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The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships

by Tom Stevenson, 08/14

The weakest point of any wine competition is ironically the absence of the very best wines. Bordeaux First Growths, for example, will never be found in any wine competition. By devising Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships, I hoped to attract the 'First Growths' of the fizz world with three simple features.

It would be the only competition judged exclusively by Champagne and sparkling wine specialists. I have tasted thousands of wines blind with both Essi Avellan and Tony Jordan, and they are simply the best fizz tasters in the business.

It would be the only global competition in which every judge agrees all medals. In bigger competitions the more wines entered, the more judges are drafted in, and a wine's performance very much depends on whose table it lands.

Only Gold and Silver medals would be recognised and publicised. Telling consumers that most of the wines entering a competition are 'winners' to one degree or another diminishes the value of those awards. I decided to consign 'Bronze' and 'Commended' to the dustbin of shame along with the No Awards that other competitions put there.

Economic reality of no Bronze or Commended

shot in the feet The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships must not make a loss if it is to survive, but if profit was the primary objective I shot myself in both feet when I downgraded Bronze and Commended wines. On average 30 per cent of wines entered into all major competitions receive a Bronze medal, and approximately 25 per cent are Commended. Furthermore, the lower the award, the greater the percentage of large volume production and the more eager that producers are to utilise a bottle-sticker to drive sales. One of the interesting things you learn when setting up your own competition is just how lucrative the sale of bottle-stickers is, with Bronze and Commended wines representing the vast majority of the revenue... ouch!

An embarrassment
of riches

The strategy of exclusively using specialist judges, the same three-line whip for every wine assessment, and raising the bar of success to a minimum of Silver was so successful that we were inundated with truly iconic Champagnes and sparkling wines. Never before have the likes of Dom Pérignon Rosé, Dom Pérignon Oenothèque (now P2), Louis Roederer Cristal or Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé been entered a competition. At first we were humbled, but it soon became something of a gold-plated problem. How do we do full justice to their presence without allowing such stratospherically priced cuvées to sweep the board of all trophies? To resolve this conundrum we decided to judge the deluxe cuvées separately, to find not only the Best in Class regular Champagnes by style (without which the competition results would be of little use), but also put our name to the greatest deluxe Champagne in each of these categories. We also raised the bar for deluxe Champagnes to Gold on the grounds that at the prices demanded, all such cuvées should be Gold medal quality. Only when we had decided the Best in Class for each category of deluxe and regular Champagne did we bring these wines together in a taste-off for the overall World Champion Champagne trophy. You will have to hold on until 4 September when the World Champion trophy is announced, but I assure you that it will be worth the wait.

The sparkling new 'Oscars' of the wine world

table We received over 650 entries from 16 different countries in the first year of judging, with 185 wines winning Gold and Silver medals (right).

We tasted the wines blind in flights by origin, grape variety, style and vintage; scoring in solitude before discussing each wine and deciding which medal to award. Often the decision was unanimous, but sometimes a wine would be argued up or down, according to the Anglo Saxon way of doing these things. Whatever method of blind tasting assessment is used, it always results in each judge having a few wines that he or she would personally award a gold to, but never receives one. However, our system uniquely delivers Gold and Silver medals with the full backing of all judges.

If, in the medalling assessment, just one judge believed a wine to be faulty or simply wanted to double-check another bottle, a second sample was lined up in a separate flight with a different identity code so that we would not be prejudiced by our own notes on the original bottle. All remaining bottles of those wines that go through this procedure and still fail to achieve a minimum of Silver were tasted behind the scenes by Amanda Regan, the competition steward, whose job was not to contradict the judges' decision, but to look for wines that might be different in a positive (superior) way. If it is possible, occasionally, for one wine in a group of four to be faulty, then it must also be possible for the reverse to happen: just one of the four wines might be the only one that is not faulty. This does raise the question of why so many could be faulty and we would have to qualify our notes accordingly, but without a Gold medal, the wine cannot progress any further in the competition, so it is our duty to both the producer and that individual wine to open up all the bottles. This happened just twice, I think, but it does illustrate the extra mile we go to in this competition.

