The medal-winning wines from The Global Rosé Masters 2022

Following judging in June, we are able to reveal the full list of medal-winning wines from this year’s Global Rosé Masters, featuring outstanding wines from Hampshire to Rioja, and Sicily to Santorini, as well as, of course, Provence.

IN KEEPING with our Global Masters series, our competition for rosé brought in wines from a broad range of locations. While it was, as one might expect, those from increasingly popular Côtes de Provence that dominated, both in terms of number of entries, and Gold medallists, we did see greatness elsewhere, often with a pleasingly distinctive character too. After all, there’s little point creating something that can be done just as well in Provence, unless your aim is simply to do the same, but cheaper

As for those sources of brilliance from beyond the borders of Côtes de Provence, our shining examples in 2022 hailed from Spain, Italy and Greece, as you can see among the highlighted bottles over the following pages. Nevertheless, the highest-scorers of the competition were barrel-influenced rosés from Provence, made using Grenache and Rolle, which now seem to sit atop the pink wine pyramid like Chardonnay-Pinot Noir prestige cuvée blends from Champagne.

But beneath such high points we found much variation in style and quality. Disappointments came primarily among the samples in the £15-20 price bracket, where the judges would have liked to have seen see more colour and fruit flavours, as well as less reduction – smoky, rubbery, burnt-match sulphidic aromas were present in some samples. In certain cases, dilution was an issue, but rarely did we see any overripeness in today’s rosés – the pendulum has well and truly swung away from jammy flavours towards the lean, and sometime green, when it comes to pink wine.

Commenting on the difference between the top end of the rosé category compared to the lower end, long-standing Global Wine Masters judge Patricia Stefanowicz MW suggested that maybe not enough time is being devoted to the entry-point offerings in this sector.

Noting that “oaked dry rosés fared well”, she said: “Maybe winemakers are more willing to spend a little more time and effort on these wines to obtain balance and interest rather than the ‘quick, cool, gentle’ attempts to get the wine in bottle and on the shelf as soon as harvested?”

Nevertheless, as the following results show, there were plenty of wines that managed to both look and taste good. And, not all of these were from the fashionable southern coast of France.

Please read on to find out more about The Global Rosé Masters, as well as to see all the medal-winning wines from this year’s competition, starting with sparkling rosés, and then onto still wines, which are arranged according to price band and style (dry, off-dry, oaked). 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Dry Sparkling Rosé
Under £10
Privat Privat Brut Nature Reserva Rosé Cava Spain 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
La Marca Vini e Spumanti Millage Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato Brut Veneto Italy 2021 Gold
Domaine d’Aussières “A” d’Aussières Rosé Pays d’Oc France 2021 Silver
Viña Valdivieso Eclat Brut Rosé Cinsault Itata Valley Chile NV Silver
Valdo Spumanti Valdo Paradise Rosé Brut Veneto and Sicily Italy NV Silver
La Marca Vini e Spumanti La Marca Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato Extra Dry Veneto Italy 2021 Silver
Valdo Spumanti Valdo Marca Oro Prosecco DOC Rosé Brut Veneto Italy NV Silver
Codorníu Cuvée Original Rosé Catalan Spain NV Bronze
Sogrape Vinhos Mateus Sparkling Brut Rosé Douro Portugal NV Bronze
£15-£20
Bortoluzzi Wines Rosa di Gemina Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2021 Gold
La Cantina Pizzolato “M-Use” Spumante Rosato Extra Dry Veneto Italy 2021 Gold
Maison Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Burgundy France NV Silver
Cantina Montelliana “Meliora 210” Prosecco Rosé DOC Brut Millesimato Veneto Italy 2020 Bronze
Codorníu Ars Collecta Grand Rosé Reserva Catalan Spain 2019 Bronze
SIdewood Estate Sparkling Pinot Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia NV Bronze
£20-£30
Sidewood Estate Sidewood Isabella Rosé Sparkling Adelaide Hills Australia 2015 Gold
Champagne Haton Rosé Champagne France NV Gold
Colesel Spumanti Pavana Rosé Veneto Italy 2020 Silver
Matahiwi Vineyards Matahiwi Estate Brut Rosé Wairarapa New Zealand NV Silver
La Cantina Pizzolato Vino Frizzante IGT Veneto col Fondo PIWI “Hurrà” Veneto Italy 2020 Bronze
£30-£50
Comtes de Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Brut Rosé Premier Cru Champagne France NV Master
Hattingley Valley Wines Hattingley Valley Sparkling Rosé Hampshire UK 2018 Gold
Champagne Haton Rosé Extra Grand Cru Champagne France NV Silver
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Réserve Exclusive Rosé Champagne France NV Silver
Hambledon Vineyard Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé Hampshire UK NV Silver
Champagne Ayala Ayala Brut Majeur Rosé Champagne France NV Silver
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvée Spéciale Rosé Champagne France NV Bronze
Champagne Gremillet Rosé Vrai France France NV Bronze
£100+
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Rosé Vintage Champagne France 2008 Gold

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Sweet Sparkling Rosé
Under £10
Casa Vinicola Abbazia di San Gaudenzio Abbazia Moscato Spuamnte Rosé “Fortuna” Piedmont Italy 2021 Bronze
EnoItalia Belvino Rosé Spumante Veneto Italy NV Bronze
£10-£15
De Bortoli Wines De Bortoli Petit Moscato Rutherglen Australia NV Silver
Perlage Afra Prosecco Treveso DOC Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Bosco Viticultori Prosecco Spumante Rosé DOC Extra Dry Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
£15-£20
Val d’Oca Prosecco DOC Treviso Rosé Extra Dry Millesimato Veneto Italy 2020 Bronze
£20-£30
Foss Marai Della Vite Millesimato DOC Prosecco Rosé Treviso Italy 2021 Silver
3GP FIOL Prosecco DOC Rosé Treviso Italy 2021 Bronze

