It is awards season in the UK wine trade. Last week saw three different competition results announced, all focusing on English and Welsh wines, and with a particular emphasis on the fortunes of rosé.
First, the English & Welsh Wine of the Year competition, run by the United Kingdom Vineyards Association and judged by a panel of five MWs. Six gold medals were awarded to still rosés in 2010, up from none in the previous year. Particular kudos goes to Cornwall-based Camel Valley’s Fortnum & Mason Rosé 2009
, which won the Waitrose Rosé Trophy, and Wickham Vineyard’s Row Ash Rosé NV
from Hampshire, which took the specialist trophy for non-chaptalised wine.
Pink wine was the sole focus of another blind-tasting contest, this time between Devon and the Loire Valley. The brainchild of another MW, Alistair Peebles, it took place as part of Devon Wine Week and saw a final medal tally of six to Devon (including the only two silvers given) and four to the Loire. The full line-up, including some pretty respectable Loire names, is viewable at their web page
Meanwhile in the opposite corner of southern England, the South-East Vineyards Association were trumpeting English sparklers as their victors. Two of the three golds given went to my sometime employer Gusbourne Estate
, including the best wine in show award for their Classic Blend 2006
, which Jancis reviewed recently here
. Pictured below is Gusbourne owner Andrew Weeber on the left, alongside Kevin Sutherland of Bluebell Vineyards, who was runner-up.
The value of such wine competitions as these is much wrangled over. It does sometimes seem that there are enough blind-tasting contests around the world to prove anything, but from all the evidence I have seen, the spirit and integrity of the judging is nothing but steadfast. So congratulations, then, to the winners mentioned above!