Wednesday 14th August
The word has been out for some weeks on the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. Since then, we've managed to amass over 50 of the top prizewinners - that's a number that's still growing - and compile them below.
We have just placed on sale a small allocation of the Best in Show Barolo Sorano (2015) from Claudio Alario... customers who has already reserved bottles will safely get theirs (!) and we have some spare stock to sell, but we recommend fleetness of foot. We also can't stress enough how good the price is on this!
We've just introduced the Platinum-winning classic Taittinger Brut Vintage Champagne 2013 at a market-busting and supermarket-beating £45.95. Available only while stocks last!!
We've sold through the wonderful Larmanela 2016 (a Pic Saint Loup) from Bergerie du Capucin very fast - we're chasing more - but still have supply of the Schistes Dorés 2017 (a Faugères) from Château Grézan. There's an additional page here on these.
Some 16,500(+) wines went under test this year and the whole field has now been rated; you can find the full results here.
Among all the many medals and awards in the big world of wine, these are the ones we most respect and admire. So, we find - based on the demand that follows these announcements - do you, the consumer.
We put that down to a couple of obvious factors, being:
- the sheer breadth and volume of wines tasted and rated; and
- the meticulous rigour of the judging mechanism.
To whit, in brief:
- each wines is tested by many experienced tasters to produce a clutch of the finest at that stage; these are the Gold medal winners (rated at 95 points or above);
- those Golds are then retested to form a shorter, refined list of the Platinum medals (and Best Value Platinums) on 97 points or more.
- Those Platinums are then all subject to a further re-test to reach a shortlist of the 50 Best In Show wines, these being the very best <0.5% of the field (in the eye of the judges).
There's full detail of that whole mechanism here or for a simple diagram of that mechanism, click the blue link below:
DWWA marks system explained
and also, to see how many winess win the various award levels, try ths one:
Numbers of awards at different levels
Below, we've listed - by award level - what we can offer among the Gold, Platinum and Best In Show prize-winners. At Silver and below, frankly, we haven't bothered. There are so many of these and we invariably find the customer asks him/herself: why would I buy these when I can get those in the upper levels?
The wines appear pictorally at the foot of the page, and you can click to investigate/buy as you feel. Each product page features that wine's DWWA review (taken from the DWWA website or magazine supplement and featuring score and tasting note).
We will sound our usual notes of caution over such reviews. What the judges like may (well) not be what you like. And vice versa. There's a lot of subjectivity in any judging like this. But these top-level wines are invariably very fine and very popular (be aware: UK stocks of some sold through in a few days last year!).
Our other note of caution: be a touch wary of focussing only on the Best In Shows. It's that old The-Best-Is-The-Enemy-Of-The-Good problem (and here, read that as "Very Best" and "Extremely Good"). With 'only' 50 Best In Shows, it's obviously impossible for every region, grape variety, wine style etc to get a look-in, and the margins between 95, 96 and 97 points are very/vanishingly fine indeed. Last year, many of the very most popular wines were 'but' Gold awards (eg the Finca Nueva Rioja, the Amisfield Pinot Noir, the Mar de Frades Albarino). We stress this to the extent that we markedly hesitate to separate out these top three award levels!
We'll be adding to this list as we track down and bring in more winners, so do watch this space!! For example, the Chateau Castera was a late addition last year and (far and away) our most popular DWWA18 wine of all!
For those still looking for winners of the last year (2018)'s DWWAs, click here.
Need even more award winners? See our IWC19 page!
Finally, should you be arriving here only now to find these wines and awards, a little disappointed to find some of the top ones vanished and gone, it's probably because you don't/didn't receive our weekly update(s) that announced (and re-announced) these awards back in May. Don't miss out again... register for our updates here.
Best In Show
We've eleven Best(s) in Show...
- Exclusive to us and among the most prestigious Bests in Show must be Claudio Alario's Barolo 2015 from the Sorano cru of Serralunga - the only Barolo, the only Piemonte and one of only five Italian wines to win this level of award. We have a limited allocation, and only a little free stock, so this is one to seize upon if Barolo is your thing.