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Still Unoaked Dry Rosé
Under £10
Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres Rosado Rioja Spain 2021 Gold
Petricek Niederösterreich Rosé Zweigelt Primeur Niederösterreich Austria 2021 Gold
Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet Bordeaux France 2021 Gold
Bodega Inurrieta Inurrieta Mediodia Navarra Spain 2021 Silver
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Le Versant Limited Edition Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Barton & Guestier B&G Rosé Réserve Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Bodegas Gran Feudo Gran Feudo Rosado Navarra Spain 2021 Silver
Félix Solís Avantis Viña Albali Rosé Castilla-La Mancha Spain 2021 Silver
Distell Nederburg Winemasters Rosé Western Cape South Africa 2021 Silver
Distell Durbanville Hills Merlot Rosé Western Cape South Africa 2021 Silver
La Vieille Ferme Rosé Rhône France 2021 Silver
Laroche Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Bijou Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Gıdatay Prodom Rosé Aegean Turkey 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Alceño Alceño Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Ontalba Dominio de Ontur Syrah Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Sogrape Vinhos Mateus Dry Rosé Alentejo Portugal 2021 Bronze
Steininger Niederösterreich Rosé Merlot Niederösterreich Austria 2020 Bronze
Pagos del Rey Arnegui Rosado Rioja Spain 2021 Bronze
Félix Solís Avantis Mucho Mas Rosé Spain Spain NV Bronze
Bodegas Luzón Luzón Colección Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Carchelo Carchelo Rosé Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas BSI Genus Rosé Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Jacob’s Creek LePetit Rosé Australia Australia 2021 Bronze
Hammeken Cellars Mirada Organic Rosé Castilla y León Spain 2021 Bronze
Cavit Terrazze Della Luna Pinot Grigio Rosato Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT Trentino Italy 2021 Bronze
Bijou Terre de Providence Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
£10-£15
Domaine Royal de Jarras Tête de Cuvée Gris de Gris Bio Camargue France 2021 Gold
Bodegas Izadi Izadi Larrosa Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Gold
Invivo & Co Invivo X, SJP Rosé Provence France 2021 Gold
Domaine de l’Amaurigue Rosé Provence France 2021 Silver
Chateau des Demoiselles Charme des Demoiselles Provence France 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau X Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine Skouras Cuvée Prestige Rosé Argolida Greece 2021 Silver
SeaGlass Wine Company SeaGlass Rosé Monterey County USA 2020 Silver
De Bortoli Wines De Bortoli Rosé Rosé King Valley Australia 2021 Silver
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Cardounettes Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Saint-Roux Friponne Provence France 2021 Silver
Planeta Rosé Sicily Italy 2021 Silver
Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres Excellens de Marqués de Cáceres Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Silver
Bodegas Olivares Olivares Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Silver
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Bodegas Bilbaínas Viña Pomal Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Silver
Portal del Montsant Brunus Rosé Catalan Spain 2021 Silver
Born Brands Born Rosé Barcelona Penedès Spain 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau Classic Provence France 2021 Silver
Susana Balbo Crios Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Silver
Bodegas Pío Del Ramo ‘Betola The Cat Wine’ Rosé Jumilla Spain 2021 Silver
Bieler Family Wines Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley USA 2020 Silver
Conti di San Bonifacio Rosé IGT Toscana Tuscany Italy 2021 Silver
Wakefield/Taylors Wines Estate Pinot Noir Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia 2021 Bronze
Holden Manz Hiro Rosé Franschhoek South Africa 2021 Bronze
Marisco Vineyards The Ned Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2021 Bronze
Beronia Beronia Rioja Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Bronze
Veramonte Reserva Rosé Syrah Organic Casablanca Valley Chile 2020 Bronze
Bodegas Silvano García Silvano García Pink Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Domaine Royal de Jarras Pink Flamingo Gris Tête De Cuvée Bio Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Miraval Provence Studio by Miraval Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
Viña Casablanca Céfiro Rosé Casablanca Valley Chile 2021 Bronze
Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Chile Chile 2021 Bronze
Dievole Le Due Arbie Rosato Toscana IGT Tuscany Italy 2021 Bronze
Joel Gott Wines Joel Gott Rosé Central Coast USA 2020 Bronze
Bodega TorreCastillo TorreCastillo Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Bleda Castillo De Jumilla Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Cielo e Terra Bericanto Rosato DOC Vicenza Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Moulin de Gassac Grande Réserve de Gassac Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Marisco Vineyards Leefield Station Pinot Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2021 Bronze
Maison Mirabeau Belle Année France France 2021 Bronze
Castillo de Ibiza Castillo de Ibiza Rosé Navarra Spain 2021 Bronze
Gérard Bertrand Gris Blanc Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Piquepoul Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Spa 11 Minutes Rosé Trevenezie IGT Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Barton & Guestier B&G Côtes de Provence Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
Buontalenti Gordon Ramsay Elegante Roasto Abruzzo Italy 2020 Bronze
£15-£20
Château la Gordonne Summertime BIO Provence France 2021 Master
Domaine Royal de Jarras Favet 9/10 Domaine Royal de Jarras Tête De Cuvée Bio Sable de Camargue France 2020 Gold
Famille Sumeire Château Coussin Provence France 2021 Gold
LGI Wines Kylie Minogue Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé Provence France 2021 Gold
Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel Provence France 2021 Gold
J. Chivite Family Estates Chivite Las Fincas Rosado Ribera del Duero Spain 2021 Gold
Torre Mora Scalunera Etna Rosato Sicily Italy 2021 Gold
Les Vignobles André Lurton Diane by Jacques Lurton Rosé Bordeaux France 2021 Gold
Château Sainte Roseline Lampe de Meduse Cru Classé Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine de l’Amaurigue Rosé Fleur de l’Amaurigue Provence France 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau Etoile Provence France 2021 Silver
Avantis Estate Lenga Pink Evia Greece 2021 Silver
Château des Demoiselles Château des Demoiselles Provence France 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire Château Maupague Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine St Jean de Villecroze Selladore En Provence Provence France 2021 Silver
Villa Bogdano 1880 Pinot Grigio Ramato DOC Venezia Veneto Italy 2020 Silver
Res Fortes Wines Res Fortes Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire Château La Jouliane Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine la Grande Bauquiere Moment Inattendu Provence France 2021 Silver
Feudi di San Gregorio VIsione Campania Italy 2021 Silver
Château de Berne Terres de Berne Provence France 2021 Silver
Vaglio Vaglio Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Azure Provence France 2021 Silver
Masciarelli Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC Abruzzo Italy 2021 Silver
Folc Folc English Rosé Kent UK 2020 Bronze
Justino’s Madeira Wines Colombo Rosé DOP Madeirense Madeira Portugal NV Bronze
Rioja Vega Rosado Colección Tempranillo Rioja Spain 2021 Bronze
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Château Haut Gléon Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Matahiwi Vineyards Matahiwi Estate Pinot Rosé Wairarapa New Zealand 2021 Bronze
Santa Carolina Carolina Collection Series Maule Chile 2021 Bronze
Château la Gordonne Vérité du Terroir BIO Provence France 2021 Bronze
Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube Provence France 2021 Bronze
Léoube Love by Léoube Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau Pure Provence France 2021 Bronze
£20-£30
Domaines Ott By.Ott Provence France 2021 Master
Ultimate Provence Ultimate Provence Provence France 2021 Master
Anhydrous Winery Grance Santorini Greece 2021 Gold
Maison Gutowski Grande Cuvée Provence France 2021 Gold
Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato Friuli Italy 2021 Gold
Miraval Provence Miraval St Victoire Provence France 2021 Silver
Miraval Provence Miraval Rosé Provence France 2021 Silver
Alpha Estate Rosé Single Vineyard Hedgehog Florina Greece 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire César à Sumeire Coussin Provence France 2021 Silver
Hammeken Cellars Ecologica Girasol Rosé Organic Castile-León Spain 2021 Silver
Fantinel Sun Goddess Pinot Grigio Ramato DOC Friuli Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2021 Silver
Château la Gordonne La Chapelle Gordonne Tête de Cuvée Bio Provence France 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire Château l’Afrique Provence France 2021 Bronze
Dominio de Punctum 99 Rosas Rosé Organic Castile-León Spain 2021 Bronze
Domaine Beauvence L’Originelle Provence France 2021 Bronze
Susana Balbo Signature Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Bronze
Rumor Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
£30-£50
Château la Gordonne Le Cirque des Grives Provence France 2019 Gold
Château Léoube Secret de Léoube Provence France 2021 Gold
Domaine Beauvence Bellimontis Provence France 2021 Silver
Maison Gutowski Réserve Provence France 2021 Silver

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Unoaked Medium-Dry Rosé
Under £10
Piccini Costa Toscana Rosato Organic Tuscany Italy 2021 Gold
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé Bío Bío Valley Chile 2021 Gold
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Chiaretto di Bardolino DOC Classico Veneto Italy 2021 Silver
Cramele Recas Sole Roze Recas Romania 2021 Silver
The Iconic Estate Byzantium Rose Dealu Mare Romania 2021 Silver
Cramele Recas Muse Night Roze Recas Romania 2021 Silver
Viña Concha y Toro Frontera Rosé Santiago Chile 2021 Bronze
The Iconic Estate Prahova Valley Merlot Rosé Dealu Mare Romania 2021 Bronze
Schenk Italia Masso Antico Primitivo del Salento IGT Rosato Puglia Italy 2021 Bronze
Schenk Italia Amicone Pinot Grigio delle Venezie Doc Rosé Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Enoitalia Spa VOGA Italia Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Cramele Recas Vara Rose Recas Romania 2021 Bronze
Cramele Recas Solara Roze Recas Romania 2021 Bronze
£10-£15
Cantine San Marzano Tramari Rosé di Primitivo Salento IGP Puglia Italy 2021 Bronze

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Unoaked Sweet Rosé
Under £10
Sula Vineyards Sula Zinfandel Rose Nashik India 2021 Bronze
Viña Concha y Toro Reservado Santiago Chile 2021 Bronze
Julià & Navinès Ecologica La Pluma Rosé Penedès Spain 2021 Bronze
Sogrape Vinhos Mateus Rosé Original Alentejo Portugal NV Bronze

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Oaked Dry Rosé
Under £10
Finca El Origen Rosé Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Bronze
£10-£15
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Gold
Bijou Éminence de Bijou Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
£15-£20
Gérard Bertrand Hampton Water Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Gold
Gérard Bertrand Source of Joy Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Gold
Château de Berne La Grande Cuvée Provence France 2021 Silver
Bodegas Juan Gil Juan Gil Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Silver
Marisco Vineyards The Kings Desire Pinot Noir Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2021 Silver
Domaine Skouras Peplo Rosé Argolida Greece 2021 Silver
Finca Albret Albret Rocío Navarra Spain 2021 Silver
De Bortoli Wines La Bohème Act Two Dry Rosé Yarra Valley Australia 2021 Bronze
£20-£30
Caves d’Esclans Rock Angel Provence France 2020 Gold
Domaine la Grande Bauquiere Moment Suspendu Provence France 2021 Gold
Domaine Thomson Surveyor Thomson Central Otago ‘Pinot Rosé’ Central Otago New Zealand 2021 Silver
Château Sainte Roseline La Chapelle de Sainte Roseline Cru Classé Provence France 2021 Silver
Global Wines Casa de Santar Dão Portugal 2020 Silver
£30-£50
Marchesi Frescobaldi Aurea Gran Rosé Tuscany Italy 2020 Silver
Château d’Esclans – Domaines Sacha Lichine Château d’Esclans Provence France 2020 Silver
Domaine la Grande Bauquiere Moment Singulier Provence France 2020 Silver
£50-£70
Château d’Esclans – Domaines Sacha Lichine Les Clans Provence France 2020 Master
£100+
Château d’Esclans – Domaines Sacha Lichine Garrus Provence France 2020 Master
Miraval Provence Muse de Miraval Provence France 2020 Gold

About the competition

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Rosé Masters provides a chance for your wines to star.

The 2022 competition was judged on 16 June at Aquavit, London, employing experienced judges, including Patrick Schmitt MW, Alex Canneti, Andrea Briccarello, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Conal R Gregory MW, Siobhan Turner MW and Jonathan Pedley MW.

