Sommelier Wine Awards 2017 - 27 Golds, 43 Silvers & 3 Specials
The winning wines included 27 Gold medals (12 more than 2016), 43 Silver Medals and three special trophies.
Wines from San Marzano stood out taking home three Gold Medals & six Silver Medals, Ktima Gerovassiliou took two Gold Medals & one Silver, Gérard Bertrand one Gold & two Silvers and Lismore one Gold & two Silvers.
Special mention goes out to Saint Clair Family Estate, which received one trophy, five golds and two Silvers!
Below is a round up of the wines that made it on to the podium this year...
Gold & Food Match Trophy
An artful blend of fruit and spice earned this not only the Gold, but a Food Match Trophy, too.
Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson was struck by its ‘extraordinary aromas of ginger and spice, leafy character on the palate with lots of grip’, while team leader Sam Caporn MW felt it was a ‘classic’, showing ‘lovely deep cedar and lots of eucalyptus, chocolate and red cherry’.
‘Really good value for money – this would suit a big, red steak,’ concluded The Ned Hotel’s Giancarlo Cuccuru.
Gold & Critics Choice
Judges unanimously granted this Gold, and were generous in their praise. ‘Rich and fruity, grippy on the palate, ripe and honeyed,’ began team leader Simon Woods, who was impressed with its ‘lovely profile of peach and passion fruit, good depth and great length’, while Cavalry & Guards Club’s Andre Luis Martins thought it ‘classic, with white flowers and rich tropical fruit, like ripe mango’.
Jason Atherton Group’s Stefan Kobald praised ‘ripe, candied fruits with vanilla and saffron, with a creamy, honeyed palate with candle wax and petrol, and bright acidity’.
An excellent match for passion fruit bavarois, suggested The Don Restaurant’s Arnaud Fiol.
Rich, contemporary and characterful, this was an obvious choice for Gold. ‘Very aromatic and floral, with cedar and refined oak notes on the nose,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, continuing: ‘Modern Chardonnay with a full, fleshy palate, spicy melon fruit and white pepper notes.’
‘Richer style, ripe orchard fruits, creamy texture with a toasty palate and a nutty touch on the finish,’ agreed Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte. ‘Lovely poise and balance, with lovely mouthfeel and long, concentrated finish,’ concluded Paris House’s Neil Tabraham.
Bringing spice, fruit, elegance and complexity, this wine was a clear candidate for Gold. Frédéric Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa enjoyed its ‘elegant, spicy nose with well-seasoned oak, fleshy, ripe black berry fruit with complex hints of leather, dark chocolate and tobacco’, also finding it ‘well-integrated on the finish with great balance of tannin, acidity and spice’. Damien Trinckquel of Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Edinburgh also admired its ‘very precise style, freshness and structure, with sour red fruits and spice notes’. ‘Silky, smooth, meaty and savoury, with a complex finish,’ added team leader Andrea Briccarello, while Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu London recommended it be paired with a veal chop, rosemary, thyme and garlic.
This Gold Lister was identified as ‘an easy-drinking everyday wine’, by Buddha Bar’s Piotr Artur Tomaszewski, who continued: ‘Quite elegant, round with fresh apricot and peach, white pepper and ginger notes, then pineapple and camomile tea on the palate. Good for a hot day by the seaside.’ Thinking along similar lines, J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers found ‘nice salinity – a well-balanced and concentrated wine, great for brie and apple with grilled chicken’.
‘Floral and elegant with balanced acidity,’ began Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted in praise of this worthy Gold winner, adding that it would be a good food match for duck, but also has ‘great ageing potential’. ‘Runs the spectrum well, with violets, Morello cherry, olive and coffee on an expressive palate,’ added team leader Angela Reddin. ‘Lots of intrigue, with an elegant, perfumed palate – long, fragrant and mineral,’ concluded Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson.