The results

Despite the large number of very high quality Champagne and sparkling wine we received, we were very strict in our judging, with more than 71 per cent of the entries failing to persuade us that they were in any way special. For some of those entries, particularly from start-up producers in emerging sparkling wine areas, a Bronze would be a respectable result, even if we refuse to acknowledge this formally. If such producers are serious about crafting a superior sparkling wine, then they should keep entering this competition. They will at least receive a regular critique, hopefully an improving one, from the same three specialists and this should prove useful in charting the progress of their wines. The producers of established, commercially successful wines that failed to impress in part or whole must examine the judges' comments (which only the producers have access to) and adjust their submissions accordingly for future years.

Complete lists of all Gold and Silver award winning wines follow, in strict alphabetical order by producer name.

gold medals

Akarua, 2010 Central Otago Vintage Brut, New Zealand
Bannockburn, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, 6g/l Residual Sugar.

Aleksandrovic, 2009 Trijumf Chardonnay, Serbia
Sumadijski, Oplenac, Chardonnay 100% , 6g/l RS.

Balfour, 2010 Blanc de Blancs, England
Kent, EQSW, Chardonnay 100% , 10g/l RS.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon NV, Brut Rosé, France
Champagne, 40 % Chardonnay, 30 % Pinot Noir, 30 % Pinot Meunier, 11.3g/l RS.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon 2002, Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Brut Rosé, France
Champagne, 50 % Chardonnay, 50 % Pinot Noir, 9.2g/l RS.

Biondelli, 2011 Franciacorta Biondelli Brut, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Chardonnay 100% , 6g/l RS.

Bisol, Prosecco Crede NV (Magnum), Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Glera 85% Pinot Blanc 10% Verdiso 5% , 7g/l RS.

Blue Pyrenees Estate, 2010 Midnight Cuvée, Australia
Pyrenees, Chardonnay 100%, 7g/l RS.

Bruendlmayer, 2008 Brut (Magnum), Austria
Lower Austria, Austrian Sparkling Wine, 30% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Gris, 10% Pinot Blanc, 10% Gruner Veltliner, 8.7g/l RS.

Ca'del Bosco, 2005 Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi (Magnum), Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 55% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Bianco, 20% Pinot Nero, 1.5g/l RS.

Camel Valley, 2009 Pinot Noir Rosé Brut, England
EQSW, 100% Pinot Noir, 11g/l RS.

Caraccioli Cellars, 2007 Brut Rosé, USA
Santa Lucia Highlands, 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 12g/l RS.

Caraccioli Cellars, 2006 Brut Rosé, USA
Santa Lucia Highlands, 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 12g/l RS.

Champagne Charles Heidsieck, NV Brut Réserve, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 33%, Pinot Meunier 33%, Chardonnay 33%, 11.2g/l RS.

Champagne Charles Heidsieck, NV Rosé Réserve, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 33%, Pinot Meunier 33%, Chardonnay 33%, 11.2g/l RS.

Champagne Charles Heidsieck, 2000 Brut Millésime, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 60%, Chardonnay 40%, 11.2g/l RS.

Champagne Charles Heidsieck, 1999, Rosé Millésime, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 60%, Chardonnay 40%, 11.5g/l RS.

Clover Hill, 2001 Cuvée Prestige Blanc de Blancs, Australia
Tasmania, Chardonnay 100%, 6.4g/l RS.

Coldstream Hills, 2010 Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay, Australia
Yarra Valley, Pinot Noir 65%, Chardonnay 35%, 8g/l RS.

Champagne De Castelnau, 2002 Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 10.4g/l RS.

Champagne Deutz, NV Brut Classic, France
Champagne, 1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Pinot Meunier, 10g/l RS.

Champagne Deutz, NV Brut Rosé, France
Champagne, 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay, 9.6g/l RS.

Digby Fine English, 2009 Reserve Brut, England
West Sussex, EQSW, 65% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Noir, 17% Pinot Meunier, 8g/l RS.

Champagne Dom Pérignon, 2002 Rosé, France
Champagne, 43% Chardonnay, 53% Pinot Noir, 6.5g/l RS.

Champagne Dom Pérignon, 1996 Oenothèque, France
Champagne, 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, 6.5g/l RS.

