A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
This is the 28th IWC, which is widely regarded as the largest wine competition in the world.
Every wine is tasted blind and judges assess each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage. Every wine is assessed independently of its price. Great Value Champion awards are made after the wine has been judged for quality Throughout the judging processes, each medal-winning wine is tasted on at least three separate occasions by a minimum of nine judges
Co-chairmen include Charles Metcalfe, Tim Atkin MW, Sam Harrop MW, Derek Smedley MW, Oz Clarke and Debra Meiburg MW.
Forty two awards were presented, including Supermarket of the Year, which was awarded to Waitrose.
Tesco was awarded the inaugural IWC Own Label Range of the Year award, with an impressive line-up of Great Value Champion awards. Great Value Champion Rosé Wine (Tesco Finest Navarra Rosé 2010, Principe De Viana), Great Value Champion Champagne (Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne, Union Champagne) and Great Value Champion Sweet Wine (Tesco Finest Dessert Semillon 2007, De Bortoli Wines). This last wine, at only £6.49 recommended retail price, underlines how accessible and affordable some of the best wines in the world are, says the organisers.
Innovator of the Year was awarded for the second year running to Naked Wines, and High Street Chain of the Year for the third consecutive year to Majestic Wines. The Generic Campaign of the Year was won by Wines of Chile, for their ‘Carmenere Made for Curry’ campaign.
Charles Metcalfe, IWC Co-Chairman, said: “The quality and range of wines now being produced all over the world ensures that wine-lovers are spoilt for choice. Each year we find the standard of entries has risen, resulting in a very strong contest for this year’s winning wines. And, thankfully, we have fewer unacceptable wines entered.
“This is the world’s most scrupulously judged wine competition. Each medal-winning wine is tasted at least three (and sometimes up to six) times, and marks are awarded for faithfulness to variety, country, region and vintage. The IWC recognises excellence and aims to help wine-lovers identify some of the world’s best wines. Our meticulous and unrivalled attention to detail means a wine with the IWC logo is a wine you can trust,” said Metcalfe.
This year’s awards went to:
- Supermarket of the Year: Waitrose;
- High Street Chain of the Year: Majestic Wines was named the High Street Chain winner for the third consecutive year;
- Wine Club of the Year: The Wine Society, who also won Wine Merchant of the Year;
- Innovator of the Year: Naked Wines, for the second year in a row;
- Direct Merchant of the Year: Laithwaites;
- Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Bibendum Wine, for the second year running;
- Sustainable Trophy: Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2009, from Mt Difficulty Wines;
- Organic Trophy: Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon 2009, Domaine Christian Moreau Père Et Fils ;
- Biodynamic Trophy: Fleury Extra Brut 1995, Champagne Fleury