The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver, or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Rosé Master. This report features the medal winners only.

Please visit the Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

The Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2020

We reveal the medallists from 2020’s Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters, including top-performing wines from Israel and Greece, as well as more traditional sources of greatness, such as France and New Zealand.

So, you want a wine that’s instantly recognisable, stylistically consistent and guaranteed to refresh fast? Well, an ideal solution is Sauvignon Blanc. With its hallmark pungency, citrus-based flavours and high acidity, wherever this grape comes from, one can expect certain traits, and Sauvignon’s always cool character has made it such a global success. Trialled broadly, and consumed widely, there are few places where Sauvignon isn’t grown, or sold. And it’s been a powerful force for wine generally, pleasing drinkers on the search for something reliable, bright, and with plenty of personality, while at the same time making the crisp, even green, a trendy trait. But what about the quality standard? Is that dependable too?

I remember chairing a Sauvignon Blanc Masters competition a number of years ago, and finishing a day’s judging feeling a little disappointed. As a grape renowned for its powerful aromatics, we had found ourselves searching to describe quite a large number of wines that were delicate on the nose and dilute in the mouth. As the judges agreed then, if there’s a white grape where one expects plenty of immediate flavour, it’s Sauvignon Blanc, so, where the wines offered little in the way of clear character, the scores were low.

Moving forward to the 2020 competition, and I’m delighted to say that we had no issue describing the wines, which were loaded with Sauvignon Blanc character. And this was true of the cheapest samples. Not only that, but the quality level was high and consistently so – with a large haul of very good sub-£10 Sauvignons with fruit, freshness, and a lasting flavour intensity. So, in short, the standard of Sauvignon Blanc is high today, and that’s true at a range of prices, and from a wide sweep of sources.

Within the sub-£10 samples of 2020, as the tables show, we had plenty of excellent wines, with a notably good base standard seen among the entries from New Zealand and Chile, although Eastern Europe also proved able to deliver plenty of Sauvignon bang for little in the way of buck. In general, the greener notes, such as capsicum, were more evident in the Marlborough-sourced samples, while the Chilean Sauvignon Blancs were more strongly citric in character.

Based on the entries in 2020, one needs to spend over £10 for Gold-standard Sauvignon, with three wines in the £10-£15 price band just nudging into this level of quality. More on the grassy, gooseberry and boxwood spectrum were the excellent wines from Marlborough’s Invivo and Yealands, while the Gold medal-winning South African from Durbanville Hills stood out for its oily texture and grapefruit-scented fruit, along with pleasantly chalky finish.

Having said that, we did find two Golds in the blended category under £10, one for Brancott, which featured a drop of Sauvignon Gris, and the other for Elgin, which had a touch of Semillon – both grapes brought a touch more texture to the dominant Sauvignon.

Back to the pure Sauvignons, and over £15 but under £20, and again it was South Africa and Marlborough that gained the Golds, including an organic expression from Stoneleigh. At a much higher price of around £35, there was a delicious sample with masses of ripe orchard fruits and pink grapefruit that hailed from Israel’s Tulip Winery – an expensive but excellent example.

The first wine to take home the title of Master among the varietal, unoaked samples was priced over £20, proving that paying a relatively high sum for Sauvignon Blanc does have a benefit. As for the wine that gained the ultimate accolade of the Global Wine Masters, it wasn’t from New Zealand, neither was it from South Africa, but Italy’s Alto Adige. Gaining very high scores from all the judges, this wine from Cantina Valle Isarco, a brilliant co-operative in this beautiful region, wowed for its intense, lingering layers of flavours of pear, tangerine and lime, with some lemongrass and chalk too, and a lovely freshness, without the sharpness that can beset Sauvignon Blanc.

However, the justification for high prices for Sauvignon Blanc tends to require more than just a mix of complementary characters derived from fruit and fermentation, but some influence from oak too. Despite a certain scepticism from Sauvignon lovers surrounding the suitability of marrying the sweet and creamy flavours of barrels with the fresh and firm nature of Sauvignon, when the grapes are fully ripe, often from planting in warm climes, or picking late, then the combination is delicious.

FIRST-RATE WHITE

Proving this, and at an impressively low price, was the barrel-matured blend from Domaine du Grand Mayne in south west France, which has the vanilla, pineapple and grapefruit flavours found in great white Bordeaux, but for a little under £15. Others at a similar price that successfully united creamy wood with fresh citrus fruit were from South Africa (Nederburg) and Australia (Nepenthe), while moving up in price we had a first-rate white Bordeaux from Château Doisy Daene, and a pear, tangerine and marshmallow-scented sample from Greece’s Alpha Estate.

The outstanding wines of the day, taking the barrel influence Sauvignon style to new heights, were both from California. In the tauter, fresher mould was Napa Valley’s St Supéry Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, with its orange and cream characters, while the more indulgent example was from Merry Edwards in the Russian River Valley, with a wonderful array of flavours from peach, pear, lime, toast and vanilla to cinnamon. Such a wine was also quite richly textured, but wonderfully bright too.

These latter samples clearly showed that Sauvignon Blanc is no one-trick pony. Depending on source and winemaking technique, supporting varieties and price positioning, Sauvignon Blanc can take on different guises. However, it never seems to lose its refreshing taste, nor citrusy aromatics, ensuring that it maintains its appeal for the Sauvignon lover, even when handled like a Chardonnay.

In other words, if you are a fan of Sauvignon’s cool crisp character, then you should be pleased with the quality on the market today. And if you want to explore the grape’s full stylistic spectrum, then you can do so safe in the knowledge that the medallists in this year’s Masters will deliver new and delicious experiences, without abandoning Sauvignon’s core citrus-fresh trait.

About The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from the great vineyards of Europe or lesser-known winemaking areas of the world.

The 2020 competition was judged by David Round MW, Patrick Schmitt MW and Patricia Stefanowicz MW in December at London’s 28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Sauvignon Blanc Master. Here, we feature the medal winners only.

THE DB & SB AUTUMN BLIND TASTING

While our usual Masters competitions focus on a grape, region or style, our inaugural Autumn Tasting was open to all, and brought to light some exciting wines from parts of the world that might normally have been overlooked, writes Patrick Schmitt MW.

This report contains the results from an entirely new tasting from the drinks business. Called the Autumn Tasting, it’s a drinks competition defined by the time of year when the samples are judged, rather than their source region, style, or base grape variety. While our existing tastings take a snapshot of a particular area, certain styles or a noble grape, this is something different. It’s the antithesis of our other, long-standing competitions, in that there are no restrictions to who can enter: all styles of wine are welcome.

And that’s why it came about. A producer of say, a Furmint from Slovenia, wanted us to judge their product using our professional processes, but couldn’t find a competition that could accommodate them. Others wanted something different. They didn’t want their £15 Pinot Noir, for example, to be compared with other £15 Pinot Noirs of the world, but any red wine in the same price band, allowing them to be assessed for quality against anything and everything.

However, the main purpose of this tasting is to assess the quality of the slightly unusual – the blends that are a bit different, the regions that are less recognised, and the varieties that are little-known. And that makes the Autumn Tasting a thrilling addition to our line-up. It also makes the results important for those in search of quality whatever the source or grape, including those who deliberately seek out anything that’s an alternative to the norm. So, with that said, what did we find that was delicious and good value among our varied set of samples?

Considering the white wines first, the base level of entries was very high, with a raft of Silvers, which was impressively in the sub-£10 sector – and we were particularly impressed by the quality to price ratio in the wines from Moldova’s Château Vartely, as well as those from Spain (Jumilla and VDP Castilla) along with some delicious inexpensive Vermentinos from the Tuscan coastal area of Maremma, including an organic version.

But it was over the £10 mark that we saw the Golds and above start to come in. These included a benchmark Galician Albariño, an indulgent Tuscan Viognier, and some beautiful Chardonnays – including one aged in Bourbon barrels for extra caramelised interest, and two blockbuster versions not from France or the US, but from Italy and Spain.

Although it didn’t receive Gold status, a strong Silver medal was awarded to an Austrian Grüner Veltliner in a can, and we had a stunning Slovenian Furmint from 1971. The rosés contained some exciting results too, and while we had some lovely dry pink drops from Provence, it was one from Priorat that wowed, along with another from Chile – in an amazing bottle too.

We also had a couple of outstanding sweet wines, both of which were from Puklavec – a Slovenian producer that manages to craft wines of great quality and personality.

HIGH STANDARDS

But the majority of entries in the inaugural Autumn Masters were red, and the standard was extremely high. And there are a couple of stand-out wine regions to mention after days of blind tasting – Spain’s Jumilla and Italy’s Maremma. Each one of these areas is not the most famous source region of their country. And each of them yielded distinctive, delicious wines from a hot, dry climate. But that’s where the similarities end.