- Exclusive to us, and being re-sought by us again at the end of the vintage, is one of the few affordable French Bests in Show - a Languedoc (Pic St Loup) Syrah - the Larmanela 2016 - ALAS NOW ALL GONE, SEEKING LAST VESTIGES OF MORE - a mighty impressive red of great depth and concentration indeed.
- Perhaps the biggest seller of the Bests in Show will be the one New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the top rank ... the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylor's Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2017. It's all (and more) that you expect of a top NZSB, with great concentration. DOWN TO LAST FEW CASES!
- The fastest to sell, however was be the only Tuscan to make the ranks of the Bests in Show - Villa del Cigliano's Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 - ALAS NOW ALL GONE - which "stole the judges hearts" (their words). Supplies are tight (as the vintage is nearly depleted) and this one is limited to 6 bottle per customer, alas. Panic not, however, as we have another (better?) cracking, Platinum medal-winning Chianti Classico to offer!
- Craggy Range's brilliant Te Kahu 2016 - a fine, ripe and luxurious NZ (Gimblett Gravels) Bordeaux blend - is now only 2-3 weeks away from landing into the UK and we've booked all of the intial block that will land in early September; we are taking orders and most of the allocation is now sold: a few cases remain. For those in more immediate need, we offer the very fine 2015 of this wine.
- We've the top-ranking Rioja, the Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva 2012 ... unsurprisingly selling at a serious rate of knots already!
- Last year's top rosé is back - the Domaine La Suffrene Bandol - now just as subtle-but-flavoursome in its 2018 incarnation.
- Also back again from Greece is the brilliant Semillon/Assyrtiko blend from Ktima Biblia Chora - the Ovilos. It was unspotted by many last year, but those that tried it came back again and again. A brilliant and rare combination, this, of two classy and non-mainstream varieties.
- We've the "haunting" (which we take to be good) Cenatiempo Kalimera 2017, made from 100% Biancolella (nope, us neither) and from the volcanic island of Ischia (just off from Naples) - an off-piste selection, maybe, but as Decanter said, it "captivated everyone who tasted it. A unique, cultural wine of memorable, stealthy charm". One to try, for sure.
- And there's classy Tasmanian Chardonnay from the excellent Dawson James - no giveaway, but a brilliant twist on top white Burgundy ... plus top-flight Champagne from Heidsieck.
There's a good bunch here...
- Poggio al Sole's Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2015 - the Casasilia - is quite outstanding and an Exel exclusive at a daft price to bring it to the market. This one, the judges went crackers for.
- Stunning, rich French red at a great price? Step right up for Château Grézan's Les Schistes Dorés 2017 from the ever-dependable Faugères appellation in Languedoc - this is every bit as spectacular as the Larmanela above.
- We made quite a fuss in April over the release of La Rioja Alta's new Gran Reserva, the Arana (2012). Lo and behold, it's gone and Platinummed in its first year.
- SuperTuscan fans, meanwhile, should not miss the institution that is Brancaia's Blu 2015.
- (Very) affordable sparkling? Now, there's Cava and there's Cava. The good stuff is amazing and hugely under-valued. Step forward, at just £16.30, Pere Ventura's Tresor Cuvée Gran Reserva 2014, a blend based on 40% Chardonnay (perhaps lending it that quality).
- Of course, if it just has to be Champagne - and sometimes it does - there's a choice between standout Platinum is Devaux's Cuvée D at under £40 or you can 'go vintage' with Taittinger's Brut Vintage 2013 at a UK-market-busting £45.95 (this will not last long, note).
- For even-further-flung fizz, and of the utmost (and vintage) quality - but at an affordable £34 - the always-winning-big-prizes Arras Grand Vintage 2008 from Tasmania is not to be missed.
