The medallists from The Champagne Masters 2020

We bring you the full list of medallists from this year’s Champagne Masters, one of the biggest blind tastings of this famous fizz, employing Masters of Wine only.

Patrick Schmitt MW at The Champagne Masters 2020

Having previously written about some of the highlights from the 2020 Champagne Masters, we are now revealing all the medal-winners from the tasting, which took in every major style of Champagne, and many of the region’s most famous names.

Notable among this year’s results was the strong performance by the region’s grower-cooperative brands, in particular Castelnau and Palmer, along with Collet and Nicolas Feuillatte, which together proved that there is both quality and value to be had with these less illustrious labels.

However, the star Champagne producer this year was grande marque Piper-Heidsieck, which has shown itself brilliant at crafting both very dry and sweet Champagnes, along with entry-level Brut NVs, great-value vintage, and a range-topping prestige cuvée, with its Rare 2006 the highest overall scorer of the 2020 tasting – and its Rare Rosé 2008 not far behind.

Coming close to Piper in terms of the tally of top medals was Henriot, a house that’s producing extremely fine Champagne at all levels, in particular rosé, and one that, in my view, deserves wider recognition.

Among the other notable names from this year’s tasting was Charles Heidsieck, as well as Pommery and Moët & Chandon, while we were also impressed by the quality of cuvées from a relative newcomer to the Champagne scene, the house of Brimoncourt.

Please see below for the results in full and more information on The Champagne Masters, including how to enter.

For a full report on the tasting and an in-depth review of the trends taking hold in Champagne right now, see this year’s Champagne Report by the drinks business.


Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
Aldi Stores UK Veuve Monsigny Brut Brut Bronze
Champagne Vollereaux Brut Réserve Brut Bronze
Champagne Castelnau Brut Réserve Brut Gold
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grande Réserve Brut Silver
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Brut Brut Silver
Champagne Cuillier Perpétuel Brut Bronze
Champagne Vollereaux Célébration Brut Premier Cru Brut Bronze
Champagne Fallet Dart Heres Brut Bronze
Champagne Palmer & Co Brut Réserve Brut Gold
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Apanage Brut Brut Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Brut Gold
Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain Brut Gold
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV Brut Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Sublime Demi-sec Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Extra-brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Brut Royal Brut Silver
Champagne Brimoncourt Brut Régence Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Brut NV Brut Silver
Champagne Vincent d’Astrée Brut Premier Cru Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm RSRV 4.5 Brut Silver
Frerejean Frères Brut NV Premier Cru Brut Silver
Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Brut Silver
Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut NV Brut Silver
Champagne Lanson Le Black Label Brut Silver
Champagne Collet Brut Art Déco Premier Cru Brut Bronze
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Réserve Exclusive Brut Bronze
Champagne Deutz Deutz Brut Classic Brut Bronze
Champagne Lanson Le White Label Sec Sec Bronze
Champagne Brimoncourt Extra Brut Grand Cru Extra-brut Gold
Charles Heidsieck Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve Brut Silver


Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
Champagne Vollereaux Cuvée Marguerite 2011 Brut Silver
Champagne Collet Millésime 2008 Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm Millesime 2013 Brut Silver
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Vintage 2012 Brut Master
Champagne Palmer & Co Vintage 2012 Brut Gold
Charles Heidsieck Vintage Brut 2012 Brut Gold
Champagne Castelnau Blanc de Blancs 2006 Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2012 Brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Grand Cru 2008 Brut Silver
Champagne Henriot Brut Millésimé 2008 Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Brut 2012 Brut Silver
Champagne Lanson Le Vintage 2009 Brut Silver

Prestige Cuvée

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Terroir Premier Cru NV Brut Silver
Champagne Cuillier Grande Réserve NV Extra Brut Bronze
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millésime 2006 Brut Master
Champagne Henriot Cuvée Hemera 2006 Extra Brut Master
Champagne Deutz Amour de Deutz 2010 Brut Gold
Centre Vinicole – Champagne
Nicolas Feuillatte
Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage 2008 Brut Gold
G.H. Mumm RSRV Lalou 2006 Brut Gold
Champagne Lanson Lanson Noble Cuvée 2002 Brut Gold
Champagne Comtes de Dampierre Family Reserve Blanc de Blancs
Grand Cru 2012
Brut Gold
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes D’Or Rosé Vintage 2008 Brut Gold
Champagne Deutz William Deutz 2009 Brut Silver
Champagne Fallet Dart Cuvée Quercus NV Extra Brut Silver
Champagne Fallet Dart Cuvée Eocene NV Extra Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2006 Brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Cuvée Louise 2004 Brut Silver