Jumilla is mainly a red wine-producing area based around one notable grape: Monastrell. The region matches this hardy grape to a tough climate, which can be almost arid in some years. But very old vines, amazingly planted without rootstocks, makes this region the largest single area of ungrafted vines in the world. It is a viticultural relic. For this reason it should be treasured. Almost all the output from these old vineyards is managed organically, much of it certified, because this soil-climate-grape combination is natural, and needs no inputs. And as for the wines, one can now point to the number of Silvers and Golds picked up by these Monastrell-based reds from Jumillla in this blind tasting – and that’s when these wines were compared with the competition worldwide. We even had a Master winner from the region’s Bodgeas Fernández at under £30.

However, what really impressed the judges was the quality and character of the wines from Jumilla at lower price points, including those samples for less than £10. In short, it’s clear that if you want a wine of personality that’s made with native grapes, that has a unique character, and that’s organic, inexpensive and delicious, then look to Jumilla.

Next, we had the wines from the Maremma. Here we had some great examples at lower price points, but the entry point to this region is typically more expensive than Jumilla. Pick up something over £15, however, but still at under £20, and you can find fine wine. Often the source of blended wines, including those uniting the native Sangiovese to Bordeaux varieties, there’s something wonderful about the texture of these wines, as they manage to be both fleshy and fresh, combining ripe, juicy black cherry fruit with bright acid and dry tannins.

EXCEPTIONAL RESULTS

One area to look out for is Turkey’s Strandja mountains, where the brilliant Chamlija winery is based. Whether it was this producer’s reds from native grapes or international varieties, the standard was high, and the results exceptional.

Another result that should be mentioned was the great wines from Australia’s RedHeads, including a delicious, bright blend based entirely on traditional Italian grapes, from Sangiovese to Valpolicella. And from the US’s Columbia Valley, Charles Smith wowed our judges with both its Syrah and Merlot.

Importantly, in all these cases, it was the nature of The Autumn Tasting that allowed these wines to shine. It is also particularly important for our tasters, (me, Patricia Stefanowicz MW and David Round MW), and you, the buyer, to see that wines from obscure native grapes, and lesser-known parts of the wine-producing world, can yield brilliant results, and those on a par with, or better than bottles from famous areas, and international varieties.

And only with the format of the Autumn Tasting could so important a conclusion be drawn, taking the risk out of trialling new wines.

Please read on for the results in full from 2020’s Autumn Tasting, along with some information about the competition.

About the competition

The Autumn Tasting was conducted at 28-50 Wine Bar & Kitchen, Covent Garden, London during the week beginning 5 October.

The judges for the wine tasting were Patrick Schmitt MW, David Round MW, and Patricia Stefanowicz MW.

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Autumn Tasting provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from the great vineyards of Europe or lesser-known winemaking areas of the world.

The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Master.

 

The Spring Tasting 2021

We bring you the best wines from The Spring Tasting, featuring an exciting range of new releases that are due to hit the shelves over the coming months.

While other seasons are associated with a particular drink, be it warming reds for winter, refreshing rosés for summer, or rich whites for autumn, when it comes to spring, the theme is less about style, but newness. That’s because this is a moment for the fresh, from the green shoots in the garden to the latest releases from Champagne, just-bottled rosés from Provence, or en primeurs from Bordeaux. And so, with our Spring Tasting, it was a privilege to be able to sample in February a broad array of wines destined for springtime release without having to worry about stylistic constraints, but focus on nothing more than what’s delicious and good-value among the brand new. It was a preview of those wines due to hit the shelves as the vegetation emerges and the days lengthen; these are the bottles to pop when celebrating life after dormancy.

So, The Spring Tasting united wines by the timing of release, rather than their particular style, source area, or grape variety – which are the bases of the drinks business’s other tastings, such as the Sparkling Masters, the Chardonnay Masters or the Tuscan Masters.

And, because we were looking for the best of this year’s upcoming releases, we enjoyed some novel comparisons. For example, we sampled £15 Californian Chardonnay alongside similarly priced Hungarian Furmint, sub-£10 Chilean Cabernet next to Russian Saperavi, and Chilean blanc de blancs with organic Cava – all tasted blind, of course, with the wines’ origins and grapes only revealed to us after the tasting was concluded, and medals assigned.

In short, we were not looking to test the typicity of a wine according to its source region or dominant grape variety, but simply to find quality, wherever it comes from, within a broad type, if narrow price range. This makes for fascinating outcomes, which we shall briefly consider below, before picking out the most exciting finds of The Spring Tasting 2021.

Among our sparkling entries, it was Cava that came out on top, proving a point made after previous db tastings about this Spanish sparkling wine region: it can be the source of fine, ripe, biscuity styles of fizz at keen prices – particularly the organic Parxet Cuvée 21 for under £15 in this competition. Beyond this, there were three fine samples in particular. One was an excellent fruity but fresh, bready fizz from Chile – made by Valdivieso – another a pale salmon-coloured rosé sparkling from Russia, with ripe strawberry, fresh apple and biscuit characters, and a further one was a pretty, peachy, creamy-textured pink sample from Château Léoube in Provence.

When it came to the white wines made without oak influence, we had an array of lovely samples from a range of places, taking in some good value Sauvignon from Russia (Lefkadia), a refreshing canned white from South Africa (Elgin Vintners), along with a range of well-made Sauvignons and Chardonnays from Australia and Chile (The Lane and Montgras, respectively). Over £15 and impressive wines ranged from a Turkish Albariño (Chamlija), Tuscan Vermentino (Banfi) to a Friulan Ribolla Gialla (Castello di Buttrio). As for the standout sample among this part of the tasting, that turned out to be a thrilling discovery, as it hailed from Greece, and comprised a native grape called Malagousia, which was saved from extinction by the producer of our only Gold medallist in this category: Vangelis Gerovassiliou. Intensely flavoured, it has powerful characteristics, from peaches to rose petals, and a salty, mouth-watering edge.

Among the barrel-influenced whites, we had more top-scoring wines, which is in keeping for a category where one would expect to find that more ambitious winemaking yielded greater complexity. Notable among them was the caramelised character of the Robert Mondavi Bourbon barrel-aged Chardonnay, which married masses of sweet oak flavour to bright ripe fruit for under £15. It might not be subtle, but it’s certainly an effective way to bring richness to a white wine. Showing more elegance, but without being thin and dilute, were the excellent Chardonnays from New Zealand, be they from Marlborough (Brancott and Stoneleigh) or Hawke’s Bay (Church Road), with the latter, in my view, one of the world’s great sources of fine, textured Chardonnay for relatively little money – that is, in comparison with the great examples from California or Burgundy. But on the subject of Californian excellence, the Chardonnay from 7Cellars in Carneros was a delicious creamy, peach-and-citrus drop that definitely deserves a mention.

As for rosé, it was a delight to have an early taste of Provençal pink from the most recent 2020 harvest, with the excellent organic samples from La Commanderie de la Bargemone proving the peachy quality of this latest vintage. However, when it came to a top-value pick, it was a Tuscan rosé from Tua Rosa that wowed, using pure Sangiovese to yield a fruity-fresh example for just £8.

If the regions of Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough stood out for the quality of their barrel-fermented Chardonnays in the whites, then it was Toscana and Jumilla that were notable for their oak-influenced reds. While these two regions differ in many respects, both offered excellent wines for relatively good prices, judging by the results of this, our first tasting of 2021. When it comes to Jumilla, a Spanish region with amazing stocks of very old-vine dry-farmed Monastrell, the wines offer something rich, even a touch sweet but still bright, thanks to the dry tannins and natural acidity that come with old vine wines from this variety.

As for the reds from Toscana, the range here is wide, from the entry-level to fine ageworthy type, and from the fleshy black cherry and vanilla scented drop to the pale, light and lifted sort, with the latter most commonly seen within the classic areas of this Italian area, notably Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino. But even the so-called Super Tuscans based on French varieties, above all Cabernet Sauvignon, had an Italian elegance, finishing with a mouth-cleansing combination of dry tannin and fresh acidity. Mastering both the classic and modern faces of Toscana were Banfi and Piccini, with style depending on source area and base grape, but quality remaining high whatever.

Other wines of note included some wonderful Syrahs in a range of styles from the peppery to fleshy, with the quality of Syrah particularly high from Chile’s Leyda (MontGras), Adelaide Hills (The Lane), Israel (Tulip), Greece (Ktima Gerovassiliou) and Hawke’s Bay (Church Road). There were two further delicious wines from Greece, hailing from Domaine Skouras, which employed native grapes Agiorghitiko to yield wines with ripeness and warmth, but also refreshment – a result of a dry tannin texture and salty stony edge.

NEAR-PERFECT SCORES

As for the red wine Masters – those that achieved near-perfect scores were from just two countries: Spain and Italy. Two of them were Brunellos (Poggio Il Castellare and Banfi’s Poggio alle Mura), and highlighted the appeal of Sangiovese from this famous site, where the grape displays its wonderful ability to be light in weight but strong in flavour, while combining ripe, fleshy fruit, with a taut tannin texture. As for the Spanish entries, one showed the delicious appeal of Garnacha from Priorat, with the first-rate sample from the region’s oldest winery, Scala Dei – a mouth-filling mass of juicy-red-berry fruit, white pepper, toast and rock dust. The other was very different: rich, concentrated, with masses of intense dark cherry, tannins, and creamy oak, but also a bright almost sour cherry lift, ensuring this wine, from Legaris in Ribera del Duero, was still easy to drink.