Champagne Dom Ruinart, 2004 Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 5.5g/l RS.

Champagne Dom Ruinart, 2002 Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 6.5g/l RS.

Champagne Dom Ruinart, 2002 Rosé, France
Champagne, 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 5.5g/l RS.

Dominique Portet, NV Brut Rosé, Australia
Yarra Valley, Pinot Noir 45%, Chardonnay 35%, Pinot Meunier 20%, 8g/l RS.

De Bortoli Wines, 2007 Este, Australia
Yarra Valley, Pinot Noir 62%, Chardonnay 38%, 3g/l RS.

Ferrari, 2007, Trentino Perlé, Italy
TrentoDoc, 100% Chardonnay, 6g/l RS.

Freixenet, NV Cava Elyssia Gran Cuvée, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Parellada, Pinot Noir, 9g/l RS.

Freixenet, 2012 Cava Cuvée de Prestige Trepat, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, Trepat 100% , 9g/l RS.

Furleigh Estate, 2009 Classic Cuvée, England
Dorset, EQSW, 41% Chardonnay 35%, Pinot Noir 24%, Pinot Meunier, 13g/l RS.

Graham Beck Wines, 2009 Blanc de Blancs, South Africa
Robertson, Chardonnay 100%, 6g/l RS.

Gramona, 2000 Cava Enoteca Brut, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, 75% Xarel-lo, 25% Macabeo, 7.5g/l RS.

Gramona, 2000 Cava Enoteca Brut Nature, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, 75% Xarel-lo, 25% Macabeo, 2.5g/l RS.

Grant Burge, NV Shiraz Cabernet, Australia
South Eastern Australia, Shiraz 62%, Cabernet 37%, 25.75g/l RS.

Groupo Vallformosa, NV Cava DuQue Egmond Brut, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada, 11g/l RS.

Hattingley Valley, 2011 Rosé, England
EQSW, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Precoce, 10g/l RS.

Henners, 2009 Vintage Réserve, England
East Sussex, EQSW, 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 10g/l RS.

House of Arras, NV Brut Elite C601, Australia
Tasmania, Pinot Noir 51.7%, Chardonnay 47.2%, Pinot Meunier 1.1%, 8.5g/l RS.

House of Arras, 2005 Rosé, Australia
Tasmania, Pinot Noir 62.5%, Chardonnay 37.5%, 10g/l RS.

House of Arras, 2004 Grand Vintage, Australia
Tasmania, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, 9.3g/l RS.

House of Arras, 2002 E.J Carr Late Disgorged, Australia
Tasmania, Chardonnay 58.4%, Pinot Noir 41.6%, 8.5g/l RS.

Il Mosnel, NV Franciacorta Brut, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Chardonnay 60% Pinot Blanc, 30 % Pinot Nero 10 % , 8g/l RS.

Il Mosnel, 2008 Franciacorta Rosé Pas Dosé Parosé, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Pinot Nero 70 %, Chardonnay 30 % , 2.5g/l RS.

Klein Constantia, 2011 Methode Cap Classique Brut, South Africa
Constantia, Cap Classique, 100% Chardonnay, 8.4g/l RS.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier, NV Grand Siècle (Magnum), France
Champagne, About 45% Pinot Noir, 55% of Chardonnay, 9.6g/l RS.

Champagne Les Pionniers, 2004, Brut, France
Champagne, 39% Chardonnay, 46% Pinot Noir, 15% Meunier, 11g/l RS.

Champagne Louis Roederer, 2008 Brut Rosé Vintage, France
Champagne, 66% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Louis Roederer, 2007 Brut Vintage, France
Champagne, 70% PINOT NOIR, 30% Chardonnay, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Louis Roederer, 2002 Cristal Brut, France
Champagne, 55% Pinot Noir, 45 % Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

Champagne Louis Roederer, 2002 Cristal Rosé, France
Champagne, 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Mandois, 2005 Cuvée Victor Vieilles Vignes, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 8.6g/l RS.

Miguel Torres Chile, NV Cordillera Brut, Chile
Del Maule, Valle de Curicó, Pinot Noir, 8.56g/l RS.

