Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
The dinner which is probably the most popular event in the UK wine trade’s calendar, was compered by the inestimable Charles Metcalfe one of the founders of the IWC, and Tim Atkin MW one of the best known wine writers and a co-chairman of the IWC judges.
IWC White Winemaker of the Year went to Neil McGuigan of McGuigan wines part of Australian Vintage. IWC Red Winemaker is Gérard Bertrand of Gérard Bertrand. Sparkling Winemaker of the Year is Régis Camus of P&C Heidsieck. Hans Tschida of Weingut Hans Tschida is IWC Sweet Winemaker of the Year and Manuel Lozano of Emilio Lustau is IWC Fortified Winemaker of the Year.
IWC Champion wines are:
- Alois Kracher Trophy for IWC Champion Sweet Wine: Royal Tokaji 6 Puttonyos 2007, Royal Tokaji Borászati Zrt;
- IWC Champion Fortified Wine: Harveys Fine Old Amontillado 30 Year Old Vors NV, Harveys, Jerez (Beam Global Espana);
- Daniel Thibault Trophy for Champion Sparkling Champagne: Piper Heidsieck Rare Millésime 1998, P&C Heidsieck
- IWC Champion White Wine: Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling 2006, Angove Family Vineyards;
- IWC Champion Red Wine: Charmes Chambertin Les Mazoyères Grand Cru 2010, Domaine De la Vougeraie.
The IWC Lifetime Achievement Award went to famous viticulturist, Dr Richard Smart. Domaine De la Vougeraie won the Len Evans Trophy for consistency over five years in the IWC. The James Rogers Trophy for ‘best wine in its first year of production’ went to Marks & Spencer Single Block Series S1 Sauvignon Blanc 2011, from Yeatlands Estate.
Wine fraud journalist, author, Circle of Wine Writers’ editor and famous loud shirt wearer, Jim Budd was made IWC Personality of the Year.
Great Value IWC Wine Champions are:
- IWC Great Value Champion Rosé Marks and Spencer Le Froglet Rosé 2011, Maison Virginie;
- IWC Great Value Champion Fortified: Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana, Bodegas Hidalgo – La Gitana;
- IWC Great Value Champion Sparkling: Codorníu Rosado Brut NV, Grupo Codorníu;
- IWC Great Value Champion White: Tesco Finest Pouilly Fumé 2009, Fournier Père et Fils;
- IWC Great Value Champion Red: Tesco Finest Gigondas 2010, Vignobles La Coterie;
- IWC Great Value Champion Sweet: Tesco Finest Sauternes 2009, Yvon Mau.
The IWC Own Label Range of the Year was won by UK multiple retailer, Marks & Spencer. Wine Club of the Year is The Wine Society and the High Street Chain of the Year is Majestic. IWC Wine Merchant of the Year was Cambridge Wine Merchants.