But that wasn’t everything. The tasting finished with some wonderful sweet wines, and a final Master. Coming from Hungary’s famous sweet wine-producing area of Tokaj, the Gold Label Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos from the Royal Tokaji Winery highlighted why this central European region is so revered. Seducing with dried apricots, raisins and honey, the intensely sweet wine then finished with zesty lime and grapefruit to enliven the palate, and leave one refreshed, despite the initial sugary hit.

 

The Prosecco Masters 2021

Prosecco has taken the world by storm, thanks to its easy-drinking qualities. And now, with rosé expressions having been given the green light, there is more choice than ever for the world’s fizz lovers. We reveal the stylistic trends and best wines from The Prosecco Masters 2021.

So you work in marketing, and you’re considering how to create a new category of drinks? What’s the best approach? And where should one draw inspiration? Prosecco is the ideal place to look for ideas. That’s because it has managed, in a relatively short space of time, to become a 500 million bottle a year business, taking sparkling wine mainstream, well beyond it traditional association with celebratory times. As a result, almost any occasion is ripe for sipping this light, aromatic Italian fizz, which is now by far the largest sparkling wine type in the world in terms of volumes sold.

If you are involved in marketing, then you’ll want to consider every aspect of its success, starting with the four p’s of product, price, place and promotion. And Prosecco scores well on all counts, with its fairly low cost, broad distribution, combined with positive Italian associations and its easy-to-pronounce memorable name.

But, when it comes to lasting success, it’s the product that’s key – both in terms of style and quality. And it’s this aspect that the annual Prosecco Masters seeks to consider, providing, in essence, a health check on the category.

When it comes to this year’s results, it’s clear that the base standard is high for Prosecco. Even at the cheapest end of the category, the wines were clean, refreshing, with fresh, ripe fruit. This is key to Prosecco’s performance, as it means that the customer isn’t disappointed.

Not only that, but with wine taste and style fairly similar at the lower end of the price spectrum, it’s a drink that offers a predictable, consistent experience. It’s not one of those categories where there are swings in sweetness levels, differences in texture, or variations in fruit expression.

While this relates to the region: Prosecco uses, in essence, one grape to create one style of wine, it’s also connected to technology – the region’s producers employ state-of-the-art winemaking equipment to create pristine fizz, which tends to be bottled to order. As proof of this, among almost 200 samples in 2021’s Prosecco Masters, there were fewer than a handful of wines where I detected a touch of tired fruit.

This is a wine style where the freshness relates to a number of factors, including the fizz and, the bright acidity, but also, notably, the just-picked taste of the fruit that’s used to make the product. Be it crisp apple, ripe pear, or sweet peach, with Prosecco there’s nothing faded in the taste.

It’s a pristine drinking experience. And, combine that with its aromatic, distinctive nature, and you have something pleasing and easy to identify. Such traits have also been key to the remarkable performance of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in this century.

But that’s not to suggest there aren’t differences in Prosecco. One reason for variation relates to sourcing, in particular, whether the grapes were grown in the hillier historic areas of the region, the DOCGs of Valdobbiadene, Conegliano and Asolo, as opposed to the generally flatter plains of this part of Italy, which are used for the much larger Prosecco DOC. Generally, the DOCG offerings are a touch more expensive, and are deemed to be better quality, but is this always the case?

From both parts of Prosecco, there were outstanding samples, suggesting that top sites in the DOC can rival those of the DOCG.

However, in my experience from this year’s competition, and previous ones, the DOCG sparkling wines tend to have a purer, more defined fruit expression than the DOC Proseccos at similar prices. The former also tend to have a bit less sugar too, requiring the fruit in DOCG wines to be faultless and fully ripe, while allowing the taste of such fine grapes to shine, without the masking effect that can arise from perceptible sweetness.

In other words, if you like combination of ripe peach and crisp apple, then good DOCG Prosecco will provide it. And if you are content with a simpler sweet pear sensation, then DOC will deliver it.

As for a further general point, when it comes to low-sugar Prosecco, the DOCG of Asolo appears an especially good place to go, as the fruit character from this lesser-known and smaller area tends to be richer, and riper, making it in need of less sweetness.

Furthermore, if you want something with a distinctive personality, a Prosecco with greater complexity, then seek out the Rive classification, which is used for the best sub-regions of the DOCGs, where hillside vineyards tend to yield sparkling wines with intensity, and layers of flavour.

The go-to producer for these styles is Andreola, which manages to capture Prosecco at its best, with its orchard fruits, citrus zest, and floral aromatics, even a chalky character, more commonly associated with Champagne or English sparkling wine.

For richness, sweetness, power, and complexity, then Cartizze is the pinnacle of Prosecco – but it’s pricy. Nevertheless, it presents the ultimate expression of tank-method fizz. And should, in my view, be richly sweet, and refreshingly racy – a style perfected by Bisol1542.

The subject of sweetness levels is important for Prosecco. That’s because some of the drink’s appeal lies in the fact that it’s not too dry, or firm, but soft and creamy-textured. And for that, a fairly high level of sugar is required, around 13g/l-15g/l being a level that provides richness without tasting saccharine.

But, as noted, lower levels, including Extra Brut (sub-6g/l), can be palatable if the fruit is fully ripe. Nevertheless, such a style can surprise your average Prosecco drinker, who is used to Prosecco’s gentle, pleasing sweetness.

Finally, what about rosé? As the newly allowed sub-category of DOC Prosecco – bear in mind that DOCG regions have not authorised this colour variant – there is much excitement about its arrival. While this is justified on the basis that pink fizz is popular, and so too in Prosecco, in terms of the product, Prosecco rosato is not a markedly different proposition in terms of taste.

Made by adding 10-15% wine from Pinot Noir to the white wine base for making Prosecco, the character of the wine is similar to its long-standing blanco variant: the Prosecco Rosés I tasted combined plenty of the usual peach and pear fruit you find in blanco Prosecco, but with a hint of crushed strawberry, and sometimes a touch of bubblegum.

One thing I did notice related to colour: of the some 40 Prosecco rosés I sampled, all of them were pretty much the same shade of pale salmon pink. It seems producers are not going to risk anything deeper in terms of colour appearance. That’s doubtless because the pale hue of Provencal rosé has influenced the world of pink wine producers, sparkling ones included, especially the commercially-savvy ones in Prosecco.

About the competition

The Global Prosecco Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and forms part of its successful Masters series for noble grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; major wine styles, from sparkling to rosé; and famous regions including Rioja, Champagne and Tuscany. The competition is exclusively for Prosecco. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Prosecco Master. This report features the medal winners only.

Read on for the list of all the medal-winning wines in this year’s Prosecco Masters, as well as further information about the competition. 

And you can click here to read my read top 10 Proseccos for all styles and occasions, compiled using the highlights from this the 2021 competition. 

The Global Rosé Masters 2021

We bring you all the medallists from this year’s Global Rosé Masters – taking in top-scoring wines from Greece, Turkey, Italy and France – and reveal our top five pink wine trends of today.

IT’S SAFE to say that the majority of the current discussion about rosé centres on the branding: how it looks, where it’s seen, and with whom. After all, famous names aren’t just sipping pale-pink drops, but producing them, with pretty-looking celebrity-backed bottles becoming more numerous by the year, adding to this pink category’s cachet. It’s been a valuable development for a part of the wine sector that once had a cheap image, based on off-dry examples, from Mateus rosé to Blossom Hill. Indeed, the new power of upmarket rosé, and the potential for further growth, including at a luxury level, has precipitated high-profile investments in the category, from fashion house Chanel to Bordeaux’s Castéja family and then, most notably, luxury-goods conglomerate, LVMH, with its 55% shareholding in Whispering Angel producer Château d’Esclans.

But has rosé’s new-found, premium-level success simply come about because it’s pretty and pink? How good are the wines, what are the styles, and who’s leading in terms of quality? It’s the answers to such questions that prompted us to launch a rosé-only blind tasting for all styles and categories in 2014, with the inaugural Global Rosé Masters. And it’s been revealing, bringing to light the changes taking place in this increasingly popular area of the drinks industry, from the shifting standards, to emerging characters, which we can update for 2021. Taking in the leading brands from benchmark regions, along with new releases from obscure areas, our comprehensive tasting is a health check of rosé today, while providing a guide to fresh sources of pink potential, perfect for the more adventurous buyer.

Before we reveal the results in full from this year’s tasting – which you can see below – we bring you our thoughts on the pink wine category.

