Home News > March 2018 > Australian Chardonnay, Rioja and English fizz impress on week two

The second week of judging has kicked off with a great start for Chardonnay, Rioja and English fizz… here’s what our sommeliers are saying after Monday…

The highlight for today has to be the love for Australian chardonnay across the room. The tasters were bowled over by the quality this year and over the last few years of the awards, this has become a constant theme.

The Australians are producing Chardonnays in the Burgundian style and it seems to be really paying off. Competition Director, Chris Losh, said: “This style they’ve adopted appeared about 10 years ago and over time has got better and better.

“It has become established as a big trend and is proving to be very popular with sommeliers.”

Annette Scarfe MW, who stood in as Head of Judging for the day, also praised the style: “It was the winning category of the day as well as a flight of chardonnay from New Zealand – they were really impressive.”

Unfortunately, on the flipside, it would appear that the Chilean chardonnay didn’t prove to be as popular today. Chris Losh commented: “It seems they haven’t got hang of it yet, it’s the same style as they were producing 10 years ago and hasn’t really progressed at all.”

Again in 2018 Rioja is solid across the board and is a must-have category for the competition, with it still proving very popular in restaurants.

The wines entered into the competition for this category are reliable, likeable with no pricing problems at all. Micaela Martins Ferreira, Deputy Competition Director said: “Year after year it gives a solid performance and there’s no sign of it stopping.”

The final highlight for today has been English fizz, which the competition only just started seeing six or seven years ago. Chris Losh commented: “When this category first appeared the wines weren’t really there and now we have five flights (50 wines) which is equal to the number of NV champagne entries.

“Sommeliers attitude to English fizz was a curiosity back then and they expected the worse. Now they know more about it and expect it to be good, and it has certainly delivered this year.”