Herbaceous and packed with red fruit, this took Gold for Domaine de la Solitude. ‘Eucalyptus and lifted cherry notes, with an elegant and perfumed palate,’ thought Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia. ‘A really well-made wine, with spice and red-berry fruit,’ praised team leader Sam Caporn MW, adding: ‘Seamless and characterful. This is young, with lots of potential, and a great match for bresaola with porcini mushroom risotto.’
‘This Gold absolutely nailed Rhône Syrah, with that lovely meaty, spicy pepperiness and fantastic texture on the palate, good acidity and a nice grippiness to the tannins,’ said an impressed Neil Tabraham of Paris House, adding: ‘Exceptionally good value for money and could sit comfortably on any wine list.’ Team leader Laura Rhys MS praised its ‘rich, bold, crunchy fruit, prune character and nice, vibrant complexity’, with WSET’s Mike Best concluding: ‘Wow, balanced and vibrant, so versatile and food friendly.’ Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW thought this a perfect match for ‘venison with blackberries or beetroot’.
A second Gold for Gerovassiliou in this category, this was ‘very much the intense, aromatic style of Viognier – a rounded and exotic fruit style with good complexity. A world-class effort,’ said impressed team leader Andrea Briccarello. Vinoteca’s Charlie Young noted its ‘apples and mineral, sweet pear aromas, great aromatics on the palate with some softness to the acidity, and finishing on a note of citrus’, while Sebastian Agnello of The Don Restaurant suggested it would be ‘ideal as an aperitif, with its ripe melon and elegant, fresh acidity’.
Fantastic consistency with a new vintage has earned this wine a place on the Gold List for a second successive year, standing out for team leader Andrea Briccarello with its ‘intense nose, feeling almost like a Margarita, dry and very mineral with good complexity and generous fruit’, while Vinoteca’s Charlie Young warmed to its ‘expressive and fruity nose, good leesy texture, great balance of weight and aromatic punch’. Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group highlighted its ‘aromatic and floral, herbaceous lychee, pear and kiwi with pomegranate notes, and well-integrated oak’. ‘This alongside Munster cheese, honey and farm bread would make me very happy all evening,’ added Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted.
‘Rich dark-fruit aromas, leading to cherries on the palate, with velvety texture and soft tannin,’ began Gaetano Giangaspero of Coya Mayfair in praise of this Gold winner, while team leader Lionel Periner noted ‘dark fruit, spices, coffee and toast notes on an elegant nose, and a dry and complex palate, well balanced and spicy with a full, long finish’. Stamatis Iseris of The Strathearn at The Gleneagles Hotel liked ‘pronounced red and black fruit combined with sweet spices and black pepper, velvet tannins and a long, savoury finish’, making this perfect, he thought, for ‘lamb shoulder or venison’.
This Gold winner was like a breath of ‘fresh, cold mountain air’ for Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted, with its ‘beautiful, very elegant style and many layers of aromas and fruit characters’. ‘Floral, rose water, pear drop, camomile, beeswax and citrus, rich and complex,’ added Jason Atherton Group’s Stefan Kobald. Buddha Bar’s Piotr Artur Tomaszewski found ‘wet stones on the nose, as well as a very herbaceous character. Peach, pear, green pepper and a touch of red grapefruit make this a good summer wine, ideal for ceviche, white fish sashimi or sole.’
‘A very bright, spicy and peppery nose with earthy tones,’ began Hakkasan Group’s Olivier Gasselin in praise of this remarkable Pinot, with its ‘juicy, crunchy palate with a savoury and complex finish, showing notes of nutmeg and Garrigue herbs’. Team leader Laura Rhys MS noted its ‘richer style, with dark fruits, blackberry and black cherry, and sweet spices with smoky bacon hints on a palate with lovely complexity’. ‘A stylish Australian – ripe raspberry aromas overlaid by delicate oak. The palate’s charming and restrained, with fine tannins,’ concluded fellow team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW.