Nautilus Estate, NV Cuvée Marlborough, New Zealand
Marlborough, Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 30%, 7g/l RS.

Nino Franco, 2013 Prosecco Valdobbiadene Primo Franco, Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Glera 100% , 27g/l RS.

Nino Franco, 2013 Prosecco Cartizze, Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, Glera 100% , 27g/l RS.

No1 Family Estate, 2007 Cuvée Remy, New Zealand
Marlborough, Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 30%, 6g/l RS.

Nyetimber, 2006 Classic Cuvée (Magnum), England
South East, EQSW, Pinot Noir 53%, Chardonnay 23%, Pinot Meunier 22% , 12g/l RS.

Nyetimber, 2003 Blanc de Blancs (Magnum), England
South East, EQSW, Chardonnay 100% , 12g/l RS.

Champagne Palmer & Co, NV Palmer Brut Réserve, France
Champagne, 50 % Chardonnay, 40 % Pinot Noir, 10 % Pinot Meunier, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Palmer & Co, NV Palmer Brut Rosé, France
Champagne, Chardonnay 30 %, Pinot Noir 40 % Pinot Meunier 30 %, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Palmer & Co, 2008 Palmer Brut Millésime, France
Champagne, Chardonnay 50 %, Pinot Noir 40 %, Pinot Meunier 10 %, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Palmer & Co, 2007 Palmer Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Perrier-Jouët, NV Grand Brut, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 40%, Pinot Meunier, 40% Chardonnay 20%, 8g/l RS.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, NV Brut, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 50%, Pinot Meunier 30%, Chardonnay 10%, 11g/l RS.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, NV Brut Essentiel, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 50%, Pinot Meunier 30%, Chardonnay 10%, 7g/l RS.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, 2002 Rare Millésime, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 30%, Chardonnay 70%, 11.1g/l RS.

Plumpton Estate, NV The Dean Brut, England
Sussex, EQSW, Pinot Noir plus a splash of Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

Plumpton Estate, 2010 The Dean Blush Brut Rosé, England
Sussex, EQSW, 94% Pinot Noir, 6% Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

Champagne Pommery, NV, Brut Royal (Magnum), France
Champagne, 1/3 each Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier, 8.5g/l RS.

Raventos i Blanc, 2007 Clos del Serral Manuel Raventos, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Conca del Riu Anoia, 80% Xarel-lo, 20% Parellada, 1.8g/l RS.

Roederer Estate, NV Brut Sparkling Wine, USA
California, Anderson Valley, 60% Chardonnay 40% Pinot Noir, 12g/l RS.

Roederer Estate, NV Rosé Sparkling Wine, USA
California, Anderson Valley, 55% Pinot Noir 45% Chardonnay, 12g/l RS.

Rotari, 2010 Alperegis Trentino Rosé Millesimato, Italy
TrentoDoc, 90% Pinot Nero, 10% Chardonnay, 8g/l RS.

Champagne Ruinart, NV Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Taittinger, NV Brut Réserve, France
Champagne, 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Taittinger, NV Prelude Grands Crus, France
Champagne, 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Taittinger, 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 9g/l RS.

Tenuta Ca' Bolani, NV Prosecco, Italy
Friuli Venezia Giulia, Prosecco DOC, Glera 100% , 13.2g/l RS.

Tenuta Scarpa Colombi, NV Roberto Colombi Blanc de Blancs Brut, Italy
Lombardy, VSQ Metodo Classico, 100% Chardonnay, 6g/l RS.

Uberti, 2006 Franciacorta Non Dosato Sublimis (Magnum), Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Chardonnay 100% , 0g/l RS.

Waitrose, 2004 Special Réserve Vintage Champagne, France
Champagne, 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 12g/l RS.

Wiston Estate, NV Blanc de Blancs, England
Sussex, EQSW, 100% Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

silver medals

Akarua, NV Rosé Brut, New Zealand
Central Otago, Bannockburn, Pinot Noir Chardonnay, 7g/l RS.

Aleksandrovic, 2009 Trijumf Noir, Serbia
Sumadija, Oplenac, Pinot Noir 100%, 8g/l RS.

Antica Fratta, 2010 Franciacorta Essence Satèn, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 100% Chardonnay, 4.8g/l RS.

