Home News > March 2020 > New World shines on the first day of medals

New World shines on the first day of medals

There has been a clear star today, and it’s not a country or grape variety, but a whole area – the New World. Our judges were pleasantly surprised by the restraint and elegance from these wines, that has not been seen before at the Sommelier Wine Awards.

New World Chenin Blanc has improved year-on-year, but today this grape variety really shone. Producers have mastered the wonderful ripe fruit characteristics of this varietal and have honed in on the finesse and restraint of these New World wines. Head of Judging, Christine Parkinson, noted: “this grape variety is one to watch in restaurants, their versatility and food-friendliness will see them stealing space on wine lists”.

Another variety that really impressed our judges was New World Pinot Noir. In the past, it has been a category that has sadly under delivered, but this year’s wines have shown real varietal typicity and elegance – demonstrating thoughtful winemaking. Often, New World Pinot Noirs have been subjected to too much oak or overly jammy characteristics, but today’s wines showed real class. “They are a great alternative to Burgundy” observed Competition Chairman, Chris Losh.

On day 2 of the SWA judging, Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc was praised for its refined style, and again on day 5 they were still favourites amongst our judges. The region has really found a distinctive style – that is not copying New Zealand or South African styles. Their interesting character is savoury at the same time as being zesty and pithy - the region has really earnt its right to sit in a category of its own.

Ending another great day of judging on a high, this time with an unusual flight that wowed everyone - orange wine. The wines were very approachable and showed real potential for their food-friendliness. They were very different to other wines tasted, but not in a contrived manner. Christine highlighted that these orange wines “could be put in front of a customer, who were unfamiliar with the category, and not challenge them but be effortlessly delicious”.