Where did the last five years go? It seems like only last year that we were judging the first ever Sommelier Wine Awards. In fact, we started back in 2007. Of course, then it was just me, 600 wines and 20 sommeliers in two rooms above a pub, whereas this year we had 1,500+ wines and pulled in more than 60 sommeliers to come along and taste them.
As anyone who’s worked with the on-trade knows, co-ordinating a specific number of sommeliers to be in one place at one time is a challenge, but it’s one of the things that makes SWA what it is: judged by the on-trade for the on-trade. The judges are looking for the same things in a wine that you are: value, typicity, food-friendliness and versatility. The other point of difference is that none of the wines submitted to SWA are going to be in your local high street, so you can list any of the medal-winners with confidence.
I hope that the following pages are informative, thought-provoking and entertaining. It’s the most thorough and up-to-date analysis of the on-trade wine world available anywhere at the moment, so use these results as a fast track to great wines, as chosen by some of the best sommeliers in the UK. May your lists thrive, your customers go home happy and your coffers swell. ‘Til next year…
Chris Losh competition director
Essentials: Sparkling Wines & Champagnes: under £14, £14-20, £20+, Sparkling Rosé; House Wines; Rosé; Varietal Classics: Pinot Grigio, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Australian Shiraz, Argentinian Malbec; Sweet Wines; Sherry; Port; Other Fortified.
Europe: France: Loire & Sancerre, Chablis, Beaujolais, White Burgundy, Red Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhône, Rest of France; Alsace, Germany & Austria; Italy: Barolo/Barbaresco, Amarone, Chianti, Tuscany, Rest of Italy: White, Red; Spain: Rioja, Rest of Spain: White/Rose, Red; Portugal; Rest of Europe.
New World: Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc; Semillon & Blends; Riesling; Pinot Gris/Grigio; Gewürztraminer; Chenin Blanc; Viognier; Torrontés; Other Whites; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc Chile/The Rest of the World ; Syrah/Shiraz & Grenache Australia/Rest of the World; Cabernet & Shiraz; Pinot Noir New Zealand/Rest of the World; Malbec; Carmenère; Zinfandel; Other Reds.
Hot and not: The trends from SWA2011
The best-performing and most disappointing categories from this year’s competition