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Sommelier Wine Awards 2015
2015 was another impressive vintage for the Sommelier Wine Awards with over 2,500 entries and a stellar line-up of some of the UK's finest sommeliers on the look-out for the best on-trade wines of the year.
Entries came from a wide range of countries in both the Old and New Worlds. They included wines from classic regions and areas still finding their feet, from bankable international varieties and unusual indigenous grapes. There were new arrivals and established stars, top vintages and skilful winemaking.
Chris Losh, competition director said: “Our submitters deserve huge credit for their work this year. Most of them clearly thought about the specific needs of the on-trade and selected their wines accordingly. The result was an incredible numberof good entries, more gold medals and extremely positive feedback from our judges throughout the competition.”
The sommeliers who judge the Sommelier Wine Awards work day-in day-out in the UK’s restaurants. They are knowledgeable, experienced and passionate about championing great wine to theircustomers. Judged by the on-trade for the on-trade, this competition is a barometer of what is hot in the world of wine and a reference for anyone serious about their wine list.
Here are some of this year’s competition highlights, as picked by the judges:
2015: the year of Italy
Italy boasts the highest number of Golds in SWA 2015 as well as the highest number of Trophies. France may have won the most medals overall, but Italy consistently scored well in the top categories. A special mention needs to go to Trentino, Alto Adige & Friuli. The SWA tasters loved pretty much all of the wines put forward by the North-Eastern valleys, praising their character, their uniqueness and their food-friendliness. Overall, Italy took home a staggering six Food Match Trophies, with classic favourites like Chianti and Verdicchio as well as ‘hot’ offerings from Puglia and Trentino. With another two Critics’ Choices, two By The Glass and One Perfect Pub Quartet Trophies, Italy demonstrated the versatility, personality and value, which made it the clear on-trade favourite of 2015.
No longer the new kids on the block, the popularity of English wines continues to rise. England scooped up a record 47 medals in SWA this year, with double the number of Golds (ten) compared to last year – putting it one ahead of South Africa in terms of Gold. English wines also won two Critics’ Choice Trophies for both still and sparkling offerings. There were a total of 34 medals for UK fizz this year, against only seven as recently as 2013. Perhaps best of all, the tasters no longer view it as a quirky oddity, but an essential part of any balanced sparkling wine selection.
One to watch: the rise of Turkey
With an impressive seven Gold medals, eight Silvers, one By The Glass Trophy and one Critics’ Choice Trophy, Turkey put in an impressive performance in this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards, racking up a total of 26 medals against only eight in 2014. Since bursting onto the competition’s landscape a couple of years ago, Turkey has quickly imposed itself as a wine-producing country to watch. Wines range from light and more modern to heavier and more rustic, from international grapes to unpronounceable Turkish varieties. One thing is clear, these should all be on your radar, and on your list.
2015 SWA LEAGUE TABLE
|France||376||45||110||84||137||3CC, 2BTG, 1FM|
|Italy||272||46||82||57||87||2BTG, 2CC, 6FM, 1PPQ|
CC=Critics’ Choice, FM=Food Match, BTG=By The Glass, PPQ=Perfect Pub Quartet.
Full competition results are available online at www.sommelierwineawards.com
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