Blanc de Blancs

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
G.H. Mumm RSRV Blanc de Blancs 2014 Brut Master
Champagne Collet Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru NV Brut Gold
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grand Chardonnay NV Brut Silver
Champagne Vincent d’Astrée Brut Millésime Premier Cru 2011 Brut Silver
Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Gold
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2006 Brut Gold
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Blanc de Blancs NV Extra Brut Silver
Champagne Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs NV Brut Silver
Champagne J. de Telmont Blanc de Blancs
Grand Couronnement 2006
Brut Silver
Champagne Frerejean Frères VV26 NV Grand Cru Brut Bronze

Blanc de Noirs

Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grand Meunier NV Extra Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm RSRV Blanc de Noirs 2012 Brut Silver


Company Wine Name Dosage Medal
Champagne Brimoncourt Brut Rosé Brut Gold
G.H. Mumm RSRV Rosé Foujita Brut Gold
Champagne Collet Brut Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Collet Rosé Dry Collection Privée Sec Silver
Champagne Castelnau Rosé NV Brut Silver
Vranken-Pommery Monopole Pommery Brut Rosé Royal Brut Silver
Champagne Fallet Dart Rosé Anthocyane Brut Silver
G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Lanson Le Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Beaumont des Crayères Grand Rosé Brut Bronze
Champagne Vincent d’Astrée Brut Rosé Premier Cru Brut Bronze
Champagne Palmer & Co Rosé Solera Brut Bronze
Rare Champagne Rare Rosé Millésime 2008 Brut Master
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve Brut Master
Champagne Henriot Rosé Millésime 2012 Brut Gold
Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé Sec Silver
Champagne Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé Brut Silver
Champagne Deutz Deutz Brut Rosé Brut Silver


The judges (left to right): Simon Field MW, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW and Patrick Schmitt MW

The Champagne Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and is an extension of its successful Masters series for grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as regions like Rioja and Tuscany. The competition is exclusively for Champagne, and the entries were judged using Schott Zwiesel Cru Classic glasses supplied by Wine Sorted. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding received the ultimate accolade – the title of Champagne Master.

The Champagnes were judged on 4-5 September by Patrick Schmitt MW, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW and Simon Field MW.

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:

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Global Malbec Masters 2019: the results in full

All the medallists and extensive analysis from the latest Malbec-only tasting from the Global Masters, featuring the best samples from Argentina and Chile, and a surprising discovery from Spain.

The entries were judged on 7 November in The London Marriott Hotel, County Hall

The Malbec revival may be a recent phenomenon, but this single grape has already been through several phases. In fact, during the course of this century alone, it has swung to stylistic extremes, before settling into a happy medium, meaning that the development of Malbec has many similarities to Chardonnay’s changing character over the same period.

What’s the basis for such a statement? It’s an opinion formed from many years of Global Masters tastings for both grapes – and you can read more about Chardonnay’s style today on pages 68-73. As for Malbec, there was a point in the past decade when it seemed that being bigger was definitely better. This applied to fruit sugars, new oak percentages, alcohol levels and, it should be noted, bottle weights too. The result was something heavy in every sense, as well as deeply red, powerfully flavoured, tannic, sometimes slightly raisined, and definitely sweet to taste, mainly due to the amount of vanillin extracted from the brand new barrels. Like it or not, one couldn’t fail to remember it, and Malbec on a label became a shorthand for juicy, rich red wine. Ally that style to marbled steak, and you had a highly successful partnership that catapulted Malbec on to the global stage, but particularly in major wine-importing markets where red meat is consumed widely – so the UK and US.

As for the source of such a memorable wine style, that was Argentina, specifically Mendoza, and its sub-region Luján de Cuyo. This warm region on the outskirts of the city of Mendoza, home to the country’s oldest plantings of Malbec, was ideally suited to producing concentrated reds.

However, with time, the style and sourcing of Malbec changed. Indeed, a few years ago, our Global Malbec Masters was seeing a new type of Argentine red. This was a lighter style, sometimes with peppery flavours similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhône, or a hint of celery and spicy salad leaves, like rocket, suggestive of fruit that hadn’t reached full ripeness. This was partly a result of cooler Argentine climes, primarily a widespread move into the high-altitude Uco Valley, and partly due to the winemaker, who was intent on finding a fresher, tighter, sharper style of Malbec by picking earlier. A less structured red was also evident, achieved by reducing the influence of barriques and handling the grapes in a gentler manner during fermentations – less pumping and pushing of the must will lower the tannin extraction.

The shift in our tastings notes was marked. While common descriptors had included ripe, fleshy black fruit, creamy coconut, dense tannins, warming alcohols, and glass-staining colours only a few years ago, a scan over the judges’ tasting notes more recently would see words appearing regularly such as red cherry and plum, medium-weight, green pepper, and celery leaf. In a fairly short period of time the Argentine Malbec style had shifted from forceful red to restrained wine, and division among the judges was evident as some welcomed the brighter style, others saw the more herbaceous elements as a weakness.