1. There’s a high base standard in rosé today

If this year has taught me one thing, it’s that the base standard of rosé is high, and newly elevated. While celebrities may have enticed drinkers into the delights of pink wine, the character of rosé has kept them coming back. The entry-point, pricewise, of dry rosé was full of Silver medal-winning wines, as pink producers master the challenge of creating something pale, textured and refreshing – ticking the three key boxes needed for rosé success at present. Whether it was pink wine from Romania or Spain, France, Italy or Portugal, there were sub-£10 wines with a pretty ballet-shoe appearance, ripe berry fruit, a touch of creaminess, and a bright, palate-cleansing finish. Achieving this requires careful management in the vineyard and cellar, but the techniques are clearly better understood in 2021 than ever before, judging by the increased number of good scores at lower prices in this year’s competition. Where the points awarded dropped, it was for those wines that had overtly herbaceous flavours, suggesting the use of some unripe fruit, or those with an ersatz nature, with jammy, confected flavours mixed with a sharp citric acid edge. In other cases, lower scores were awarded if the wines were too light in feel and flavour, or simple, with short-lived characters.

2. Top-end rosé offers ripeness and refreshment

A second major finding from this year’s sample is the improved balance of characters in the more premium segment, those samples priced over £10. Among the great examples, which hailed in particular from Mediterranean climes, be they Provence, the Languedoc, Tuscany, or Greece, the pleasure of the pink wines came with this combination: flavours of ripe white-fleshed peach, a texture that was slightly oily, and a finish that showed a dry brightness from a fine, chalky tannin component and a gently bitter orange and grapefruit zest note. And while I don’t mind what colour my rosé comes in, I did find that such a style does come with the paler samples.

In contrast, I found a stronger correlation between a bubblegum pink appearance and more confected flavours, although there were some very pale roses with jammy characters.

3. Oaked rosés are becoming more common and getting better

As for a third general discovery from this year’s Global Rosé Masters, that came with the oak-influenced wines. It seems that more producers are turning to wood to impart a bit of complexity and additional texture to their rosés, and the results can be delicious. Sometimes, at the top end (Clos du Temple/Garrus), this influence is obvious, with new oak flavours evident, from vanilla to toast, and complementary to the ripe fruit. In other wines, it’s there in a more subtle way, with just a hint of creaminess in a wine that’s led by the flavours from the grapes used. In both cases, the end result is successful. What’s less appealing is a note of wood shaving that doesn’t seem integrated with the fruit flavours, giving it prominence at the start or finish of the drinking experience. And what’s poor is when the porous oak staves bring about oxidative characters, often seen first in an orangey appearance, and tasted with flavours of bruised apple.

4. Provence sets the benchmark for rosé quality but the Languedoc is catching up

Fourth, in terms of sourcing, Provence does set the benchmark for wine quality for pale dry rosé, with or without oak influence. But, running it close, and in some cases matching it in terms of quality, and sometimes bettering it in terms of value, is the Languedoc. Notable here were the wines from the Vranken group, Foncalieu, Bonfils, and, leader of the pack, Gérard Bertrand, whose Château la Sauvageonne La Villa is an outstanding example of barrel-influenced rosé for a relative song – it’s at least half the price of Garrus, and one fifth the cost of Bertrand’s range-topping Clos du Temple, the world’s priciest still rosé, which is around £200.

5. Bordeaux and Tuscany are regions to watch for fine rosé

As a fifth point on these rosés, there are two areas to watch for serious, top-end, fine pink wine. One is Bordeaux, which we’ve picked up on before with the rosés of Chateau Brown in Pessac-Léognan, and this year, with the delicious, juicy but bright pink wine from Vignobles André Lurton, called Diane. The other area is Tuscany, where the Frescobaldi family in particular is creating delicious, textured rosés using a range of grapes from Syrah to Sangiovese, and, like Provence, white grape Vermentino too (known as Rolle in France).

And finally… don’t forget ‘gris’ when it comes to textured, pale rosés

As a final observation, it was notable how good some of the Gris wines were this year. Barely pink in appearance, they had a surprising textural richness, sometimes due to the character imparted by old-vine Grenache Gris (Domaine Royal de Jarras), or Pinot Gris with a little residual sugar (Fantinel’s Sun Goddess) – a style of wine that reaches a delicious height as a blanc in Alsace.

As for my conclusions about sparkling wine, for powerfully flavoured, crowd-pleasing fun, pink Moscato is spot on, and for something less saccharine, the new Prosecco DOC rosés coming on stream offer a lovely, soft, peachy-fresh pink fizzy option. For something more serious, dry, and classic, then pink Cava is a fine, good-value alternative to the obvious, which is of course rosé Champagne. And here, the high-point was reached with a crisp, chalk, hazelnut, cranberry and apple tasting sparkling wine from Nicolas Feuillatte – which, at around £35 a bottle, comes at a great price for pink fizz from this French region.

Read on to see all the medallists from this year’s competition as well as how to enter future Global Wine Masters. 

About the competition

The Global Rosé Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and forms part of its successful Masters series for noble grape varieties, such as Chardonnay
and Pinot Noir; major wine styles, from sparkling to fortified; and famous regions including Rioja, Champagne and Tuscany. The competition is exclusively for rosé. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and
those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Rosé Master. This report features the medal winners only.

The Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2021

We bring you the results in full from this year’s Global Cabernet Masters, featuring Gold medallists from Israel and Turkey, Italy and Spain, along with Chile, Australia and California.

AMONG THE major globally planted red grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon is the only one that’s been immune to the fall and rise in consumer tastes this century.

Pinot Noir has been in vogue, Merlot has been maligned, and Syrah seemingly sidelined, while Cabernet has remained constant in its appeal. It’s a curious situation, but best explained by the reliable, and easily identifiable wines it yields. Cabernet’s black fruit, deep colour, and firm structure create the archetypal red wine – the sort of intense, dense and dry experience that people associate with a black-grape-based drink. Not only that, but Cabernet can reliably deliver this experience at all prices – depending, of course, on where’s it grown.

And Cabernet’s ability to survive shifting vinous fashions unscathed may also be connected to its versatility. It can be the base of inexpensive wines in a variety of styles, from the simple and fruity to sweet and chocolately, or the backbone for some of the greatest and most long-lived reds of the world. Furthermore, it can be managed in such a way as to produce something concentrated and powerful, or elegant and cool-tasting, prone as it is to producing green-tasting pyrazines.

It’s also a grape that seems able to move with the times – winemakers have used Cabernet Sauvignon to make bold expressions when the market wanted them, and, when it tired of these, more balanced ones in response.

Today, they seem to be doing a bit of everything with Cabernet, which again explains the grape’s lasting appeal, while, judging by this year’s Cabernet Sauvignon Masters, cutting back on the extremes – we didn’t see any wines that were obviously under-ripe or over-ripe. Neither did we taste wines that were too light, nor excessively heavy. And at the very top end, among the finest drops of the day, we had a broad  selection of beautifully balanced wines – when, one suspects, a decade ago one might have been chewing through the samples, due to the combination of dried fruit and large amounts of tannin, both berry and barrel sourced.

So here is a grape that offers a constancy of quality, but a diversity of expressions, without the sort of stylistic extremes that might give it a bad name.

Read on to see this year’s top performers, and find out more about the competition, and click here to see the top 10 Cabernet-related trends of 2021.

About the competition

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from a famous region for the grape or a lesser-known winemaking area of the world.

The top wines are awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stand out as being outstanding in their field receive the ultimate accolade – the title of Cabernet Sauvignon Master.

Please visit The Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

Read more

The top 10 Cabernet trends of 2021

The Global Pinot Grigio Masters 2021

Anyone who dismisses Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Gris, as nothing more than an entry-level tipple does so at their peril – it’s a grape of quality and versatility, as proved by the medalists from this year’s Global Masters.

THERE’S NOTHING wrong with associating Pinot Grigio with the provision of simple, inexpensive, and light refreshment, because the grape does that job particularly well. After all, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay can be divisive in style, and, should you step beyond these best-known white grapes, you may end up straying beyond your planned budget – and Pinot Grigio is often at the entry point on wine lists, or retailers’ shelves.

However, should you only link this grape with crisp, bargain whites, you’d be doing it a disservice. Pinot Grigio is one of the world’s most versatile varieties, and more winemakers are embracing its many faces. As we saw during this year’s Global Pinot Grigio Masters, the grape can yield delicious sparkling wine; sweet whites with varying degrees of residual sugar, and dry whites in a range of styles, from the delicate to full-flavoured creamy oak-aged statements.

And with each case, the results can be outstanding, proving that Pinot Grigio can be used to craft truly fine wines. Indeed, the high points in this year’s Masters tasting show that this grape is underrated for its quality potential, as well as for its versatility. So, don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to move away from Pinot Grigio when climbing the vinous ladder, or trying something barrel-fermented or sweet.

Read on for the judges comments and the results in full from this year’s Global Pinot Gris Masters, while click here for my top 10 Pinot Grigios of 2021, and click here for eight surprising facts about the grape, which were drawn from 2021’s competition.

