut Reserve NV
For Consistency over 5 years: Sogevinus Fine Wines
IWC Lifetime Achievement Award 2022: Susana Balbo
The 40 Best Wines in the World as judged by the International Wine Challenge 2022 (in no particular order)Rare Champagne Millésime 2008, France: IWC Champion Sparkling Wine 2022, Champagne Trophy, Vintage Classic Blend Champagne Trophy
Maison Delas Frères Les Bessards 2019, France: IWC Champion Red Wine 2022, International Syrah Trophy, French Red Trophy, Hermitage Trophy, Rhone Red Trophy
Trinity Hill Wines Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2020, New Zealand: IWC Champion White Wine 2022, IWC Sustainable Trophy 2022, International Chardonnay Trophy, New Zealand White Trophy, Hawkes Bay Chardonnay Trophy
Tenuta Di Capezzana Vinsanto di Carmignano Capezzana Riserva 2014, Italy: IWC Champion Sweet Wine 2022, Italian Sweet Trophy
Bodegas Tradicion Oloroso Tradicion VORS, Spain: IWC Champion Fortified Wine 2022, Sherry Trophy, Oloroso Trophy
Maison Albert Bichot Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Cuvée Cyrot Chaudron Hospices de Beaune 2020, France: International Pinot Noir Trophy, Clos de la Roche Trophy, Red Burgundy Trophy
Maison Albert Bichot Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes Cuvée Albert Grivault Hospices de Beaune 2020, France : French White Trophy, White Burgundy Trophy, Meursault Trophy
Col Vetoraz Spumanti Valdobbiadene Superiore Di Cartizze 2021, Italy: Prosecco Trophy
Antonella Corda Cannonau Di Sardegna 2020, Italy: Italian Red Trophy, Sardinian Red Trophy
Cabecita Loca Vermouth, Spain: Vermouth Trophy
Villa Conchi Extra Brut Imperial Reserva 2018, Spain: Cava Trophy
Bodegas Altos de Torona Albariño 2021, Spain: Spanish White Trophy, Rías Baixas Trophy
Legaris Alcubilla De Avellaneda 2018, Spain: Spanish Red Trophy, Ribera Del Duero Trophy
The Ethereal One Fleurieu Grenache 2020, Australia: International Grenache Trophy, Australian Red Trophy, South Australian Grenache Trophy
Galway Pipe Rare Tawny 25 Years, Australia: Australian Fortified Trophy
House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2006, Australia: Australian Sparkling Trophy
Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2020, Australia: Australian White Trophy, Australian Chardonnay Trophy, Tasmanian Chardonnay Trophy
Yealands Estate Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc 2021, New Zealand: International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Trophy
Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Syrah 2019, New Zealand: IWC Organic Trophy 2022, Marlborough Syrah Trophy
McArthur Ridge Southern Tor 2020, New Zealand: New Zealand Red Trophy, Otago Pinot Noir Trophy
Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2017, New Zealand: New Zealand Sweet Trophy
Spar Reserve Chenin Blanc Fairtrade 2021, South Africa: IWC Fairtrade Award 2022
Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2020, South Africa: South African White Trophy, South African Chardonnay Trophy
Bouchard Finlayson Tete de Cuvee Pinot Noir 2020, South Africa: South African Red Trophy
Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2020, Argentina: Argentinian Red Trophy
FJ Gritsch Riesling Ried Kalkofen Smaragd 2020, Austria: Austrian White Trophy
Hans Tschida Angerhof Sämling 88 Beerenauslese 2010, Austria: Austrian Sweet Trophy, Austrian Samling 88 Trophy
Flat Rock Cellars Riesling 2019, Canada: Canadian White Trophy
Reif Estate Grand Reserve Vidal Icewine 2019, Canada: Canadian Ice Wine Trophy
1865 Selected Vineyards Carmenere 2020, Chile: Chilean Red Trophy, Carmenere Trophy
Highweald Brut Reserve NV, England: Best Wine in First Year of Production, English Sparkling Trophy, Non-Vintage English Sparkling Trophy
Artelium Artefact #2 Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2020, England: English White Trophy
Teliani Valley JSC Glekhuri Khikhvi Qvevri 2019, Georgia: Georgian White Trophy, Khikhvi Trophy
Weingut Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Kammer Riesling Großes Gewächs 2019, Germany: International Riesling Trophy, German White Trophy
Weingut Reiss Würzburger Pfaffenberg Silvaner Auslese 2020, Germany: German Sweet Trophy
Tikves Merak 2021, North Macedonia: North Macedonian Trophy
Justino's Madeira Verdelho 1997, Portugal: Madeira Trophy
Dalva Porto Colheita Tawny 1985, Portugal: Port Trophy, Colheita Port Trophy
Catedral Dão Reserva Tinto 2021, Portugal: Portuguese Red Trophy, Dao Trophy
Garzón Single Vineyard Tannat 2020, Uruguay: Uruguay Red Trophy