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IWC19

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).

For more details on the IWC awards - ie how they work and are judged, click here.

For the full list of all award winners at IWC 2019, click here.

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

  • Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Tinto 2017 - a Portuguese (Douro) red blend - made from the classic Port grapes - that has consistently scored well in Decanter in previous vintages and provides an excellent, full-throttle, full-bodied glass of Iberian red for only just over £10. No wonder, then, that it won one of the very few Best Value trophies.
  • The Familia Schroeder Saurus Select Malbec 2017 from Patagonia 's Neuquen province. The judges were quite clear about this one: "Like a mountain in the mist, substantial yet a ghostly presence. Amazing brightness of fruit, like polished marble. Seamless and beautiful."
  • Late addition - a fascinating Rioja Reserva (technically) from the amazing vintage of 2005, the Pantocrator by Bodegas Taron. There's barely any in the UK at present, so, apart from a lucky first 12 bottles we can access, these will be with customers in the second week of June. "Mocha and chocolate still swing along with the fruit, which is remarkable and incredibly vibrant for its age. The palate offers all that Rioja lovers crave; creaminess, body, style and elegance. A shining star from Spain", said the IWC panel. We're readying for the rush on this one.
  • The super-classic that is CVNE's Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2011. Great producer, great year: all that you would expect from a Gran Res by one of the greatest of all Riojamakers. We don't typically take CVNE wines - they can be awkward to source - but we make an exception for this one.

Elsewhere, among the Gold medallists:

  • Wonderful - if not cheap - dessert icewines from Peller of Niagara in Canada.
  • A glorious, ready-to-drink Cahors from one of the great producers of that mysterious appellation - Chateau de Chambert.

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.... 

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Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Tinto 2018 (1x75cl)

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).

Papa Figos 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

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%.

£11.60

CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2012 (1x75cl)

** IN STOCK THURS 1st OCTOBER **

Awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2011 vintage was awarded 96 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Rioja Gran Reserva) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2011 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

CVNE, or to give it its full name, Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España (The Northern Spanish Wine Company) - traditionally pronounced "COO-neh"- was established on the 24th of March 1879 in Haro, Rioja. Set up by two brothers, Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa, their aim was to capitalise on the flourishing new trade in wine.

CVNE is based in Haro's traditional neighbourhood of the train station, in the heart of the Rioja wine region. Historically, some of the oldest wineries of Rioja Alta established themselves here in order to benefit from the ease of transport via rail to the port of Bilbao, the most efficient form of transport in those days.

By 1900, the winery had an extraordinary ageing capacity of 80,000 bottles, which was most unusual at the time, as most wineries sold their wines as soon as possible. CVNE is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family. Now in its fifth generation, the company has been quoted on the Madrid stock exchange since 1997. CVNE farms half of its grape crush. The remainder is purchased from long term growers. With three wineries in the region; Cune, Viña Real and Contino the winemakers have control over quality from vineyard to bottle.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at CVNE.

CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2012 - fiche technique

The wine is deep cherry red in colour with gentle evolution of the color at the rim. The nose is intensely aromatic and shows a perfect balance of balsamic notes and sweet spices from the barrel ageing process with forest fruits, berries and liquorice that remind us of the Mediterranean. The palate is velvety and dense marked by soft, fine tannins and by a long and fruity finish, revealing the elegance of a traditional wine. Roundness and balance make this wine perfect for pairing with cheese, red meat, game and oily fish, or even to be enjoyed simply on its own in good company.

ABV = 14.0%.

£44.50

CVNE, Vina Real Gran Reserva 2014 (1x75cl)

** EXPECTED INTO STOCK AROUND OCTOBER 18th **

CVNE, or to give it its full name, Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España (The Northern Spanish Wine Company) - traditionally pronounced "COO-neh"- was established on the 24th of March 1879 in Haro, Rioja. Set up by two brothers, Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa, their aim was to capitalise on the flourishing new trade in wine.

CVNE is based in Haro's traditional neighbourhood of the train station, in the heart of the Rioja wine region. Historically, some of the oldest wineries of Rioja Alta established themselves here in order to benefit from the ease of transport via rail to the port of Bilbao, the most efficient form of transport in those days.

By 1900, the winery had an extraordinary ageing capacity of 80,000 bottles, which was most unusual at the time, as most wineries sold their wines as soon as possible. CVNE is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family. Now in its fifth generation, the company has been quoted on the Madrid stock exchange since 1997. CVNE farms half of its grape crush. The remainder is purchased from long term growers. With three wineries in the region; Cune, Viña Real and Contino the winemakers have control over quality from vineyard to bottle.

Made with high quality grapes harvested by hand from CVNE's best plots in Rioja Alavesa. The fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures with a frequent delestages (rack-and-returns) in order to maximize the extraction of intensity and color. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in French and American oak barrels, and then, the wine is manually racked for the stabilization and filtration in a natural way. After the ageing process in barrel (70% French and 30% American oak) for a minimum of 2 years, it is bottled and it will remain the the cellars an average of 3 years, when the wine achieves the final silkiness and elegance.

See also blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at CVNE.

CVNE, Vina Real Gran Reserva 2014  - fiche technique

95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano. 

Medium intensity, ruby red colour with cherry hints. The nose is very elegant highlighting oaky and spicy notes together with hints of ripe red fruits. On the palate the wine is full bodied and lively with great structure and fresh acidity. The tannins are fine, polished and well integrated. The wine has great character and personality, and is complex with a long finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

** EXPECTED INTO STOCK AROUND OCTOBER 18th **

£26.50
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