Judges’ comments

Andrea Briccarello
“The tasting confirmed once again the consistency of many producers particularly in the Veneto: the wines were very solid with plenty of easy drinking and crisp style. It also proved that Pinot Grigio’s place on wine lists is not going to leave at any point soon, because the wines are clean and fresh, zingy and can be complex too. While I enjoyed the wines form the east of Italy, I was pleasantly surprised by the New World  versions as well, which showed plenty of varietal character and great style.”

Simon Field MW

“The tasting was positive, and the anticipation of dull wines was not actually borne out; the best examples married notes of lemon pith, almond essence and a keen acidity. Overall we saw consistent, very good value samples in the sub-£10 category and lots of Silvers in the £10-15 bracket. I found that the fantastically named Californians (Ménage à Trois and Three Thieves) were less flamboyant than their names may have suggested; quite serious, in fact. There were examples from Trentino and Abruzzo that fared well, and were a credit to their regions.”

About the competition

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Pinot Gris Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from a famous region or a lesser-known winemaking area of the world.

The top wines are awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stand out as being outstanding in their field receive the ultimate accolade – the title of Pinot Gris Master.

Please visit The Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at:
sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2021

We reveal all the medallists from this year’s Global Pinot Noir Masters, and consider why the wines were more consistent, balanced, and ultimately better than ever before.

After almost a decade blind tasting Pinot Noir from around the world as part of our Global Masters series, I can confidently report that the quality of wines from this single variety have improved more than any other grape I’ve consistently sampled over the same period. The change has been so marked that this year’s Global Pinot Noir Masters featured very few wines that didn’t gain a medal, and among those that did, the majority achieved a Silver or higher. It was a remarkable performance for a variety famed for its pernickety nature, and, consequently, notable for producing wines of variable quality – something that’s been highlighted in previous competitions, where we’ve seen huge swings in scores from wine to wine.

And such a marked improvement in the reliability of Pinot quality is doubtless testament to advancements in viticulture practices and cellar management for this fragile grape. This change, I should imagine, is to the benefit of all wines – making good Pinot is the winemaking equivalent of fitness training at base camp, on Everest.

I think the changes come down to a number of factors, some long term, such as finding the best sites for a grape variety that likes warmth, but not extreme heat; dry conditions, but not drought; plenty of sun, but not scorching rays. It’s also down to vine age, with Pinot Noir generally thought to start delivering really appealing results around 10-12 years after planting, meaning that those newer Pinot areas that were attracting comment for their potential, are now starting to deliver the expected results.

Then there are those developments related to the vine’s management; the changes during the growing season that can yield improvements by the year end, such as the level of bunch shading, or yield control – be it due to winter pruning to reduce bud numbers, or green harvesting to drop excessive berries, even dividing the bunches themselves to aid the disease-free development of flavonoids. The aim of such approaches can be to reduce yields to enhance flavour and concentration, but also to reduce sunburn, and extend the growing season, allowing for slow ripening, favoured for the creation of Pinot’s sought-after characters: sweet berry fruit; a light body; fine, ripe tannins, and fresh acidity. It’s a combination that requires skill to achieve, and experience of when to pick, as gaining Pinot’s soft ripe fruit and tannin is hard to do when you’re also attempting to bring in berries that will yield wines with a bright acidity and a delicate feeling on the tongue. It’s why Pinot can swing in either stylistic direction without careful vineyard management and harvesting decisions: the wines can be thin, astringent and green, or hot, jammy and dull. In between is something that’s unusual in red wines, a wonderful result that slides down the throat like a ripe white, while carrying the flavours of a fine red wine.

It’s why the expectations are so high for Pinot – which is the source of the world’s most valuable wines – and also why the disappointments can be acute.

But great Pinot is not all about the vineyard management. The climate, and the vagaries of the weather during the growing season are out of the winemakers’ control, even though the effects can be mitigated. Soil type, while fixed, is another factor to consider – and it’s notable that, to make great Pinot, you don’t need to have a clay-limestone soil, the basis of the most revered Pinot vineyards in the world, those of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or.

Indeed, our medallists this year represented a wide range of types, among which were slate (Ahr), granite (Casablanca, Valais), silty-clay (Willamette), sandstone (Russian River), and chalk (Champagne).

Finally, winemaking is key with Pinot. In this regard, it seems there has been a major stride forward, with an apparent sensitivity among cellar hands when working with this grape. I say that based on the taste and texture of this year’s entries, where, in terms of the former, the wines were dominated by fresh, Pinot fruit characters – not bitter stems (from the inclusion of green woody components in the ferments), or sweet chocolate (from too much new oak). As for the texture, the wines had plenty of tannins – which are needed for the dry feeling they impart – but these were fine and ripe, suggesting extraction regimes that were gentle.

The colours of the wines too were telling – they were mostly pale ruby, which, again, suggested sensitive handling of the berries during the winemaking process.

But these observations are general to the overall competition, and click here to read my 11 key findings from this year’s Global Pinot Noir Masters.

Meanwhile, please click here to read my review of the 10 best wines from this year’s tasting, and scroll down to see all the medallists from the 2021 Global Pinot Noir Masters, starting with sparkling and rosé.

About The Global Pinot Noir Masters

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Pinot Noir Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from a famous region or a lesser-known winemaking area of the world.

The top wines are awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stand out as being outstanding in their field receive the ultimate accolade – the title of Pinot Noir Master.

Please visit The Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

Read more

11 things you need to know about Pinot Noir right now

Top 10 Pinot Noirs of 2021

The best wines from The Global Pinot Grigio Masters

We bring you the best wines from The Global Pinot Grigio Masters 2020, taking in brilliant bottles from around the world, including Italy and France, as well as England, California, Oregon, Canada and New Zealand.

It’s said that popularity, like familiarity, breeds contempt, and what’s true of people, is also, it seems, applicable to Pinot Grigio. This variety, when used to produce delicate whites at low prices, has become so prevalent, it is often derided – that is, among wine drinkers with a snobbish side.

However, one should consider what it is about Pinot Grigio, or rather, Pinot Gris – it is a French grape after all – that made it so popular in the first place.

Well, its rise to become one of the world’s best-selling white grapes, alongside Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, relates to its lighter side as a fresh, apple-scented white from the northern Italian area of the Veneto – now successfully rebranded as Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC. Grown in this part of Europe, the grape carved out a market, particularly in the UK, for clean, vinous refreshment at a keen price, and at a time when the competition at this level may have been flabby, oxidative, or off-dry. And the same style of bright, fresh Pinot Grigio is popular today, despite its critics, who tend to mock the wines for being dull and dilute – a fair accusation only for the cheapest expressions from over-cropped vineyards; wines that wouldn’t pass the new DOC taste tests.

The vast majority of Pinot Grigio from around the Veneto, however, is a delight, loaded with ripe orchard fruits and lemon zest, with notes of cream and bitter almond too.

But this is just one face of Pinot Grigio, and therein lies its appeal. It can take on many forms, from light pink, or ‘gris’, to sparkling, bone dry to richly sweet.

Plus, it performs well in a wide variety of climes and soils – with our top scorers this year hailing from Italy and France as one might expect, but also England, California, Oregon, Canada and New Zealand.

Among the still dry wines, while Pinot Grigio flavour profiles can range from crisp apple and lemon to richer notes of pear and peach, it’s really the texture of the wine that tends to vary the most. This is a grape that can, if harvested late from low yielding vineyards, produce wines with a marked and satisfying oiliness, even without residual sugar.

Then there’s its affinity for ageing in wood, with nutty characters complementing the variety’s yellow fruit notes, and honeyed characters from oxidative handling in barriques balancing the grape’s citric edge.

In essence, you’d be wrong to knock Pinot Grigio, as it comes in many styles, and quality levels, from fine barrel-aged whites to fresh, delicate drops.

As for where to go for the best examples, well, look to our medalists in the following tables – with reliably good Pinot Grigio producers including Frescobaldi (Attems), Castello di Roncade, Mission Hill Estate, La Roncaia and Marisco (The King’s Thorn).

One final point, and that concerns a loose guide to the type of Pinot Grigio you can expect. Generally, those wines labelled Pinot Gris tend to be richer and more viscous in style. The areas where that character is favoured tend to be Alsace and Marlborough.

So, if you like your whites with weight, look to these parts of the wine world. But if it’s something light you’re after, then Italy is an ideal source, if not the only place for such a bright type of white, as the results from the competition show.

Please read on for the results in full from 2020’s Global Pinot Grigio Masters, along with some comments from the judges, and further information about the competition.

