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England sparkles in latest IWC round

Published:  28 November, 2018

Two English sparkling wines were awarded gold in the latest round of the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

The wines taking the top gong were Raimes Classic Brut 2014 from Hampshire - a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2014 from Sussex – made with 100% Chardonnay. Both scored 95 points.

In addition to the golds, England was also awarded 11 silver medals – 10 of which were for sparkling wines, cementing England’s status as a high-quality producer of fine sparkling wines.

Four of these went to Cornwall’s Camel Valley, the region’s largest producer of sparkling wine. Sussex producer Peter Hall of Breaky Bottom, and Ridgeview were awarded two silvers apiece, with Kent based Gusbourne, Denbies in Surrey and sussex wineries Bolney and Bluebell Vineyard all picking up one Silver medal each.

“I think that if a wine achieves a medal in the IWC then it's a safe bet for a good bottle this Christmas. It takes a lot to get a silver, and the golds are rare,” said co-chair Dr Jamie Goode

Most of the English wines gaining Silver medals are made with the same type of grapes and techniques used in France’s Champagne region. The exceptions were the Darnibole Brut 2014 from Camel Valley, which is made from Seyval Blanc grapes – an early ripening grape well suited to England’s climate, and Bolney’s sparkling Cuvee Rosé 2016 which features Gamay, the grape associated with Beaujolais, in the blend.

The only English still wine to receive a silver was the Denbies Bacchus, which is available in Marks & Spencer.

The first part of the 2019 International Wine Challenge – Tranche 1 – saw 212 wine experts from 23 countries judging the wines over four days in London. Tranche 2 judging will take place from April 1-11, 2019, with the results announced on 8 May.