Gentle and beautifully balanced, our judges had no doubts about awarding this Gold. ‘Delicate grassy notes on the nose with a herbaceous, citrus fruit character on the palate,’ began Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot, while Cavalry & Guards Club’s Andre Luis Martins enjoyed its ‘light tropical notes and fresh peach aromas with light herbal, leafy character to taste’. Team leader Laurent Richet MS was taken with its ‘delicious texture, with a complex and long finish – a match for creamy dishes’.
Bold, generous and concentrated, this was led straight to the Gold podium, as Hakkasan Group’s Olivier Gasselin praised it for being ‘juicy and supple – quite broad, but with fine structure, as well as good intensity’. ‘Mint-eucalyptus, bramble fruit and blackcurrant with coffee and chocolate on the palate,’ described consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates, with J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers summing up: ‘Big black fruit, nice concentration, with tannins that are meant for food.’ Specifically, team leader Simon Woods saw this working equally well with hard cheeses or steak.
Complex and mineral, this couldn’t take any less than Gold, thought our judges. Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous enjoyed its ‘black pepper, holly and apple wood nose, quince and capsicum with red and black fruit and more pepper on the palate, with nice wood integration and velvety tannins’, while team leader Olivier Marie remarked on its ‘leafy, stemmy character with herbal tones, a fresh palate with well-managed tannins and oak, high alcohol but in balance – a rustic style with pronounced minerality’. ‘Guilty-pleasure steak sandwiches on a Sunday,’ mused WineEd’s Matthew Cocks.
The Golds kept coming for Saint Clair. This was a richer style, with Street XO’s Raphael Thierry noting its ‘ripe, passion fruit nose, then textured palate with vibrant fresh fruits, clean with a long finish’, and Jacopo Mazzeo of The Pig Hotel (Brockenhurst) picking up ‘aromatic, subtle tropical notes with balanced acidity in the classic NZ style’. Jason Atherton Group’s Stefan Kobald appreciated this ‘crisp, mineral wine, with peach, pear and Granny Smith apple, as well as green cut-grass and peas – pair with grilled salmon in a lemon-butter sauce with fresh asparagus’.
Earning Saint Clair the hat trick, this was ‘rounded and juicy with a core of creamy richness, long on the palate and fresh, almost spicy with light notes of quince and lilies,’ began team leader Simon Woods, while Scott Levy of Smith & Wollensky found ‘freshness contrasted by hints of bitter citrus peel, with oaky notes and a rounded feel on the palate’. Markus Dilger of MAD F&B Consulting, meanwhile, was impressed by ‘gooseberry, citrus and pineapple notes, with a smooth body and good length’.
Team leader Annette Scarfe MW described this Gold winner as an ‘ambitious wine with lashings of new oak’, and also felt it was ‘very sleek and polished, with ripe tannins, nice approachability, and it will be suitable for spicy foods’. ‘Supple, juicy and broad, and made in a modern style,’ was Hakkasan Group’s Olivier Gasselin’s conclusion, while team leader Simon Woods described it as ‘concentrated, with earthy berry fruit’.
Jacopo Armenio of Vinarius was impressed by this Gold Lister’s ‘crisp and zesty nose with delicate notes of gooseberry, peach and apricot’, also noting ‘tropical fruits and good structure with balance and a lasting finish’, while Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu London described it as ‘grassy, pungent, with gooseberry notes – a really fragrant nose and lovely ripe, citrusy palate’, adding: ‘Really long and fresh, perfect.’
A bright and fruit-forward flavour profile propelled this to Gold, with Sexy Fish’s Julien Sahut finding ‘lots of red fruit, plums and leather notes with cherry and white pepper character on the palate’. Mike Best of the WSET, meanwhile, enjoyed its ‘bold, powerful aromas, cedar and spicy Morello cherries, with a juicy and ripe, delicious palate profile that would be a good match with southern-spiced fare’.