Asda, NV Champagne Extra Special Premier Cru Brut - Maison Burtin, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 78%, Chardonnay 22%, 10g/l RS.

Barone Pizzini, 2009 Franciacorta Satèn, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 100% Chardonnay, 5.4g/l RS.

Bisol, 2012 Prosecco Vigneti del Fol Valdobbiadene, Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Glera 100%, 17g/l RS.

Bisol, 2011 Prosecco Private Cartizze Non Dosato, Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, Glera 100%, 4g/l RS.

Blue Pyrenees Estate, NV Sparkling Shiraz, Australia
Pyrenees, Shiraz 100%, 25g/l RS.

Bolney Wine Estate, 2009 Blanc de Blancs, England
West Sussex, EQSW, Chardonnay 100%, 10.9g/l RS.

Breaky Bottom, 2008 Cuvée Princess Colonna, England
Sussex, EQSW, Chardonnay 85% Pinot Meunier 8% Pinot Noir 7%, 8.7g/l RS.

Caraccioli Cellars, 2007 Brut Cuvée, USA
Santa Lucia Highlands, 60% Chardonnay 40% Pinot Noir, 12g/l RS.

Caves Transmontanas, 2010 Vértice Cuvée, Portugal
DOC Douro, 34% Gouveio 33% Touriga Franca 33% Malvasia Fina, 9g/l RS.

Cavit, NV Prosecco Lunetta Prosecco Spumante, Italy
Veneto, Prosecco DOC, Glera 100%, 11g/l RS.

Chapel Down, NV Vintage Réserve Brut, England
Kent, EQSW, Chardonnay 46% Pinot Noir 44% Pinot Blanc 6% Pinot Meunier 4%, 9g/l RS.

Château Tanunda, 2012 Blanc de Blancs, Australia
Barossa, Eden Valley, Chardonnay, 9.4g/l RS.

Claudio Radenti, 2002 Radenti Sparkling, Australia
Tasmania, 65% Chardonnay 35% Pinot Noir, 12g/l RS.

Court Garden, 2010 Vintage Rosé, England
Sussex, EQSW, Pinot Noir 45%, Pinot Meunier 30%, Chardonnay 25%, 11g/l RS.

Champagne De Castelnau, NV Brut Réserve, France
Champagne, Chardonnay 40%, Pinot Meunier 40%, Pinot Noir 20%, 10.4g/l RS.

Champagne De Castelnau, 2002 Millésimé, France
Champagne, Chardonnay 50%, Pinot Meunier 40%, Pinot Noir 10%, 11.3g/l RS.

De Faveri, NV Prosecco Valdobbiadene Extra Dry, Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, 100% Glera, 17g/l RS.

Champagne Devaux, NV D de Devaux La Cuvée, France
Champagne, 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 10.2g/l RS.

Deviation Road, 2010 Loftia, Australia
Adelaide Hills, 80%Pinot Noir 20% Chardonnay, 6g/l RS.

Champagne Drappier, NV Blanc de Blancs Signature, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 8g/l RS.

Ferrari, 2002 Trentino Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore, Italy
TrentoDoc, 100% Chardonnay (Cru from Maso Pianizza), 6g/l RS.

Fratelli Berlucchi, 2006 Franciacorta Casa delle Colonne Brut, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Chardonnay 80% Pinot Nero 20%, 8g/l RS.

Fratelli Berlucchi, 2006 Franciacorta Casa delle Colonne Zero, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Chardonnay 70% Pinot Nero 30%, 2g/l RS.

Freixenet, NV Mia Sparkling Moscato, Spain
Spanish Sparkling Wine, 100% Moscato, 84g/l RS.

Freixenet, 2005 Cava Casa Sala, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada, 2.5g/l RS.

Furleigh Estate, 2009 Blanc de Blanc, England
Dorset, EQSW, Chardonnay, 12.1g/l RS.

Champagne G.H. Mumm, NV Brut Cordon Rouge, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 45% Chardonnay 30% Pinot Meunier 25%, 8g/l RS.

Champagne G.H. Mumm, NV Brut Rosé, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 60% Chardonnay 22% Pinot Meunier 18%, 6g/l RS.

