2023 Wine Judging - deliberations from our judges - days 1 & 2

Wine news

Tue 2 May 2023

By Kristen Dougall

Our 2023 Wine Judging is well underway, kicking off this year with our sparkling wine category. We caught up with our Wine Judging Committee member, sparkling and Champagne expert, Essi Avellan MW to find out what the highlights are from this year’s judging.

Essi was greatly impressed by the broad spectrum of styles and the great versatility of the sparkling wines entered into this year’s awards, with a very strong representation from Champagne, but also more and more emerging sparkling wine countries coming to the forefront, namely Japan and Ukraine.

It was Champagnes from the 2008 vintage that were strong contenders for medals this year, with the vintage showing particularly well with its rich and complex flavours demonstrating beauitful ageing. Two golds and a high silver were awarded. Our judges also noted a stand-out Champagne from 1999, demonstrating fantastic ageability.

English sparkling wine continued to shine with a handful of gold medals awarded by our judges. The English Blanc de Noirs performed well with many receiving bronze medals and one silver medal. The judges really saw a lot of potential, with the wines demonstrating great complexity, autolytic notes with a brilliant balance of fruit.

Two stand-out wines, one from the Loire Valley awarded a gold-medal and really exciting our judges, as well as an Australian sparkling Muscat which stood out for its varietal typicity, great balance of sweetness, aromatic fruit and lifted acidity.

Finally, Canadian sparkling was definitely the talk of the judging room, with our judges impressed by a particular sparkling Riesling that gained high scores as well as high praise.


The IWSC’s 2023 Wine Results will be available from 22 May 2023. Discover other deliberations from this series on our News page here.