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English wines score highly at IWC

Published:  18 May, 2010

English wines impressed the judges at the International Wine Challenge, scooping two gold medals.

The annual awards were announced exclusively at the Harpers Wine & Spirit stand at the London International Wine Fair today.  

Cornish label Camel Valley won a gold medal for the second year running, this time for its 2008 Pinot Noir Rose Brut (£24.95).

The label also won two silver medals, one for its 2009 Bacchus and another for its 2007 white Pinot Noir.

Camel Valley winemaker Sam Lindo, 33, said: "Gold medals are very hard to achieve so to get one for a second time is really great and shows that the majority of wine we produce is of good quality.

"English wine is a force to be reckoned with.

"There is still a long way to go, but there is no hurry to get there."

Nyetimber, based in West Chiltington, West Sussex, won a gold medal for its 2001 Blanc de Blancs, a 100% chardonnay (£28.99), in the blind tasting.

Winemaker Cherie Spriggs, 33, said: "This is really big for us - it is the first time we have won a major award from the International Wine Challenge.

"For someone to say 'you have won a gold medal' makes me very proud.

"We spend a lot of time agonising over every little detail, we like to question every single decision.

"This award is vindication for all our hard work."

Italian winemaker Filipp Spagnoli, 36, scooped a silver medal for his Sangiovese Pian De Guardi, a Tuscan red.

He said: "This is the second medal I have won and I am very happy because the International Wine Challenge is a very prestigious event and will help to make our wine much more popular with the public."

Of the 7,726 medals awarded this year 326 were gold, 1,445 were silver and 2,255 were bronze.

France retained its status as the number one wine producing nation, scopping 75 gold medals and 947 medals in total.

Second place in the medals table was Australia with 65 golds and Portugal was third with 35 gold medals. 

Adrian Vanderspuy, the South African proprietor of Oldenburg Vineyards, won a bronze medal for his 2008 Cabernet Sauvingnon and Syrah - a wine that has only been on sale for the past six weeks.

He said: "It is our first year of bringing this to market, so it's a new wine.

"The vineyards are only three to four years old, so it's experimental, but we go away with a prestigious award and I am happy."

The International Wine Challenge was set up in 1983 and is seen as the Oscars of the wine world.

This year 10,000 wines from a record-breaking 46 countries around the world were entered into the competition.

Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, said: "We have had a bigger and better competition than ever before - we have never had as many wines as we had this year.

"We just didn't have as many bad wines sent to us.

"There are now some really good wines from all over the world and this competition shows the net is widening."