Medals all round
So many win awards, but does the wine taste any better?
We have all come across bottles of wine with an embossed gold sticker attached, boasting of an award garnered in some competition. Some have rows of shiny medals and look more like the uniform of a South American dictator. But does the wine taste any better? Wine- tasting is a subjective exercise at the best of times. Our taste buds are notoriously fickle; witness the delight everyone takes in fooling wine experts into mistaking a ¤ 7.99 supermarket house wine for a fine Bordeaux.
But with experience and training, it is possible to give an objective assessment of a wine. Credible wine competitions will have a panel of experts, and the winning wines will be tasted several times. Generally the wines are tasted part- blind, so the taster knows the grape, country and region, and the approximate price of the wines being tasted.
That does make sense as you are judging the quality of a wine, not guessing where it might come from.
Usually you won’t know what wines were entered. A top Pinot Noir producer who sells out their wine each year has no incentive to enter a competition.
These days most producer and consumer countries have a competition of some sort. The two biggest competitions on these islands are the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge ( IWC), both run in London.
This year, the Decanter wine panels tasted their way through 16,903 wines, awarding 11,121 awards of some kind, a very generous 65 per cent of all entrants. The IWC and most Australian competitions have a similar success rate, once you include awards of merit.
Competitions can be a lucrative business. Some helpfully award every wine that enters the competition. Most charge producers to enter a wine, and a winery has to pay for rolls of those gold medal stickers.
So this bank holiday weekend, make your own judgment with four award- winning wines.
In addition to those below, Dunnes Stores has the very enjoyable award- winning Simply Better Chianti Classico ( although not the same vintage) for ¤ 16.49, and Marks & Spencer and O’Briens have the trophy- winning Ascheri Arneis (¤ 19.50). Aldi won silver with its Monsigny Champagne (¤ 19.99) and Crémant de Jura (¤ 12.49) and commended for its Fleur de Prairie Rosé (¤ 9.99).
See Internationalwinechallenge. com and Decanter. com for full results.
Barbuntin Albariño 2016, Rías Baixas, 12.5%, ¤ 14.95
Awarded the IWC International Albariño Trophy and I can see why. Mouth- watering crisp lemon zest balanced perfectly by delectable plump peach fruits. Perfect summer drinking on its own or with shellfish.
Mitchell & Son, chq, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue & Dunboyne, mitchellandson. com;