The very top medals of the 2015 Sommelier Wine Awards – the Wines of the Year – were announced at Imbibe Live yesterday.
Teams of top sommeliers tasted blind through flights of SWA Gold Medal winning wines on Monday and Tuesday to decide who would receive the accolades for House Wine of the Year, Gastropub Wine of the Year, Fine Wine of the Year and overall Best in Show.
The awards were more or less evenly split, with the New World taking four, and Europe five.
Argentina picked up both of the House Wine awards, the white a charming Torrontes from Finca las Moras (Bibendum), the red the always impressive Pablo y Walter Malbec, imported by Boutinot.
For the first time ever, there were three Gastropub Wines of the Year – an impressive red, white and rosé combination that would perk up any list: Boekenhoutskloof’s The Wolftrap White (New Generation Wines), Château l'Ermitage Rosé from Costières de Nîmes (Boutinot) and the Diren Collection Kalecik Karasi from Turkey (Taste Turkey).
‘It might seem a bit left-field putting in a Turkish red, but this was a beautiful mid-weight, cherry-flavoured Pinot Noir substitute that people will love if they try,’ said SWA competition director, Chris Losh.
At the upper end of the spectrum, the Fine Wine of the Year awards went to a classic Rheingau Riesling from Schloss Johannisberg (Hallgarten Druitt) and an utterly charming Australian Pinot from cool-climate Geelong – the second time in two years that Berkmann has picked up this award with an Aussie Pinot.
The two Best in Show wines (selected by tasting off all of the Critics Choice wines) were the delightful Champagne Drappier Brut Nature Zero Dosage Sans Soufre (Berkmann) – the first time a zero dosage champagne has won a Wine of the Year award – and the magnificent Cornas Harmonie from Guy Farge (Enotria), a winning combination of sweet ripe fruit and savoury, spicy minerality.