San Marzano, 'Sessantanni' Limited Edition 2013 (Future Vintage)
A solid Gold medal to accompany San Marzano’s win in the equivalent Italian white category. Team leader Sam Caporn MW highlighted its ‘perfumed oak with spice notes’, finding it a ‘modern, polished style with lots of fruit and a great balance of cherry fruit and structure’, while Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS picked up on some ‘violet florals, cherry and blackberry with a rich, ripe palate showing notes of coffee and vanilla, and a bit of maturity and leather’. Damien Trinckquel of Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Edinburgh enjoyed its ‘sweet fruit, soft and elegant style with botanic herbs and freshness’. ‘With plums, chocolate and vanilla, this would pair well with wild boar ragù,’ said Tamarind of Mayfair’s Chantal Serrano.
This easy-drinking, great-value Puglian blend was a worthy Gold recipient. Jose Luis Hernandez of Hakkasan Hanway Place found ‘peachy fruit on a fresh palate, medium length and a dry aftertaste’, while Cristian Sanchez of Hotel du Vin Cambridge enjoyed its ‘aromatic, floral intensity, with elderflower notes, citrus and light body’. J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers liked its ‘nectarine and orange notes, with refreshing sourness and some acacia and lavender notes – one for drinking by the pool’.
This Gold winner was a ‘concentrated and expressive wine that would be useful for introducing the style to the uninitiated’, began Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce, who enjoyed its ‘easy-drinking style, with firm but dusty tannins, dark fruit and spices on a long finish’. ‘Fresh and spicy with eucalyptus and mint leaf on the nose, a very well-balanced palate with a clean, long finish, hints of tobacco, leather and mushroom,’ added Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don. ‘Complex aromas of fruit, spice and floral notes, leading to roasted coffee beans on the long finish. Pair with beef bourguignon,’ concluded team leader Lionel Periner.
Living up to its name, this Gnarly White might have been unusual, but it was easily deserving of a spot on the Gold List. ‘A little funky, and tending towards the natural style, with some skin contact,’ began team leader Laurent Richet MS, who thought this ‘extremely well made, with cinnamon and golden apple, and an earthy finish’. Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte found ‘stewed pear and touches of cream and toast – bright and balanced, with nutmeg to finish’, while Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse saw this best matched with ‘pork fillets on a bed of honey risotto’.
A beautifully balanced exotic, floral flavour profile, with abundant ripe fruit, assured this Gewürztraminer of Gold. ‘Late-harvested, with some botrytis character and mango fruit in an exotic style,’ began team leader Olivier Marie, while Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce noted its ‘huge concentration and body, very lively palate with intense flavours of ripe melon, quince, honeysuckle and orange with some balancing herbal notes’. Jason Atherton Group’s Stefan Kobald spoke of ‘aromatic lychee and rose water notes, along with red apple, lavender, jasmine and chalky, wet-stone minerality’. ‘Grilled salmon with hollandaise sauce’ was the perfect match, according to Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club.
Barros 20 Year Old Tawny NV
Rich dried fruit and beautiful nutty notes elevated this tawny to Gold. ‘Church wood, great figgy fruit and acidity, then a lingering finish. Lovely stuff,’ said a satisfied Damien Trinckquel of Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Edinburgh, with Tobias Brauweiler MS of Sake No Hana highlighting ‘dark chocolate and coffee powder, complex caramel and preserved fruit flavours, nicely balanced alcohol and sweetness’. Ideally suited to complement ‘cooked figs with blue cheese and walnuts’, thought Elly Owen of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall.
‘Light pear fruit aromas with some notes of celery and minerals,’ began team leader Tom Forrest, noting ‘some oak spice with creamy pear on the palate, elegant fruit style, some spice and a soft finish’. ‘Good to have with fatty fish in the summer,’ added The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira.
‘Definitely one for a steak,’ began an effusive Piotr Artur Tomaszewski of Buddha Bar, who ‘especially loved the Bordeaux-style nose, but this is the crème-de-la-crème of New World Cab Franc, with coffee bean and chocolate complexity, blackcurrant and mint with a touch of almond on the nose, black pepper with wood elements and great structure, good to improve for another two or three years’.
