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France tops medal chart at the International Wine Challenge 2014

Published:  07 May, 2014

France has topped the medal chart at the International Wine Challenge for the 31st year running, taking 1987 medals, including 113 golds.

France has topped the medal chart at the International Wine Challenge for the 31st year running, taking 1987 medals, including 113 golds.

Australia was France's nearest challenger, scooping 75 gold medals and a total of 890 overall, including 335 silver and 480 bronze medals. Twelve different Australian varieties won golds, with 21 different Shiraz wines taking a top award. The country's Sémillons also performed very well, with 10 taking gold, including three for McGuigan Wines.

FranceFranceFrance has topped the medal charts at this year’s International Wine Challenge 2014.

France's diversity was also lauded, with 19 different varietals taking home golds. Traditional favourites  Chardonnay and Pinot Noir performed very well, while lesser-known grapes including Marsanne, Jacquère, Roussanne and Gros Manseng also took golds. France's Champagne region produced more gold medal winners than any other region in the world, with 40 gold medals awarded.  Four vintage Champagnes from Charles Heidsieck were awarded gold medals, including its 1995 Blanc des Millénaires, which was the oldest French wine to win gold.

Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the IWC said French wines had "wowed" judges yet again, from "exquisite champagnes to stunning red Burgundies, the quality across all styles touched on the sublime".

Italy was third in the league table, taking 658 medals . A total of 28 Italian wines picked up the top prize, 207 won silver medals, and 423 picked up a very respectable bronze. Italian reds performed very well, with thirteen receiving gold medals. Natale Verga vineyard in Piedmont was awarded two golds medals for its 2009 and 2010 Barolos. The youngest Italian Red to receive a gold was the 2013 Rosso Piceno, Conte Saladini from Saladini Pilastri in the Marche area of North East Italy. Three Italian sparkling wines impressed the judges enough to receive a gold medal, including a 2013 Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco Superiore Brut which retails for just £9.99.

Portuguese wines were awarded total of 603 medals, including 55 golds, putting it ahead of Spain in the medal count. A 1934 Justino Madeira picked up a gold, making it the oldest vintage to take home a top medal at this year's competition. Meanwhile 17 Portuguese reds also took the top award in what judges described as a "hugely impressive feat". Traditionally famed for its fortified wines, gold medals were awarded to unfortified wines from seven different Portuguese appellations, including Alentejo, Dão, Douro, Madeira, Port and Vinho Verde DOCs, and Alentejano Vinho Regional. Judges described these wines as "phenomenal".

For a full set of the medal winners announced today go to