Home News > March 2019 > Southern Rhône steals the show

Southern France has wowed judges on the first day of the second round of SWA judging, with Southern Rhône being tipped the star of the show.

The second round sees all wines that have gone through in round one tasted again and medals decided based on criteria such as food-friendliness and value for money.

Judges commented that the southern French reds in particular can typically be too big and oaky but this year they’ve been very balanced and excellent wines.

Star Italian wines have also impressed today from Nebbiolo to Amarone with Head of Judging, Christine Parkinson, commenting: ‘They couldn’t put a foot wrong’.

Competition Director, Chris Losh, added: ‘The big beasts of Northern Italy really turned up and partied today, they’ve done incredibly well.’

In fact, a lot of old world regions have been very solid today seeing plenty of medals being awarded, with a diverse range of gold medal winners.

White varieties have had a great day with consistency and character, with Christine Parkinson’s favourite wine of the day being a ‘pretty Greek white, which was quite expensive but excellent value for money and just lovely’.

For sparkling wines Prosecco has been awarded a number of medals, with judges commenting on a very decent, consistent wines that ‘improve every year’, with Parkinson adding: ‘they are less and less pear-drop and more balanced wines’.

House wines, Rosé in particular, have struggled today, showing just how difficult it can be to make a decent, cheap and affordable Rosé. Chris Losh said: ‘There are more ‘unlikeable’ wines in this category than in the past and it comes down to price.

‘The house wines are the level where you most obviously see the costs in duty etc. and you really notice the extra 30-40p.

‘When SWA started house wines were priced at under £3.50 a bottle and since then it’s doubled and good value house wines are still getting harder and harder to find.’