Spring Restaurant’s Antoine Cabre highlighted its ‘very pale white colour, and lovely mineral freshness and fruitiness on both nose and palate’, with team leader Annette Scarfe MW noting ‘a delicate spritz, slightly evolved style and a little textured from lees work’.
Piotr Artur Tomaszewski of Buddha Bar enjoyed its ‘red fruits, raspberry and sour cherry’, also finding ‘cigar box and pencil shaving notes on a rounded, well-balanced palate with ripe tannins and good structure’, concluding: ‘Very good quality.’ ‘Powerful and complex, showing good typicity of the region,’ added Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels.
‘A more restrained style,’ began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, who noted ‘quince and lemon peel on the palate and a nice, creamy texture’, while Antoine Cabre of Spring Restaurant noted ‘fresh mineral, lovely fruitiness and nice texture’.
A wine with ‘a delicate nose and waxy texture’, according to team leader Annette Scarfe MW, who enjoyed its ‘core of ripe lemon, and savoury lees notes on the palate adding texture and structure’.
‘Concentrated and precise fruit on the nose, with flavours of green apple and fresh pear, long finish with mineral notes, a classically styled example,’ said Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce, while team leader Tom Forrest also enjoyed its ‘lemon mineral aromas, light yeasty prickle, saline and stony palate with a juicy green fruit finish’.
‘Quite deep, dark fruits combined with notes of the pine forest, intense but well balanced,’ said Dan Cohen of Cépages Wine Bistro, while Mike Best of the WSET admired some ‘real polish on this wine, which will provide value at the premium end of a list and offers great excitement of something with real power and concentration, a superb match with well-aged steak’.
Fred Marti of Typing Room found ‘great drinkability, with vibrant fruits, nice layers of flavour and good length’, while team leader Martin Lam noted its ‘cherry brightness, a lick of new oak and very chewy character’.
‘A good choice for Malbec lovers,’ suggested The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, noting its ‘spicy red and black fruit, good body and acidity with a touch of tannin’, while Giuseppe Longobardi of The 3A Pub Company highlighted its ‘cherry, blackcurrant and cranberry fruit with dusty, sweet fruit character and a warm finish’.
A floral style, which Sosharu’s Masahito Suzuki found ‘good, earthy and creamy, with persistent bubbles and mineral notes’, while Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn noted a ‘sweeter nose, vegetal and creamy on the palate, full of flavours and aromatics’.
‘Green leaf, citrus and hints of peppery radish on the nose, with fruit flavours ranging from lemon to sweet pears, along with minerals and a slight smoky character on the palate, with broad acids,’ said Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer.
‘Big colour and alcohol, delightful savoury flavours, a good match to game and spicy dishes – a hype wine!’ said Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, while Agustin Trapero of Avenue found ‘ripe black fruit, almost dry, with prune and liquorice notes, touches of bitter chocolate and coffee beans’.
One to keep, suggested Marcin Oziebly of The Wild Rabbit: ‘Pure class, in a modern style, with lots of new oak this has just started to develop, but the complexity it is beginning to show is stunning.’ ‘Intense, concentrated, compact palate, beautiful ripeness and balance with great structure,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.
‘Smoky, cheese rind character on the nose, showing oak usage with stone fruit on a rich and creamy, long palate,’ said Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group, with Vinoteca’s Charlie Young highlighting a ‘savoury, Burgundy-like nose with richness and some upfront sweetness’, and team leader Andrea Briccarello picking up ‘sea shell notes, textbook Greek intensity and ripe nectarine with salt and lime notes on the finish’.
A ‘very well balanced wine’ for The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, who enjoyed its ‘fresh acidity and alcohol, crispy green and yellow apple fruit with good minerals and a beautiful finish’, while WSET’s Mike Best noted its ‘creamy, high quality oak, subtle but persistent concentration that will pair well with richer dishes’.
Team leader Martin Lam found a ‘sappy, herbal, black olive nose, with a structured, perfumed, quite elegant palate’, and for Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia it was a ‘deep, brooding wine with structured dark fruit and soft, elegant wood spice notes’.