Champagne G.H. Mumm, NV Blanc de Blancs Mumm de Cramant, France
Champagne, Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 6g/l RS.

Champagne Gaston Chiquet, 2004 Spécial Club, France
Champagne, 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 8g/l RS.

Gloria Ferrer, NV Sonoma Blanc de Noirs, USA
California, 92% Pinot Noir, 8% Chardonnay, 13.1g/l RS.

Champagne Goutorbe Bouillot, NV Cuvée Carte d'Or, France
Champagne, 60% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 12g/l RS.

Champagne Gremillet, NV Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

Guido Berlucchi, NV Franciacorta Cuvée Imperiale MAX Rosé, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 70% Chardonnay 30% Pinot Nero, 15g/l RS.

Guido Berlucchi, 2008 Franciacorta Cellarius Brut, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 70% Chardonnay 30% Pinot Nero, 7g/l RS.

Hambledon Vineyard, NV Classic Cuvée, England
Hampshire, EQSW, Chardonnay 70%, Pinot Noir 10%, Pinot Meunier 20%, 8g/l RS.

Hattingley Valley Wines, 2011 Classic Cuvée, England
EQSW, Chardonnay, Pinot Nior, Pinot Meunier, 8g/l RS.

Heemskerk Wines, 2009 Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Australia
Tasmania, Chardonnay 78% Pinot Noir 22%, 8g/l RS.

Henners, 2010 Brut, England
East Sussex, EQSW, 56% Pinot Noir 44% Pinot Meunier, 10g/l RS.

Hoffmann & Rathbone, 2010 Rosé Reserve, England
EQSW, Pinot Noir 90%, Chardonnay 5%, 10g/l RS.

Hunter's, NV Miru Miru, New Zealand
Marlborough, 58% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 9% Pinot Meunier, 5.3g/l RS.

Il Mosnel, 2010 Franciacorta Brut Satén, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Chardonnay, 7g/l RS.

Jacob's Creek, NV Sparkling Moscato, Australia
South Eastern Australia, Gordo 69%, White Frontignac 11%, Chardonnay 5%, 70.3g/l RS.

Champagne Jacquart, NV Brut Mosaïque, France
Champagne, Chardonnay 40%, Pinot Noir 35%, Meunier 25%, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Janisson & Fils, NV Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru, France
Champagne, 100% Pinot Noir, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Jean Comyn, 2008 Symphonie Millésimé Brut, France
Champagne, 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meuinier, 11.5g/l RS.

Juve y Camps, 2010 Cava Milesimé, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, Chardonnay, 7.2g/l RS.

Lantieri, 2009 Franciacorta Arcadia Millesimato, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 70% Chardonnay 30 % Pinot Nero, 8g/l RS.

Champagne Le Brun de Neuville, NV Cuvée Sélection, France
Champagne, 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 10

Le Colture, NV Prosecco Valdobbiadene Extra Dry, Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Glera 100%, 14g/l RS.

Leckford Estate, 2011 Leckfod Estate Brut, England
Hampshire, EQSW, 55% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, 9.5g/l RS.

Lo Sparviere, 2007 Franciacorta Extra Brut Millesimato, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 100% Chardonnay, 3g/l RS.

Lo Sparviere, 2007 Franciacorta Riserva Dosaggio Zero, Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, 100% Chardonnay, 0g/l RS.

Champagne Louis Barthelemy, NV Zéro Dosage Topaze, France
Champagne, 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay, 1.7g/l RS.

Champagne Louis Roederer, 2008 Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Mansard-Baillet, NV Tradition de Mansard, France
Champagne, 50% Chardonnay 50% Pinot Noir, 12g/l RS.

Champagne Moët & Chandon, 2006 Grand Vintage, France
Champagne, 42% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir, 19% Pinot Meunier, 5g/l RS.

Champagne Moët & Chandon, 2006 Grand Vintage Rosé, France
Champagne, 47% Pinot Noir, 23% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier, 5g/l RS.

Champagne Moët & Chandon, 1985, Grand Vintage Collection (Magnum), France
Champagne, 50% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Meunier, 7.5g/l RS.

