We are diving into the final week of our wine judging, with plenty more countries still to taste, but these last two days have been focused on wines from France and Australia.
Alistair Cooper MW, our Wine Judging Committee member overseeing France, took some time out of judging to share some of the highlights from France. With 2021 being a particularly difficult vintage in France, Alistair noted that there were still quite a few wines that managed to shine through.
The wines from the south of France, Rhône and Terrasses du Larzac, demonstrated slightly different styles that our judges were pleasantly surprised by.
Wines from Alsace also impressed our judges, the wines that were awarded medals stood out for their bright fruit characters, rounded palates and good fruit concentration. The Grand Crus were a highlight, with their great concentration and vibrant acidity. The flights of Gewürztraminer shone, with pleasant freshness, integrated acidity and overall balance – resulting in a number of medals for the grape.
Chablis was another region that performed well for our judges, with a mixture of vintages showing very nicely, including 2020. The skilled use of barrel-fermentation excited our judges. The reds from Burgundy were another highlight for our judges. They noted that the 2020 vintage performed better than other vintages, with judges commenting on the depth of fruit ripeness giving the wines great concentration, structure and potential to age.
Moving down under to Australia, Alex Hunt MW was leading the panels through the impressive number of flights. Alex commented, “We had a lot of silver medals today which was great to see, because ultimately, silver is the bread and butter of excellence. What I think builds the foundation of a region's reputation is consistently delivering at that excellent silver level and today that level was met. The silver medals really showcase wines of balance, and wines showing regional character.”
Highlights from our judges included, Clare Valley Shiraz, showing real elegance and balance. The wines had great savoury and black olive complexity along with elegant tannins. The Rieslings also showed great consistency, with fresh and floral characters impressing our judges, but also the wines' capacity to age.
Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills and Piccadilly Valley had some excellent wines, demonstrating power and complexity, as well as well-judged reduction. The reductive notes were present across a particular flight, but our judges noted that this is very much still in fashion, and these wines showed the winemaking technique expertly used to create freshness and complexity, making these a joy to taste.
It was the flights of Nero d’Avola that showed what Australia can do with Italian varieties. The wines showed excellent judgement of ripeness in the fruit and nice savoury complexity.
The IWSC’s 2023 Wine Results will be available from 22 May 2023. Discover other deliberations from this series on our News page here.