Antoine Cabre of Spring Restaurant found it ‘fresh, with good acidity and easy, green apple fruit’, while Jonathan Giffrin of Claude Bosi @ Bibendum noted ‘flint, lime and floral aromas, elegant lightness, and zesty lemon peel notes’.
‘A great, bouncy red,’ said an enthused Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse, adding: ‘Fruity and clean with great character. A chunk of Stilton would carry this home nicely.’ ‘Dense, bold and young, needs time to develop,’ added team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW.
‘Elegant, fleshy, savoury character, meaty and salty with dark raspberry fruit, toasty notes and cooking spices, lovely purity and a great finish,’ said Damien Trinckquel of Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Edinburgh, while Hakkasan Group’s Olivier Gasselin found it ‘a gamey, leathery style, with notes of spiced rum, savoury and very original, ferrous and long’.
Neil Tabraham of Paris House enjoyed its ‘clean, peach and melon nose with a fuller style, juicy and zesty palate, a well-made foodie Chardonnay with a long, bright and complex finish.’ Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia, meanwhile, appreciated ‘baked apples and peaches, with a wonderful mouthfeel’.
‘Complex black fruit, spice and pepper on the nose and lighter than expected on the palate,’ began Harry Crowther of M Wine Store, while team leader Martin Lam felt it had ‘fresh and young fruit with a grapey nose, smoked bacon character on a quite youthful palate with good tannic support, and certainly best decanted’.
‘Really deep purple in colour, with elegant floral aromas of violets, roses, redcurrant and raspberry fruits,’ began team leader Tom Forrest, who found the palate ‘cool, elegant and perfumed, fresh and juicy with great length’. ‘Needs more time in the bottle, but has lots of potential,’ felt Buddha Bar’s Piotr Artur Tomaszewski.
‘Well balanced, soft tannins, full bodied, powerful, rich, leafy and stony, with peppery and floral violet notes and lavender hints,’ said an impressed Ivan Ruiz of Wright Brothers, with Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer noting ‘oak, juicy black fruits, eucalyptus and black pepper’.
Sebastian Agnello of The Don Restaurant enjoyed its ‘peach, ripe golden apple and elegant notes of apricot with a good long finish’, while Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group found ‘vegetal asparagus notes, hints of pepper spice and ginger, some wet rock minerality and medium acidity with a long finish’.
‘Lively, balanced and characterful, with big warmth on the mid-palate,’ began Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, who ventured it could be ‘a clear challenge for dishes where you might be thinking white Burgundy’. ‘Open and fragrant wine, with banana and mango touches, notes of roasted pine nuts and a creamy, long finish,’ added Avenue’s Agustin Trapero.
‘Juicy, sun-drenched fruit style, with slightly stalky tannins but a rich, chocolatey finish,’ said J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers, with team leader Tom Forrest finding ‘floral violet perfumes and red fruits, raspberry and strawberry on the palate with a touch of freshness and a juicy finish’.
‘Mace, wormwood and earth’ were to the fore for team leader Angela Reddin, with ‘deep, dark and bitter elements coupled with just enough sweetness and great style’, while fellow team leader Olivier Marie was intrigued: ‘Amazing bitter cinchona character, like a Barolo Chinato, then liquorice with an almost Génépi, alpine liqueur finish.’
Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer enjoyed its ‘bright, orange and mandarin spicy nose, tropical fruit and orange peel menthol on the palate’, while Timothy Connor of Bread Street Kitchen also found ‘candied orange and apple with cinnamon spice, good acidity and balance’.
‘Light, raspberry fruit nose with a touch of austerity, juicy fruit on the palate then a clean and fresh finish, good length and balanced tannins,’ said Neil Tabraham of Paris House, with team leader Simon Woods finding it a ‘rounded, plush, textured style’.
