Friday 10th May, 2019
The winners of the 2019 International Wine Challenge (IWC) were announced on Wednesday (8th May).
We at Exel offer some of the top award winners.
The two very top levels are the Gold and Trophy levels. Gold medals are awarded to the very finest wines in the competition, scoring 95 points or more. These Gold wines are then re-judged at (effectively) a Best in Class and Best in Show level to produce the few Trophy winners. This system is very similar to the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWAs).
Although we offer many of the Silver, Bronze and Commended wines, experience shows that the typical Exel customer is almost solely interested - on these occasions - in the very top accolades.
This page therefore offers the 4 Trophy winners that we offer, plus 9 Gold medal winners. The 12 wines are all to be found at the foot of this page, with each product's page displaying a link to the IWC review.
Those Trophy winners are
Elsewhere, among the Gold medallists:
And from IWC18, for 'sticky' fans, we can still (quickly/easily) obtain plenty of the Tokaji Trophy winner, the Patricius 6 Puttonyos Tokaji 2008 - pretty amazing stuff!!
Do take a look....
The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Portuguese Red Trophy and Great Value Red between £8 and £12) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).
This historic producer, founded in 1751, was purchased by Sogrape in 1987. Today they have 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by the talented Luis Sottomayor, who manages to restrain the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Estevo and Papa Figos, allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Red and Quinta da Leda.
About 25% of the grapes for Papa Figos come from Casa Ferreirinha's Quinta da Leda estate, and the rest from producers owning north-facing vineyards at relatively high altitudes. The soil in the Duoro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties.
The golden oriole (papa figos in Portuguese) is one of the rarest birds in the Douro region. An attractive, brightly-coloured migratory bird, its uniqueness and rarity make it the perfect inspiration for this lovely wine.
The 2018 vintage saw a cold and dry winter which was followed by an extremely wet spring which replenished water reserves in the soil but also affected flowering and increased disease pressure on the vine. These factors significantly reduced the yield but a hot and dry summer allowed for a balanced maturation and the fruit harvested was of excellent quality
After gentle destemming and crushing, the grapes were transferred to stainless steel tanks. Intense maceration is achieved by pumping over. After maceration, the wine is run off the solids, the free-run wine is kept separate from the press wine. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged in controlled conditions. The blend was selected and remained in stainless tanks throughout the winter. 25% of the total of the blend spent eight months in used French oak barrels, and the final blend was bottled after 12 months.
35% Tinta Roriz, 30% Tinta Barroca, 20% Touriga Franca, 15% Touriga Nacional.
This wine is ruby red in colour with violet nuances. Intensely aromatic with fresh black fruits, red berries, heather, chocolate and balsamic savoury spice on the nose. The spicy red fruit profile follows onto the full bodied palate that balances smooth tannins with well-integrated acidity on the long lasting finish.
ABV = 13.5%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 96 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Patagonian Malbec Trophy, Argentinian Malbec Trophy) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).
Patagonia is the most southerly wine producing region of Latin America, lying to the south of Mendoza and las Pampas. With considerable new investment, Argentinian Patagonia is fast emerging as the country`s most exciting cool climate vineyard, making elegant wines with balance and complexity in contrast to the more masculine reds of Mendoza. The region includes two important wine producing provinces, Neuquen to the west, at over 300m altitude beneath the Andes mountains, and the Rio Negro, which follows the long valley of the same name towards the Atlantic Ocean. These are semi arid, alluvial desert vineyards which benefit from constant sun and breezes that help mitigate disease. The vines are able to produce cool climate varieties including Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc with good aroma and concentration as well as perfect levels of acidity.
These lands are magical - they hide astonishing mysteries! When construction began to build the winery a dinosaur was unearthed and in tribute to this 75 million-year-old giant, the name Saurus was given in tribute! Alpataco is a tyre puncturing shrub commonly found in the Monte Desert, which lies southeast of the Atacama Desert in Chile, north of the larger Patagonian Desert, and east of the Andes.
Located at 39’ latitude South, in San Patricio del Chanar near Neuquen, the Schroeder vineyards are planted on gravelly soils and - combined with warm days and cool nights - provide near perfect conditions for grape cultivation. This is a distinguished range of wines with intense aromas and elegant tannins, well structured and with the best characteristics of each vintage.