Champagne Montaudon, NV Brut Réserve Première, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 45%, Chardonnay 33%, Meunier 22%, 11g/l RS.

Champagne Montaudon, NV Rosé, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 60%, Meunier 15%, Chardonnay 25%, 11g/l RS.

Champagne Montaudon, NV Classe M, France
Champagne, 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

Moser, NV Trentino 51, 151 Brut, Italy
Trentino, TrentoDoc, Chardonnay 90%, Pinot Noir 10%, 5g/l RS.

Champagne Napoleon, NV Brut Tradition, France
Champagne, 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, 9g/l RS.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, 2006 Cuvée Spécial Millésime, France
Champagne, 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, 8.6g/l RS.

Nino Franco, NV Prosecco Valdobbiadene Brut, Italy
Veneto, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Glera 100%, 10g/l RS.

No1 Family Estate, NV No1 Marlborough Rosé, New Zealand
Marlborough, Pinot Noir 100%, 6.7g/l RS.

Opera Vitivinicola in Valdicembra, 2009 Trentino Brut Millesimato, Italy
Trentino, TrentoDoc, Chardonnay 100%, 5.6g/l RS.

Champagne Perrier-Jouët, NV Blason Rosé, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 50%, Chardonnay 25%, Pinot Meunier 25%, 8g/l RS.

Champagne Pierre Paillard, NV Bouzy Grand Cru, France
Champagne, 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 5g/l RS.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, 2006 Brut Vintage, France
Champagne, Pinot Noir 60%, Chardonnay 40%, 9.5g/l RS.

Plumpton Estate, 2009 The Dean Blush Brut Rosé, England
Sussex, EQSW, 94% Pinot Noir, 6% Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

Quartz Reef, 2009 Quartz Reef Central Otago Methode Traditionnelle, New Zealand
Central Otago, Chardonnay 87%, Pinot Noir 13%, 7g/l RS.

Raposeira, 2007 Espumante Super Reserva BrutO, Portugal
Douro Valley, VEQ Método Tradicional, 60% Chardonnay, 40% Cerceal, 8g/l RS.

Recaredo, 2004 Cava Reserva Particular de Recaredo, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, 33% Xarel-lo, 67% Macabeo, 0.3g/l RS.

Recaredo, 2001 Cava Turó d'en Mota de Recaredo, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, 100 % Xarel-lo, 0.3g/l RS.

Ridgeview Wine Estate, 2011 Bloomsbury, England
Sussex, EQSW, Chardonnay 62%, Pinot Noir 19%, Pinot Meunier 19%, 8g/l RS.

Ridgeview Wine Estate, 2011 South Ridge Cuvée Merret, England
Sussex, EQSW, Chardonnay 69%, Pinot Noir 17%, Pinot Meunier 14%, 8.8g/l RS.

Rotari, NV Trentino Brut Rosé, Italy
Trentino, TrentoDoc, 75 % Pinot Nero, 25% Chardonnay, 7g/l RS.

Rotari, 2009 Trentino Riserva Brut, Italy
Trentino, TrentoDoc, 100% Chardonnay, 8g/l RS.

Champagne Ruinart, NV Rosé, France
Champagne, 45% Chardonnay, 55% Pinot Noir, 9g/l RS.

Schlumberger, 2011 Dom Rosé Brut T.F.X.T., Austria
Lower Austria, Austrian Sparkling Wine, 100% Pinot Noir, 6g/l RS.

Segura Viudas, NV Cava Gran Cuvée Reserva, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, 85% Macabeo, Parellada 15%, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, 6g/l RS.

Segura Viudas, NV Cava Reserva Heredad Rosé, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, 100% Pinot Noir, 9g/l RS.

Simonsig Estate, 2010 Cap Classique Kaapse Vonkel, South Africa
Stellenbosch, Cap Classique, 50% Pinot Noir, 49% Chardonnay, 1% Pinot Meunier, 8.9g/l RS.

Champagne Taittinger, NV Nocturne Sec, France
Champagne, 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier, 17.5g/l RS.

Taltarni Vineyards, 2011 Taché, Australia
Southeastern Australia, Australian Sparkling Wine, Chardonnay 55%, Pinot Noir 38%, Pinot Meunier 7%, 7.49g/l RS.