‘Smoky, meaty nose, almost cured meat hints, then a complex palate of dark cherries and dark plum; clean, with a little showing of oak,’ said team leader Laurent Richet MS, with Agustin Trapero of Avenue noting: ‘Great, ripe black fruit, plums and beetroot, with a hint of white chocolate.’
Luciana Girotto-Beckett of Macellaio RC found it ‘aromatic, fresh and crisp with apricot fruit on the palate and a long, pleasant finish’, while Le Cordon Bleu London’s Matthieu Longuère MS enjoyed its ‘peachy perfumed freshness and lovely citrus fruit palate’.
‘Cherry and fresh beetroot aromas with a musky hint, dried cherries in the mouth, quite light in body and in general, but easy to drink,’ said team leader Angela Reddin, with J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers finding it ‘super-fresh with a good amount of flavour intensity, and a bit of animal character hiding in the bushes’.
‘Bright with dark fruits, rich and juicy on the palate with some meaty notes and spicy complexity,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS, with WSET’s Mike Best noting ‘baked but still high acidity and fresh, interesting and food-friendly with ripe aromatics’.
Sake No Hana’s Tobias Brauweiler MS found it ‘rich and clean, with blackberries, spice and thyme herbal notes on the nose, young on the palate with hints of charcoal and oak, bacon meaty character and fresh acidity and tannin’, while team leader Sam Caporn MW felt it was ‘dense and nice, quite a polished, modern style’.
Adam Michocki of Chez Bruce found this a ‘fruit-driven, juicy wine with high tannins and a pleasant spicy character, very intense with loads of expression and a long finish’, while Sumi Sarma of Sumilier noted ‘figs, ripe plums, raisins and prunes, well rounded and soft on the palate with a hint of pine needle greenness’.
Popular with all the judges, this showed ‘mineral, fresh, lively black fruit with tobacco and dark chocolate on the nose’, said Hakkasan Group’s Diana Rollan, then ‘a drying and full-bodied palate with good concentration and superb texture’. J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers felt it ‘holds tons of fruit and will age beautifully, but will sell like hot cakes now in the right restaurant’.
‘Pure slate and minerality, very persistent on the palate, clean with great balance and a great finish,’ began Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice, with team leader Simon Woods highlighting ‘lots of power, but piercing acidity, an excellent style, powerful but restrained, with suggestions of strawberry, red fruit and vanilla’.
The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira enjoyed its ‘good balance, lemon and raspberry fruit on the nose, and white grape juice character on the palate’, with team leader Laurent Richet MS noting its ‘massive foam, apple and pear fruit with quince and toast notes’.
‘Lovely stewed fruit aromatics, spicy and oaky notes on the nose, followed by very lively redcurrant and cherry fruit on a dry, spicy, peppery palate with freshening acidity,’ said Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish, with the WSET’s Mike Best noting ‘raspberry and balsamic notes with freshness on the palate’.
‘Smooth and spicy style with plenty of black fruit, cherry, blueberry and good balancing oak on the palate, long with a perfect finish,’ said The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, with team leader Laurent Richet MS summing it up as: ‘Classic intensity of cassis and mint with oak – juicy, bright and delicious.’
Team leader Annette Scarfe MW highlighted ‘creamy oak on the palate, along with very ripe fruit, almost confected, for a jammy fruitiness and a crowd-pleasing, full-bodied style’.
Jacopo Mazzeo of The Pig Hotel (Brockenhurst) found this was ready to drink, showing ‘dark stone fruits and some notes of tropical sweetness, well-integrated oak and soft tannins’, while Corin Ireland of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms was very taken with its range of ‘ripe dark fruit and wild strawberry, very nice texture and tannins, with aromatic white pepper hints and a gamey, herbal finish’.
A good food-matching choice, with its ‘stony mineral aromas, soft apple fruit on the palate with a slightly pithy, chewy mouthfeel and good white pepper character’, according to team leader Jade Koch, and Marek Rakowski of Harbour Heights Hotel felt it was ‘clean, long, mouthwatering and light’.