Trophy Winners 2006

More 9000 wines were entered into the International Wine Challenge 2006. Last month 288 of them were awarded coveted gold medals. Now, after at least 5 tastings within the course of the competition, 49 wines have clearly pushed ahead of the pack. Their balance, personality and finesse distinguished them as trophy winners.

As in previous years Challenge Chairmen, Charles Metcalfe, Derek Smedley MW, Tim Atkin MW & Sam Harrop MW, hosted a separate trophy tasting for their senior judges. This year's competition sees the IWC's first Sake trophy as well as a number of smaller producers in the limelight.

Some unexpected results bolstered Sam Harrop's enthusiasm for the challenge even further: "The success of some of the more esoteric and interesting wine styles illustrates that the IWC is a competition that embraces diversity"

France and Australia lead the pack yet again. While France scores with a phenomenal 15 trophies, Australia's 12 trophies include 3 international titles: International Zinfandel - snatched from the States, International Shiraz & International Fortified Muscat. No Australian Chardonnays have measured up to the IWC's exacting trophy standard though certain grape types shine in different areas with a Shiraz winning the Coonawarra trophy and Merlot lording it over the Barossa.

Portugal's third place in the gold medal tally (43) is repeated with the trophies (9), another great achievement from this underrated wine producing nation. Fourth place is tied between Spain and Italy with 7 trophies a piece. Germany's and New Zealand's trophy tally was more modest. However, they both beat off the competition to grab international trophies: Weingut Balthasar Ress's Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Kabinett 2004 wins both the German Riesling and International Riesling Trophies whilst Grove Mill's Sauvignon Blanc 2005 scoops a whopping 3 trophies: New Zealand's best Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand's best White & the International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy.

UK supermarket Sainsbury's will have cause for celebration again. Their own brand 2005 Taste the Difference Pouilly Fumé has not only conquered all the other French Sauvignon Blancs but also wins the French White Trophy.

Seven trophies remain to be announced: the Daniel Thibault Trophy (Champion Sparkling), Champion Red, Champion White, Champion Sweet, Champion Fortified, the James Rogers Trophy (best performance in 1st year of production) & the Len Evans Trophy (consistency performance over past 5 years). The Great Value Awards will be announced next month.

All four Challenge Chairmen are available for interviews. House photography of the judging can be provided upon request. Video footage of the judging procedure is also available.

Gold: 2004 Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Kabinett
Silber: 2004 Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese
Bronze: 2004 Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen Riesling Auslese

The full list of trophy winners will be posted on the IWC website: www.internationalwinechallenge.com

Press enquiries to: Sarah Canet Spoon PR & Marketing Sarah@spoon-pr.com +44 20 7610 9821

Editor's Notes:

1. The International Wine Challenge was founded in 1984 by Charles Metcalfe and Robert Joseph.

2. The competition is owned by William Reed Events.

3. Judges & the Judging Process

The 384 Judges involved in this year's judging included 28% of the world's Masters of Wine (MW). However it is not the volume of judges and their undoubted quality that sets the IWC apart from lesser competitions, it is the judging process. As Charles Metcalfe explains:

"Unlike other competitions, which are based either on mathematical computation or dictatorial 'experts', we are a competition that believes in discussion and consensus. No one is right all the time: even the best taster has lapses in concentration, bad nose days.

The IWC judging di


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