Home News > March 2019 > Tuscan wines hit the right note on final day of judging

The final day of the Sommelier Wine Awards judging started off with a fitting tribute to the late Gerard Basset, as the entire room made a toast to his incredible career with their first flight.

Following this, the tasting began with over 50 judges deciding on medals for our final entries. Tuscan wines have been very popular today with judges praising them for being fresher and more balanced than in previous years.

Head of Judging, Christine Parkinson said: ‘The Tuscan wines have been so drinkable. They are expensive but they’re excellent and expensive. It’s definitely been their year’.

Champagne has also had an impressive year after their defeat to English Sparkling wine in 2018. Competition Director, Chris Losh, commented: ‘although it has a higher price point, it’s really upped it game’.

Other sparkling that’s seen successful flights today is wine from the New World and Cava. Judge Tobias Gorn said: ‘Cava is definitely something that people should look into serving – many of them are better quality than house champagne at double the price.’

New World areas in general have really been stepping up with good examples from varieties such as Pinotage, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc. Christine Parkinson commented: ‘They are well-priced and are definitely filling a gap where European wines aren’t performing.’

One of those European areas is Spain, which unfortunately hasn’t hit the heights it’s used to, particularly Rioja. Chris Losh commented: ‘It’s been good wine but underwhelming and hasn’t reached what it normally does’.

However, Quentin Loisel, Senior Sommelier at Restaurant Sat Bains said: ‘German Riesling has hit a sommelier sweet spot this year. There’s such a diverse range, from flinty and smoky to some off-dry styles.

‘You can really express the genius of a chef with wines like these. They’re a great reward for being adventurous on a wine list.’