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Judgement of London: A near-tie in global wine tasting

Published:  22 May, 2024

In a closely contested event, the London Wine Fair’s Judgement of London took place on Monday (20 May), showcasing some of the finest wines from around the globe. A panel of 21 judges, including a significant number of Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, evaluated 32 wines over a rigorous four-hour tasting session. Each wine was carefully decanted and served in Jancis Robinson X Richard Brendon glasses, with the tastings conducted under strict exam conditions.

The wines were presented in pairs, featuring eight pairs of white wines and eight pairs of red wines. Each pair included a European wine and a Rest of the World counterpart, matched in style. The judges scored each wine out of ten, resulting in an overall score for both European and the Rest of the World wines.

The wines were selected by Sarah Abbott MW, MD of Swirl Wine Group, and Ronan Sayburn MS, CEO of The Court of Master Sommeliers. The results were announced on Centre Stage by Abbott, Sayburn and Hannah Tovey, head of the London Wine Fair yesterday (21 May).

The standout wines were:

Top Scoring White: Pegasus Bay Riesling, Bel Canto, Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand 2011

Runner-Up White: Polish Hill Riesling, Grosset, Clare Valley, Australia 2012

Top Scoring Red: Hermitage Rouge, Jean Louis Chave, Rhône, France 2012

Runner-Up Red: Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France 2009

Top Scoring Wine Overall: Pegasus Bay Riesling, Bel Canto, Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand 2011

The final scores were exceptionally close, with European wines scoring 2,621.5 points and the Rest of the World wines scoring 2,604.5 points, a difference of just 0.65%.

The Judgement of London aimed to reflect the modern fine wine landscape nearly 50 years after the original Judgement of Paris in 1976. While California wines dominated the Paris event, the 2024 tasting highlighted the narrow margin between today’s European and the Rest of the World wines.

Sarah Abbott MW emphasised the global excellence in winemaking, stating, “The results from Judgement of London highlight that great wine can and does come from all corners of the world.” Ronan Sayburn MS noted the evolution of global wine styles, adding, “50 years ago, there was a definite difference in style; now it is a much more level playing field.”

The Wines and Pairings

White Wines:


Rest of World: Polish Hill Riesling, Grosset, Clare Valley, Australia 2012

Europe: Trimbach, Riesling Clos St Hune, Alsace, France 2008


Europe: Cervaro Della Sala, Marchese Antinori, Umbria, Italy 2018

Rest of World: Kistler Chardonnay, Les Noisetiers, Sonoma, USA 2018


Europe: Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Maison Louis Jadot, Burgundy, France 2017

Rest of World: Felton Road Chardonnay Block 6, Central Otago, New Zealand 2017


Rest of World: Au Bon Climat Hildegard, Santa Maria Valley, USA 2020

Europe: Terre Alte, Livio Felluga, Friuli, Italy 2020

Sauvignon Blanc:

Europe: Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classé, Pessac Léognan, Bordeaux, France 2017

Rest of World: Peter Michael Winery Sauvignon Blanc, L'Apres Midi, Sonoma, USA 2014


Rest of World: Pegasus Bay Riesling, Bel Canto, Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand 2011

Europe: Franz Hitzberger, Riesling Singerriedel, Wachau, Austria 2019


Rest of World: Viognier, Tahbilk, Nagambie Lakes, Australia 2011

Europe: St Joseph Blanc Les Oliviers, Pierre Gonon, Rhône, France 2020


Europe: Quinta dos Roques Encruzado, Dão, Portugal 2014

Rest of World: David & Nadia Chenin Blanc, Skaliekop, Swartland, South Africa 2019

Red Wines:

Pinot Noir:

Rest of World: Storm Pinot Noir, Ridge, Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa 2019

Europe: Bonnes Mares Grand Cru, Domaine Dujac, Côtes de Nuits, France 2017

Pinot Noir:

Europe: Spätburgunder, Weingut Mayer-Näckel, Ahr Valley, Germany 2019

Rest of World: Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir, San Andreas, Sonoma, USA 2019


Rest of World: Promontory, Napa Valley, USA 2019

Europe: Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France 2009


Europe: Château Léoville Las Cases, St Julien, Bordeaux, France 2009

Rest of World: Viñedo Chadwick, Maipo Valley, Chile 2015


Rest of World: Homage Syrah, Trinity Hill, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand 2018

Europe: Hermitage Rouge, Jean Louis Chave, Rhône, France 2012


Europe: Saperavi Qvevri, Quevri Wine Cellar, Kakheti, Georgia 2019

Rest of World: Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, Canberra, New South Wales, Australia 2015


Rest of World: Torbreck Hillside Vineyard Grenache, Barossa Valley, Australia 2016

Europe: Clos Magador, Priorat, Spain 2019

Cabernet Franc:

Europe: Saumur Champigny, Clos Rougeard, Loire, France 2018

Rest of World: Gran Enemigo, Cabernet Franc, Gualtallary, Argentina 2018

Judges' Insights

Richard Bampfield MW reflected on the diversity of styles, stating, “Fine wines, in a dazzling variety of styles, are being made the world over.” Dawn Davies MW appreciated the blind tasting format, which highlighted the parity between global wines, while Daniel Illsley and Anne Krebiehl MW praised the surprising quality and complexity of the wines.

Adam Lechmere added, “In wines at this level, the terms 'New World' and 'Old World', as predictors of style, are pretty much defunct,” underscoring the global evolution in winemaking.

Scoring System

The event utilised two scoring systems: plurality voting and the Borda Count, ensuring a balanced and unbiased result. This method provided a comprehensive assessment of each wine’s quality and highlighted the near-equality in today’s fine wine market.

Overall, the Judgement of London reaffirmed the exceptional quality of wines from around the world, showcasing a global unity in winemaking excellence. Time will tell if these results influence consumer preferences and buying behaviours.