Grapes were hand-picked and thoroughly selected. 40% fermented and aged six months in oak barrels. The other 60% was fermented and stored in steel tanks, this blend seeking to achieve a fine equilibrium of complexity/richness and fruit density.
This Malbec features an intense dark purplish red that shows maturity. On the nose it is complex - ripe red fruit aromas such as currants, plums and sour cherries melt with some spicy hints. Due to ageing in oak casks some vanilla, bitter chocolate and coffee notes are shown. The mouth-feel is pleasant and well balanced. The long, lingering finish is dominated by sweet, velvety tannins.
This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
ABV = 14.0%.
** LAST BOTTLES OF THIS TOP VINTAGE **
Awarded 96 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (two trophies, in fact: Rioja Reserva and Rioja Trophy) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).
Awarded a Gold medal at the 2019 Sommelier Wine Awards (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).
Bodegas Taron is a cooperative based in the northernmost part of Rioja Alta. The cooperative is made up of four small towns; Cuzcurrita de Rio Tiron, Sajazarra, Villaseca and Tirgo. These four towns decided that as they share not only the landscape but their culture too, they would benefit from pooling together their vineyards and knowledge to create one bodega focussed on creating high quality Riojas. Bodegas Taron have 700 hectares of vineyards spread over more than 1000 small plots. Some of the oldest vines are over 100 years old which go into making their premium wine, Cepas Centenarias.
Only made in the very best vintages, Pantocrator is a blend of Tempranillo and Mazuelo hand picked from bush vines over 70 years old. The two varieties are aged separately in American oak barrels for 12 months and then blended and returned to the barrels for another 6 months, the wine is then left in stainless steel tanks for 12 months where it is further refined and only then is it deemed ready for bottling. A perfect balance of power and elegance, with notes of black cherries, liqourice, sweet spices such as cinnamon and clove and a light mineral touch on the finish.
Tempranillo 90%, Mazuelo 10%.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on the Pantocrator 2005 from the winemakers at Bodegas Taron.
A cherry red wine of great depth. Good glyceric density, with gentle legs sliding down the sides of the glass, giving an indication of its great volume. Elegant aromas of liquorice, with ripe fruit, and spicy, pepper aromas, underscored by minty notes and a light mineral touch. Fine, elegant, silky tannins in the mouth, with good acidity to balance the palate. The sensations of fruit and spices remain for a long time. A Classic Rioja that beautifully reflects the benefits of one of the best vintages of the 21st Century.
ABV = 13.5%.
Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their January 2020 edition article, Most Exciting Wines of 2019 (see blue link below).
Awarded 95 points and Gold status at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).
The Skeggs family were among the first people to buy and plant vineyard land in Central Otago in the mid 1990s, so were lucky enough to acquire a superb north facing site in Bannockburn. Planted in 1996, this 50 hectare site has since provided the backbone of the Akarua wines. Due to the short growing season in Central Otago, site selection is one of the key elements in making a great wine, and Akarua have a site that is among the very best. Akarua was re-introduced after many years to Liberty Wines by Tony Jordan, who makes their sparkling wines. Tony built Domaine Chandon in Australia, and is one of the world's leading experts in sparkling wine production. He has been enamoured with the potential for Central Otago to make top quality fizz for quite a while, and is now doing so with Akarua.
All the Pinot Noir grapes were harvested from Akarua's 50 hectare site on Cairnmuir Road in Bannockburn, which lies at 270 metres above sea level. The soil here is young alluvial schist based sand/silt and sandy loams overlaying schist rock. The vines are 16 years old.
The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest which started in mid-April.
The grapes were hand picked and 90% were destemmed. Pre-fermentation maceration took place over five days, with temperatures peaking at 31°C. Punch downs took place twice daily and post fermentation maceration lasted six days. The wine spent 10 months in French barriques, 30% of which were new.
100% Pinot Noir.
Deep bright ruby in colour. The nose displays intense black fruit flavours and the complexity that Bannockburn Pinot Noir is renowned for, with haunting aromatics of bramble fruits and spice. The palate is elegantly balanced with red fruits and finely textured tannins. A wine with great poise and longevity.
ABV = 14.0%.