Sparkling White Pinot Gris

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Cantina Viticoltori Ponte Spumante DOC Brut delle Venezie Veneto Italy NV Silver
La Cantina Pizzolato Sparkling DOC delle Venezie Extra Dry Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
La Cantina Pizzolato Sparkling DOC delle Venezie Extra Brut “So Easy” Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
£30-£50
Fox & Fox Inspiration Brut Blanc de Gris Sussex UK 2014 Gold

Sparkling Rosé Pinot Gris

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
£15-£20
Think Wine Group Think Pink Veneto Italy NV Bronze

Unoaked Pinot Gris 

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Castello di Roncade Pinot Grigio DOC Venezia Veneto Italy 2019 Gold
Bestheim Pinot Gris Premium Reserve Alsace France 2019 Gold
Citra Vini Farinelli Pinot Grigio Abruzzo Italy 2019 Silver
Poderi dal Nespoli Il Papavero Pinot Grigio Sicily Italy 2019 Silver
Perlage Winery Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Cantina Viticoltori Ponte Pinot Grigio DOC delle Venezie Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Bosco Viticultori Bosco dei Cirmioli Pinot Grigio DOC delle Venezie Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Ca’ di Rajo Pinot Grigio Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Antonio Facchin e Figli Pinot Grigio DOC delle Venezie Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Enoitalia Ca’ Mandato Pinot Grigio Trentino DOC Trentino Italy 2018 Silver
Casa Vinicola Sartori Pinot Grigio Friuli Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Silver
Casa Vinicola Sartori Pinot Grigio delle Venezie “Villa Mura” Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Fossa Mala Pinot Grigio Friuli Italy 2019 Silver
Aldi Ireland Freeman’s Bay New Zealand Pinot Gris Gisborne Italy 2019 Silver
Cecilia Beretta “Grigio Luna” Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Ca’Duso Motolo – tRe Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Cavit Mastri Vernacoli Pinot Grigio Trentino DOC Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Silver
Aldi Ireland Castellore Pinot Grigio Sauvignon Sicily Italy 2019 Silver
Qualia Wines Barramundi Pinot Grigio SE Australia Australia 2018 Bronze
te Pā Family Vineyards Pa Road Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Bronze
Kris Winery Kris Pinot Grigio DOC delle Venezie Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Bronze
Vigna Dogarina Pinot Grigio DOC Venezia Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Concilio Pinot Grigio Sentiero dei Pini Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Bronze
Concilio Pinot Grigio delle Venezie Il Pino Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Enoitalia Pendium Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Casa Vinicola Sartori Arco dei Giovi Pinot Grigio delle Venezie Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Casa Girelli Canaletto Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2020 Bronze
Antonutti Pinot Grigio DOC Friuli Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Bronze
Cielo e Terra Bericanto Pinot Grigio DOC Vicenza Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Perlage Winery Terra Viva Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Cantine di Ora Il Casato – Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC Valdadige Italy 2019 Bronze
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Pasqua Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Cavit Terrazze della Luna Pinot Grigio Trentino DOC Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Bronze
Santa Helena Santa Helena Varietal Central Valley Chile 2020 Bronze
Aldi Ireland Castellore Pinot Grigio Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Aldi Ireland Castellore Organico Pinot Grigio Terre Siciliane IGT Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
Mission Hill Estate Winery Estate Series Pinot Gris Okanagan Valley Canada 2019 Gold
Trinchero Family Estates SeaGlass Pinot Grigio Santa Barbara County USA 2018 Gold
Wakefield/Taylors Wines Wakefield Taylors Pinot Gris Clare Valley Australia 2019 Silver
Castelfeder Winery Pinot Grigio 15 Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards The Ned Pinot Grigio Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards Leefield Station Pinot Gris Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Trinchero Family Estates Three Thieves Pinot Grigio California USA 2018 Silver
Cavit Bottega Vinai Pinot Grigio Trentino DOC Trentino Italy 2019 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards Montford Pinot Gris Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards te Pa Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Yealands Wine Group Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Auckland New Zealand 2018 Bronze
te Pa Family Vineyards Pa Road Pinot Gris Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Bronze
Attems Attems Pinot Grigio Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Bronze
Cantine di Ora/Kellerei Auer Pinot Grigio DOC Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Bronze
£15-£20
Trinchero Family Estates Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Gris Oregon USA 2018 Gold
The Lane Vineyard The Lane Pinot Gris Adelaide Hills Australia 2020 Silver
Cavit Ruendis Pinot Grigio Trentino Superiore DOC Trentino Italy 2018 Silver
Colle Duga Collio Pinot Grigio Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2018 Silver
Cabert – Cantina di Bertiolo Pinot Grigio DOC Friuli Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Silver
Banfi San Angelo Toscana Italy 2019 Bronze
Stopham Vineyard Winery Stopham Pinot Gris West Sussex UK 2018 Bronze
Masottina Ai Palazzi Dorsoduro DOC delle Venezie Veneto Italy 2018 Bronze
£20-£30
Mission Hill Estate Winery Reserve Pinot Gris Okanagan Valley Canada 2019 Master
Giusti Wine Pinot Grigio Longheri Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Cantina Valle Isarco Pinot Grigio Aristos Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Silver

Oaked Pinot Gris

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
£10-£15
Marisco Vineyards The King’s Thorn Pinot Gris Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Gold
te Pa Family Vineyards te Pa Pinot Gris Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
£15-£20
Nals Margreid Punggl Pinot Grigio Bolzano Italy 2019 Silver
£20-£30
La Roncaia La Roncaia Pinot Grigio Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Master
La Roncaia La Roncaia Pinot Grigio Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy 2018 Master
Masottina Ai Palazzi Pinot Grigio Single Vineyard DOC Venezia Veneto Italy 2017 Silver

Rosé Pinot Gris

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Albino Armani Colle Ara Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Silver
Cavit Pinot Grigio Rosato IGT Vigneti delle
Dolomiti Terrazze della Luna
Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Silver
di Lenardo Gossip Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Bronze
Concilio Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC Il Pino Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Silver

Judge’s comment: David Round MW

Pinot Grigio is a grape with a reputation for uniformity and inoffensiveness that makes it commercially extremely appealing while failing to excite a feeling of anticipation. This tasting showed in sharp relief the variability of this variety, according not only to climate, but also specific location.
This broad range of styles was evident even in the under £10 category, which revealed Pinot Grigio to be a chameleon of a grape. Sometimes it had a combination of green apple and high acidity reminiscent of Loire Chenin Blanc, while we saw examples with a gooseberry and grassy character that were a dead ringer for Sauvignon Blanc (Mission Hill, Canada). We even saw a lychee character that pointed more towards Gewurztraminer (Yealand, New Zealand and Three Thieves, California).
Winemaking also plays its part. There were lots of wines with a slightly reductive, struck match, hydrogen sulphide character that is clearly deliberate and quite appealing when well-judged. This seems to be common among New Zealand examples (three Te Pa wines from Marlborough), but also Californian (Seaglass) and only really appears above £10.
Below that price level, the most successful examples were showed clean, unadulterated flavours of apple, pear, peach, apricot and gooseberry, often with an added herbal component in the form of fennel or coriander, and the riper examples extended to lychee and guava. Typically the wines had good balancing acidity. The standard was high.
The oaked wines that we saw were pretty much universally successful, showing good integration and harmony.

Judge’s comment: Patricia Stefanowicz MW

A delightful judging day with plenty of interest and surprises! The global selection contained so many delicious wines with the best having purity, juicy fruit flavours and balance. When oak was used, the wood seemed to integrate rather than dominate.

As expected, northern Italy dominated the inexpensive unoaked Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris. The best showed lovely custard or peach and passionfruit flavours and balanced acidity with accents of rose petal, white flowers or orange and lemon zest. These Under £10 wines seemed best when dry or nearly dry with relatively low alcohol and sufficient acidity. Easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing wines. There were some lovely Pinot Grigio DOC wines from the Veneto and a couple of exciting Pinot Gris-styles from Alsace and Alto Adige. At £10-15 there were expressive wines from New and Old World regions and a few excellent examples of pure Pinot Gris from Friuli in the far northeastern reaches of Italy, Okanagan in Canada and Santa Barbara in California. Excellent value-for money exists in this price bracket.

Above £15 the wines performed consistently well with many of the wines receiving Silvers at least. At the stratospheric end (for Pinot Gris) was a stunningly good example from Okanagan, which deserves a place on the table as an alternative to unoaked Chardonnay.

The, admittedly few, oaked white Pinot Gris were quite high-priced (£15 and upwards for the most part) and all deserving of silvers, golds and even a Master. These wines had beautifully-judged use of creamy oak supporting the lovely aromas and fleshy flavours of the variety.

The rosé Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio, albeit not a large group, were actually quite nice and relatively inexpensive, under £15. This appears to be growing category and probably with justification for easy-drinking styles, perfumed and juicy without too much sweetness.

Sparkling white Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio at Under £10 appears to be a valid alternative to Prosecco and the wines, with perhaps a little more citrus character and length of finish. One absolute ‘cracker’ was the (almost) outrageously expensive English Sparkling Pinot Gris, with balance, length, intensity and depth of flavour, worth every tuppence it costs.

A final comment: Some excellent wines and some excellent value. In comparison with previous years of The Global Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio Masters, I found much better consistency in every price bracket with not a single wine I would not drink a glass of.

About the competition

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Pinot Grigio Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from the great vineyards of Europe or lesser-known winemaking areas of the world. The 2020 competition was judged by David Round MW, Patrick Schmitt MW and Patricia Stefanowicz MW in December at London’s 28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen.

The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Pinot Grigio Master.

Here, we feature the medal winners only.

Please visit The Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

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