Sommelier Wine Awards Revealed
The 2018 Sommelier Wine Awards (SWA) results have been announced and we're delighted to reveal a staggering 136 wines from our portfolio have received an award.
This includes 13 Gold Medals, 39 Silver Medals and one special trophy. As the only competition aimed solely at the On Trade, SWA is judged by a top panel of leading sommeliers and On Trade drinks buyers. The competition rewards the best wines available to restaurants, bars and hotels in the UK and beyond.
We're absolutely thrilled to receive this level of recognition from SWA and are proud to be representing so many producers who are consistently crafting wines of such a high calibre. We’ve been scouring the globe for the last 12 months to continue to bring our customers an amazing selection of the world’s best wines, that offer quality and value at every price point. The results from this year’s SWA confirms all our the passion and hard work we're putting in has not gone unnoticed.
THE GOLDEN THIRTEEN
Gold Medal + Food Match Trophy: ‘Ripe, rich, round and very good value,’ began team leader Nigel Lister as this noteworthy Petite Sirah was elevated to Gold, adding praise for its ‘soft notes of toffee and caramel – an opulent, velvety style with dark chocolate notes and crushed raspberry, and fresh acidity’. ‘Lots of chunky blackberry, violets and rose with good structure,’ thought team leader Andrea Briccarello, while Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia highlighted its ‘savoury, crispy bacon’ character.
Judges had no hesitation in awarding this complex sparkling wine a Gold medal. While The Don’s Carlos Ferreira found ‘peachy stone fruit and red apple on the nose, really good balance and a creamy aftertaste’, team leader Angela Reddin enjoyed its ‘light, delicate nose of meadow flowers and oyster shell, with baker’s shop pastries on the palate and a savoury umami finish’. ‘Definitely a food wine,’ summed up team leader Martin Lam, suggesting roast chicken as a good match.
‘A complete wine,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW in her praise, as Ixsir picked up the first of its two medals in this category, finding it ‘impressively ripe and juicy, with floral, fragrant and sumptuous cherry fruit’. Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte highlighted its ‘elegant palate, with a silky but grippy structure, and notes of leather, earth and black pepper, not to mention some dense fruit’, while Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin commended its ‘fine oak and powerful, juicy tannins’.
2016 Massale Pinot Noir, Kooyong
Earning Gold with its ‘fresh, crisp, juicy red fruits, soft tannins and good acidity’, this was undoubtedly ‘well made, and silky-textured’, according to Christoph Hons of Park Chinois, while for Bleeding Heart Group’s Chris Delalonde MS it had a noteworthy ‘fruit-driven palate, with cherries and smoky spices in good balance with the tannins, and some oak emerging on the finish’. This all led to team leader Laurent Richet MS’s assertion that it was ‘easy drinking, and great by the glass’.
‘Wonderful, and bursting with energy,’ said Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse, echoing the appreciation of his fellow judges for this champagne. Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico enjoyed the contrast between a ‘nose of green apple with sweet spices and brioche notes’ and a ‘palate that’s more nutty and spicy, quite smooth with tart apple acidity to sustain the finish’. A combination that led team leader Laura Rhys MS to suggest that this would be perfect with a clam risotto.
As this was elevated to Gold amidst praise from our judges, impressed team leader Angela Reddin admired its ‘smoky bonfire nose, cranberry and briar, with very autumnal fruit flavours, too’, with Daria Ershova of Ten Green Bottles enjoying its ‘bramble fruit, savoury meaty nose, soft tannins and fresh acidity, making it a food-friendly choice’. Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia added praise for its ‘nuances of herbaceousness and lovely mocha on a structured palate’.
One of an impressive pair of Golds for Morgenster, this white blend had a ‘fresh, fragrant nose of summer gardens’, according to Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn, who went on to describe a palate that was ‘savoury and complex, with great minerality’. Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico found ‘lime and melon rind on the nose, which opens out on the palate with soft peach, melon and a subtle nuttiness, with fresh acidity but a waxy texture, and a long finish, too, deserving of food’.
‘A subtle but expressive nose of berries and oak nuances in harmony and balance,’ was the praise for this wine from Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia as it took Gold, while team leader Angela Reddin thought it was ‘showing development on the nose, with oolong tea and some developed fruit notes, and with an underlying fruit core’. ‘Mushroom and leather aromas jump out, with stewed strawberries and a touch of spice, leading to softened tannins and integrated acidity, and a superb finish with some barnyard and umami flavours,’ added Three Chimneys Restaurant’s Petri Pentikainen.
Mikolaj Harmider of Adam’s Restaurant liked everything about this Gold winner, from its ‘beautiful golden colour’, to its ‘baked apple, pineapple and spice notes’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte further noted ‘tangerine, mango and dried peel notes, along with some white flowers, leading to a finish that goes on and on’. This all contributed towards making a wine that was, according to team leader Annette Scarfe MW, a perfect match for blue cheese.
Snapping up a well-earned Gold with its ‘more developed Old World style’, according to consultant Charles Pashby-Taylor, this had ‘strawberry and leafy notes, with zippy acidity and a pleasant touch of tannin’. Team leader Andrea Briccarello went on to describe ‘dried mushroom notes, as well as great balance and texture’, while team leader Nigel Lister highlighted ‘sweetly violet aromas and gentle cherry fruit with cranberry on a silky-textured palate’.
‘Held back… but in a good way!’ began consultant Charles Pashby-Taylor on encountering this obvious Gold winner, enjoying its ‘pretty floral notes, with bright red cherry and some blueberry’, while Mario Tomekovic of Smiths of Smithfield was attracted by its ‘earthy mushroom, red fruit, spicy and meaty aromas’, adding that its ‘firm tannins, balance and long aftertaste make it very meat-friendly’. ‘Very good value, with length, depth and complexity,’ concluded Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason.
As it took its rightful place on the Gold podium, Coq d’Argent’s Lazaros Engonopoulos heaped praise on this Malbec for being ‘young, juicy and concentrated, with black fruit, vanilla and incense, with big tannins and a good finish’. ‘Warm with a dry, lean elegance, bay leaf herb notes and a touch of coffee bean bitterness that calls for fatty food: very Malbec and very Argentina,’ concluded team leader Jade Koch.
2015 Shiraz, Tappa Pass, Henschke
Team leader Tom Forrest praised this Gold winner for its ‘light minty notes and some eucalyptus on the nose, with notes of dark fruit and peppery spice with soft tannins’. Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason found ‘a delicate spice nose opening into ripe, dark plum, berry and chocolate’, and concluded that this was ‘elegant and smooth, with great concentration and balance’, before pronouncing it a perfect accompaniment to chocolate fondant.