'Oscars' of the wine world announced
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If you've ever struggled to pick out a bottle of wine from the myriad on display at your local supermarket, you'll probably by now have discovered three shortcuts to choosing.
You'll opt for the one with the red or yellow 'offer' placard, the one backed by a reputable wine writer or plump for the bottle with the shiny gold, silver or bronze sticker.
These last stickers denote award winners from the wine 'Oscars', the International Wine Challenge, also known as the IWC. The awards can make or break a winemaker's year and directly influence the wines we buy. MSN Food was there as the results were announced.
Supermarket of the Year Award went to Tesco, Slurp.co.uk took the honours as Direct Merchant of the Year, while for the fourth consecutive year, Majestic Wines won High Street Chain of the Year. Cambridge Wine Merchants saw off national chains to take the top award, Wine Merchant of the Year. The Wine Society picked up the gong for Wine Club of the Year and Marks & Spencer won the Own Label Range of the Year.
Vast array of wine on shelves during judging of the International Wine Challenge
"It's all too easy to see wine awards as out of touch from the rest of us," says MSN Food senior editor Craig Butcher. "But the reality is these awards celebrate the value end of the market too, where the vast majority of us buy our wine. That the awards have been rigorously judged and can help us drink better, more affordable wine is something to celebrate."
"The IWC's aim is to recognise excellence and help wine drinkers source some of the world's best wines," says chairman and wine expert Charles Metcalfe. "The credibility of the IWC logo is testament to the competition's unrivalled professionalism and meticulous judging processes. IWC medals help to take the risks out of buying wine, and point consumers towards quality wines at all prices and in all styles."
Tesco also won three Great Value Champion awards, which recognise quality wines at a price most consumers can afford:
- Tesco Finest Pouilly Fumé, Fournier Père et Fils - Great Value Champion White
- Tesco Finest Gigondas 2010, Vignobles La Coterie - Great Value Champion Red
- Tesco Finest Sauternes 2009, Yvon Mau - Great Value Sweet Wine
Sainsbury's won the Fairtrade Award for its Taste the Difference Chenin Blanc 2011, Bosman Family Vineyards.
"The wine drinker is very well served this year with great quality and well-priced wines available nationwide. The IWC is very proud of its role in bringing these wines to the attention of wine drinkers," says Charles Metcalfe.
Each medal-winning wine was tasted on at least three separate occasions by a minimum of nine different judges
Other awards went to:
- Champion Red Wine: Charmes Chambertin Les Mazoyères Grand Cru 2010, Domaine de la Vougeraie
- Champion White Wine: Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling 2006, Angove Family Winemakers
- Daniel Thibault Trophy for Champion Sparkling: Champagne Piper Heidsieck Rare Millésime 1998, Champagne Piper Heidsieck
- Champion Fortified Wine: Harveys Fine Old Amontillado 30-year-old VORS, Harveys, Jerez
- Alois Kracher Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine: Royal Tokaji 6 Puttonyos 2007, Royal Tokaji Borászati Zrt
- Sake Champion: Daiginjo Fukukomachi 2012, National Trading Inc Kimura Brewery
- Great Value Champion Sparkling: Codorníu Rosado Brut NV, Codorníu
- Great Value Champion Fortified Wine: Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana, Bodegas Hidalgo - La Gitana
- Innovator of the Year: Marks & Spencer
- James Rogers Trophy for best wine in the first year of production: Marks & Spencer Single Block Series S1 Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Yealands Estate
- Large Independent Merchant of the Year: Cambridge Wine Merchants
- Small Independent Merchant of the Year: Bottle Apostle
- Sparkling Winemaker of the Year: Régis Camus, Champagnes P & C Heidsieck
- White Winemaker of the Year: Neil McGuigan, McGuigan Wines
- Red Winemaker of the Year: Gérard Bertrand, Gérard Bertrand
- Sweet Winemaker of the Year: Hans Tschida, Weingut Hans Tschida
- Fortified Winemaker of the Year: Manuel Lozano, Emilio Lustau
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What the hell is a 'reputable' wine writer.
They are all pretentious charlatans with a brief to to plug whatever plonk maker pays them the most.
What is meant by a 'reputable' wine writer?
There is no such thing...they are all charlatans writing rubbish in support of the plonk maker that pays them the most.