‘Best Six Wines out of 3000 entries’ – SWA 2018 Trophies revealed

Drinks: Drinks, Wines
Location: England, UK

The final act of the Sommelier Wine Awards 2018 has taken place, with the crowning of this year’s Trophy winners at Imbibe Live.

From extraordinarily cheap house wines to a winsomely beautiful white Burgundy, this year’s winners covered the full range of the wine list – as well as the whole globe. The six trophies went to six different countries: Italy, Chile, Australia, England, Portugal and France.

‘We start this competition with almost 3,000 wines, so to narrow it down through five rounds of judging to just half a dozen gives you an idea of just how exceptional these Trophy winners are,’ said competition director Chris Losh.

The coveted Wine of the Year  Best in Show Trophy went to the Azienda Uggiano Chianti Riserva 2013. Sold for the extraordinary price of £8.98 by Boutinot, it stood out even in a high quality line-up.

‘Anybody could sell this,’ said Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin. ‘Sangiovese is a fantastic grape, and this shows it off superbly.’

White Fine Wine of the Year went to Lequin Colin for its Clos Devant Chassagne-Montrachet (£28.88, Top Selection) described as ‘a beautiful wine – very refined’ by Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens. It concluded a good competition with high-end wines for Top Selection, which also won SWA 2018’s Fine Wine Merchant of the Year award.

The Red Fine Wine of the Year went to Margaret River winery Voyager Estate for its 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (£24.50, Great Wine Estates). ‘It’s a great example of its type and intelligently blended,’ praised SWA head of judging Christine Parkinson. ‘Plus, it will drink beautifully for several years, which is important for restaurants.’

Gastropub Wine of the Year went to the well-priced and thoroughly charming still English white Double Hedges Solaris 2015 – proving that English wines don’t need to be all about fizz, or all about French grape varieties. Olivier Gasselin enjoyed its ‘Great intensity, with real concentration and balance.’

The White House Wine of The Year went to Vistamar’s Brisa Sauvignon Blanc 2017, (Kingsland Drinks). At just £3.77, it was one of the lowest-priced wines in the competition, yet impressed our judges at every turn. ‘Especially outside London, this wine at this price is amazing,’ said wine consultant Lionel Periner.

Its red counterpart, meanwhile, was Sivipa’s Terras do Sado from Portugal, which picked up Red House Wine of the Year. ‘It has great primary and secondary fruit,’ said Andre Luis Martins of The Cavalry and Guards Club. ‘Have one glass and you want another one.’ Pick it up for £5.88 from Sivipa – Sociedade Vinícola de Palmela SA.

Judged by half a dozen top London sommeliers and SWA senior judges from a curated short-list of the most eye-catching Gold Medal winners in this year’s competition, the Trophy wines are recognised as being the best of the best.

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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