So what about now? Following a day spent tasting mostly Argentine Malbecs from a range of sources within this country, and across all price bands, it appears that this grape has found a middle-ground. Yes extremes in style are still evident, but for the most part, the Malbec making its way on to the market today has ripe, juicy red fruit, firm tannins, a touch of toasty oak, and a pleasant hint of spice. It is neither too sweet, nor too lean. And it is identifiably Malbec, with its deep colour, and firm structure.

From my own perspective, I’m pleased to see Malbec has found a sweet-spot. Although I could understand the urge to experiment with a light, even slightly green style of wine, there are plenty of reds that deliver such delicacy, particularly with the fast-development of cooler-climate Syrahs from the New World. In my view, Malbec’s strength, particularly when sourced from Argentina, is its ability to create a concentrated, structured red, and one that can happily carry high-toast new oak. It is also this type of wine that made Malbec identifiable, and successful. In the same way that most consumers won’t choose a Chardonnay when they want a delicate white, few would opt for a Malbec when they desire a light red.

As for backing away from extremes in ripeness and oak-influence, that is a healthy evolution for the top end examples, where it would be a shame to lose the fresh fruit flavours from high quality grapes, either by leaving the bunches on the vine so long that the inherent berry characters get baked, or through burying their appeal beneath a wave of barrel-sourced scents and tannins.

With such an extended stylistic analysis concluded, what were the sources of Malbec greatness in our 2019 tasting? While this tasting was primarily a health-check on the state of the grape in Argentina, there were some other countries that surprised the tasters for the quality of their Malbec. With the grape’s popularity assured, more places have been trying their hand with Malbec, while its native home, Cahors in South West France, has seen producers work to create a richer style of red from the grape – one that’s more in line with the character achieved with ease in Argentina. By way of example, last year’s Malbec Master was from Château Lagrezette – a historic Cahors property with Michel Rolland as consultant. But this year, although not a Master, the judges were amazed to find a Malbec from Spain rubbing shoulders with respected Argentine names from Norton to Colomé and Salentein. Gaining a Gold in the £20-£30 price band was Bodegas Clunia in Castilla y León, which had crafted a ripe, dense, toasty, juicy and structured red to rival the finest in South America. It was also the highest scoring sample from outside Argentina.

As for those that weren’t from this Latin nation, there were some good Malbecs from Chile – with medals awarded to Viñedos Puertas, Via Wines, Viña Indomita, Concha y Toro, Viña Cremashi, Viu Manent, Viña San Esteban and Morandé. There was also a delicious example from Wakefield Estate in Australia’s Clare Valley, which picked up a Silver, as did, much to the surprise of the judges, an example from Burgenland in Austria, made by Kraft aus Rust, and loaded with plum and cherry fruit, along with a peppery spice, not unlike the wines from this nation’s flagship red grape, Blaufränkisch.

Within Argentina, it was notable to see the breadth of Malbec styles, with this year, the competition’s first ever white Malbec – a fascinating arrival to the category with an oily texture, and peachy fruit.

Among the Malbec Masters for 2019, it was impressive to see Bodega Aleanna pick up this ultimate accolade for its El Enemigo Malbec sub £20, with the rest of this year’s Masters all awarded to wines over this price point, and mostly over £30.

The tasting proved a particular endorsement for the quality of Malbecs being made by Bodega Norton, but also Colomé, Atamisque and Salentein, along with Trapiche and Doña Paula. Interestingly, the latter two producers, who specialise in isolating special sites and bottling single vineyard Malbecs, gained strong Golds for their expressive wines. However, the Masters went to Malbecs that blended grapes from across a broader area, lending the wines a touch more complexity perhaps?

Having said that, among such stars of the day, was the single vineyard biodynamic Alpamanta Estate, which wowed for its fleshy cherry and blackberry frut, as well as tobacco and chocolate notes.

Another Master was awarded to Fincas Patagonicas, whose Black Tears Malbec is soft, dense and just plain delicious. While for me, the ultimate expression of the day turned out to be the famous Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino. The wine, which hailed from the 2017 vintage, was very much in its youth, with masses of taught tannins, but also intense pure blue, red and black berry fruit, and lingering characters of roasted coffee, pepper and plums. Certainly a great Malbec, but also a fine wine that’s capable of standing alongside the most celebrated reds of the world.

Over the following pages you can see all the medallists from this year’s competition, as well as comments from the judges (who are pictured below), and more information about the Global Sparkling Masters, including how to enter.

The judges (left to right): Patrick Schmitt MW, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Andrea Bricarello, Jonathan Pedley MW, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW, David Round MW

The Global Sparkling Masters 2019: results in full

Our annual Sparkling Masters gives the judges the chance to hone in on which fizzes are hitting the spot in terms of taste, quality and value. This year, they were particularly impressed with the quality of crémants from the Loire.

