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Home News > February 2020 > Semillon unexpected standout on day one of judging

In a historic day for judging at the Sommelier Wine Awards, with a completely new online system put in place for tasting, the real surprise were flights of outstanding Semillon wines.

Our judges were surprised by the quality of these wines, which came in really interesting stylistic variations. Competition Chairman, Chris Losh, commented: ‘We haven’t had as many at this standard for a few years now and it’s great to see. I’m pleasantly surprised and it’s often not something restaurants typically think about, buy maybe they should.’

Valpolicella and Barbaresco were also popular flights with the judging panel today, from the Northeast regions in particular, with a good number already being tipped for medals.

In terms of a consistent performance, non-vintage champagne has been really solid, which has been the case for a few years now, and the teams found it hard to find fault with a number of them, particularly as they were such good value for money.

We’re predicting, fairly early on, that France might have a strong year with Christine Parkinson, Head of Judging, commenting: ‘The Côtes du Rhône flights were really good today, they were solid in terms of quality but we also saw lots of fun, juicy styles and with great typicity.’

Chris Losh added: ‘These wines are superb for gastro pubs, restaurants, and hotels across the board.’

The final noteworthy flight of the day came from a substantial number of bottles of Vinho Verde – something we haven’t seen in recent years and a number of new styles that have been emerging over the last few years. They were light, fresh and delicious… something we hope to see more of when judging continues tomorrow.