- While Down Under, we regularly make a fuss over the Rieslings of Pauletts from Australia's Clare Valley. The 2012 is their top prize-winner but in dwindling supply; this particular Platinum is alas down to its last 100 bottles or so on these shores (and it's all gone in Oz)... but we've got our name on them. The 2013 scores a Gold, but is a month away.
- Greece's Ktima Gerovassiliou are an award machine. Their Estate Estate White Epanomi 2018 is quite brilliant at £15 (the Malagousia 2018 lands a Gold).
- Barbaresco? Don't mind if we do. The ever-superb Rabaja (2015 now) from doyen of that DOCG, Bruno Rocca is the 97-pointer here.
- And there's an unusual-but-brilliant select parcels Cabernet Franc from Gašper of Slovenia.
- There's amazing value to be had with Swartland's Bush Vine Chenin Blanc...
- ... and Italian stickiness from Capezzana's Vin Santo and that perennial topper, Donnafugata's Ben Ryé Passito di Pantellaria (although NB: the DWWA19-winning 2016 vintage has now all gone, and we're onto the 2017 ... but rest assured that vintage will win these awards next year...).
- NB: the Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay 2017 sold out almost the day it won the DWWA award, having been heavily depleted across the vintage in winning other awards (eg IWC19).
This is where it becomes the most fun. Truly something for everyone here. <Well, for wine drinkers, anyway>. But where to start?
- Oddly, perhaps, with one that's a few weeks away. Decanter have just featured it (more detail here) and if you like the careful marriage of oak and Sauvi Blanc - this - te Pā's Oke 2017 - is definitely for you. It's brilliantly done, and at a staggering price for so well-made a wine (when you compare against comparable oaked NZSBs) <the wine will be with us in early September>.
- NZ Pinot Noir tends to be daftly popular on these occasions. See: Wild Earth (of South Island's Central Otago). Super stuff.
- Argentine Malbec is very amply represented by Trapiche's Finca Ambrosia 2015.
- Is France forgotten? It is not. There's a very fine Premier Cru Chablis from Domaine de Vauroux at a very sensible £23.50, and an unusual red (Pinot Noir) from the Loire's oft-forgotten-but-classy Menetou-Salon appellation.
- There's great South African value for Sauvignon Blanc fans - Strandveld's First Sighting SB 2018.
- While at the other end of the white wine market (and, naturally, Burgundy), there's 2017 Premier Cru Meursault from the Les Charmes climat from Domaine René Monnier/Xavier Monnot.
- If New World Chardonnay is your thing, the ever-consistent Trinity Hill of NI, NZ make a very fine job of their 2017 Gimblett Gravels. Or, switch to Tasmania - especially if the Dawson James above is a bit beyond your pricing - for the equally consistent Josef Chromy Chardonnay 2017.
- Big Macedonian red? Tikves's Barovo 2015 (still available) claimed a Platinum last year, and returns for a Gold with the 2016.
- Australia? But of course! A <£15 red (GSM) from Dandelion Vineyards - the Menagerie - is very easy drinking, while Jim Barry's Florita Riesling provides some Clare valley opposition to the Pauletts wines we mentioned.
- There's an Amarone at a very sensible price from Bertani...
- For exquisitely good Old World (German, Rheingau) Riesling, however, Schloss Johannisberg's Silberlack 2017 very much makes the Gold standard.
- <Sudden panic>. How did we get this far without another Rioja? Enter, please, Bodegas LAN's boutique (but not boutiquely-priced) Lanciano Reserva 2012.
- Palmer & Co's superb rosé Champagne is no surprise inclusion here, and very affordable for wines of its class (in both 75cl bottle and magnum);
- We finish - for now - and as one should - with stickies and fortifieds. All of the ever-brilliant Vin de Constance, Barros 10-yo Tawny Port and Sandeman's 20-yo-Tawny, the much-lauded Taylor's Quinta da Vargellas 2014 Port and Morris Old Premium Rare Muscat are back again for top honours this year.