Of all
the categories in the wine business, it’s sparkling where the competition appears to be the most intense. Whether its between regions, or countries, there seems to be a near-ceaseless urge to prove that one fizz-making area is better than another, with producers pitted against each other in a range of tastings.

It’s why we tend to see headlines such as ‘English fizz beats Champagne in landmark tasting’, ‘Aussie sparkling voted best in the world’, or ‘Discount crémant better than fizz costing five times the price’, and so on.

While we take no issue with the reporting, it is worth considering the nature of such comparisons. How are these tastings being conducted? And who are the judges? After all, with an issue as emotive as sparkling wine quality, it’s vital that such events employ professionals, and the organisers do their best to minimise any bias.

Repeated sampling

With such thoughts in mind, it is important to state that db’s tastings see samples judged ‘blind’, although the entries are organised loosely according to style, and presented in given price bands. As for the tasters, they must be Masters of Wine, or Master Sommeliers, and where buyers or writers are enlisted, it is because they are specialists in the category being judged. Not only that, but every entry is scored then discussed, ensuring that each taster’s result is scrutinised by a peer, and every wine is properly assessed. This may be a drawn-out process, often involving repeated sampling of the same wine, but it yields credible results, which are then shared in full here, and in the magazine too, with the addition of analysis and opinion.

In short, with the Global Sparkling Masters, you can trust the results, which have been arrived at via a rigorous tasting process, one conducted purely to assess quality, not to yield a particular outcome. So, the conclusions we draw from a day’s sampling are based on the nature of the samples submitted, and yes, sometimes the results do yield a sensational outcome, but that is by accident, not design.

So, what were the headline findings from this year’s Global Sparkling Masters? Initially, the tasting highlighted the broad sweep of places now making delicious traditional-method sparkling wine. We had Golds from bottle-fermented fizz-producing areas from the Loire to the Western Cape, Hungary to Hampshire, and New Zealand to Austria. In other words, if you thought the source of great sparkling wine was either France or Spain – or just Champagne or Cava – be prepared for a surprise as you scan the origins of our medallists this year.

Also, for those who believe that Prosecco is the go-to for little more simple-tasting fizz, then think again. When this tank-method sparkling was tasted blind against similarly priced bottled-fermented products, it did just as well or better, in many cases. This was true at higher prices too, with, for example, Andreola’s Dirupo Brut Prosecco picking up a Gold in the £30-£50 sparkling wine flight, along with a traditional-method fizz from Austria (Schlumberger Wein) and one from England (Louis Pommery).

We were also impressed by the quality-to-price ratio among the sparkling wines from two producers in particular: South Africa’s Pongracz and Hungary’s Törley. But if one were to pick out the source of the best-value fizz on the market based on this year’s tasting, it would have to be the Loire. As you can see in the tables, two names stood out for their crémants – the name for bottle-fermented fizz from France that hails from outside Champagne. These were Bouvet Ladubay and Langlois Château. The most keenly priced Gold-medal-winning fizz of the competition was the £11 Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Crémant de Loire Brut, which is made by Bouvet Ladubay for the supermarket. The sparkling wine garnered a high score for its combination of richness and refreshment, combining the cleansing flavours of apple and chalk, with more creamy characters, and a touch of honey-coated toast, which provided added interest.

Quality fizz

Such was the quality of this fizz for the money, the judges agreed that they would now be looking closely at crémant when selecting wines for their own events.
Bearing in mind the creep upwards of Champagne prices in this decade, it’s becoming more common for consumers to seek out a cheaper alternative to this famous fizz when pouring a sparkling wine for big, celebratory events.

And, if one goes to other aspirational traditional-method winemaking regions, such as Franciacorta in Italy, or the southern counties of England, such as Kent and Sussex, you’ll find brilliant quality, but also prices that are similar, if not higher, than an equivalent Brut NV from Champagne.

Delicious options

So it was exciting to find in this year’s Global Sparkling Masters that there are delicious options of creamy, gently toasty fizz on the market today at roughly half the price of grandes marques Champagnes.

Some of these were from the Loire, but there were a wide range of other sources providing an exciting set of choices for the open-minded sparkling wine lover. This is an extremely competitive area of the wine business, but like all areas of the drinks industry, it pays to look broadly in the search for quality and value.

Over the following pages you can see all the medallists from this year’s competition, as well as comments from the judges (who are pictured below), and more information about the Global Sparkling Masters, including how to enter.

The judges (left to right): Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW, Simon Field MW, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Ennio Pucciarelli, Antony Moss MW, Andrea Briccarello, Patrick Schmitt MW