The Society's, Champagne NV Brut - Alfred Gratien, France
Champagne, 45% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir, 27% Pinot Meunier, 8g/l RS.

Thibaut-Janisson, NV Blanc de Chardonnay, USA
Virginia, Sparkling Wine, Chardonnay, 10g/l RS.

Törley, NV Fortuna, Hungary
Etyek-Buda, Hungarian Sparkling Wine, Csabagyöngye, Cserszegi Fuszeres, Muscat Lunel, 70g/l RS.

Uberti, NV Franciacorta Extra Brut Quinque (Magnum), Italy
Lombardy, Franciacorta DOCG, Chardonnay 100% , 3g/l RS.

Vilarnau, NV Cava Brut Reserve, Spain
Penedès, D.O. Cava, 40% Macabeo, 40% Parellada, 20% Xarel-lo, 10.5g/l RS.

Vivallis, NV Trentino Valentini di Weinfeld, Italy
Trentino, TrentoDoc, 100% Chardonnay, 2.4g/l RS.

Waitrose, NV Champagne Blanc de Blancs, France
Champagne, 100% Chardonnay, 12g/l RS.

Waitrose, NV Champagne Blanc de Noirs, France
Champagne, 100% Pinot Noir, 11g/l RS.

Wyfold Vineyard, 2010 Wyfold, England
Oxfordshire, EQSW, 54% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir, 18% Pinot Meunier, 8.8g/l RS.


Judges: Tom Stevenson, Essi Avellan MW & Dr Tony Jordan.
Associate Judge: George Markus.
Competition Steward: Amanda Regan.
Logistics & pouring: Karl Franz, Sensible Wine Services.
Tasting venue: Plumpton College Wine Centre.
Glasses: Riedel 6416/15.
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Final thoughts on the inaugural competition

We are extremely proud of the quality of our Gold and Silver medal winning wines, but it is clear that we did not get the message across to everyone in the first year of our competition. Ultimately the buck stops with me, so here are the points I failed to get across, including the classes I did not promote sufficiently, leaving them wide open for entrants to make their mark next year:

No draconian availability restrictions
There are no minimum production levels or stock availability; this is a niche competition that is looking for the very best. If a few fanatical consumers take a plane or drive to some remote location to buy a bottle, so much the better.
Best Next Vintage Release
Don't worry about it not being ready, I have "tasted forward" for more than 30 years and between Essi, Tony and myself, we have more experience of assessing unformed fizz than anyone else on the planet. The only proviso is that all entries must be due for release within 12 months of tasting.
Library Vintage
I cannot believe that we did not award a single Gold medal in this class in our first year. We received quite a few and looking at the crib after the tastings, there was one magnum that certainly stood an excellent chance based on previous tastings, but it was very disappointing. Producers should taste different disgorgements in-house before submitting. The minimum age is 20 years.
Blanc de Noirs
The best Chilean wine was a blanc de noirs, but as good as it was it was not deemed good enough for the World Champion trophy for that style.
Sweet Aromatic
I have tasted fabulous Espumante Moscatel from the Serra Gaùcha region of Brazil, but we did not even receive the best from Asti or Brachetto d'Acqui. Where else can such wines achieve global honours?
Dry Aromatic
Where were the stunning slowly evolved Riesling Sekt?
German Classic Champagne Varieties
Okay, there might not be many top class producers, but there are some and I totally failed to attract any to enter.
French Crémant appellations:
Very disappointing quality received. Surely there are producers keen to show their best?
Loire sparkling wines
More disappointing quality. Is there no one in Vouvray, Montlouis or Touraine capable of entering Silver quality, let alone Gold?
New Zealand Sparkling Sauvignon:
We had a good response from NZ, but the Kiwis seem to be ashamed of their fizzy Sauvignon Blanc, and they should not be.
Organic and Biodynamic
The highest award any of these wines achieved was Silver. These two classes are obviously wide open for awards.
Magnums
We received a fair number of magnums, but there are a lot of producers who are unaware that as a rule of thumb any Champagne or sparkling wine capable of winning Silver would probably win Gold in magnum format.

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