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Home Winners > Winners 2013 > NEW WORLD: Other White Varietals & Blends

Winner Details

New World: Other White Varietals & Blends

Lighter styles and less oak made this a more consistently decent set of wines than in the past – though nothing demanded a place on the Gold List

This part of the competition tends to give up its Golds with all the rarity and reluctance of Sir Alex Ferguson praising a referee. Taking in everything from unusual single varietal wines (such as Roero Arneis or Grüner) to weird and wonderful blends (Chardonnay/Viognier/Roussanne/Marsanne anyone?), it is, essentially, the place where winemakers go to play.

As you’d expect with experiments, some have worked better than others – for every iPad there are half a dozen C5s – and that was more or less the case this year. While nothing knocked our tasters’ socks off, the overall feedback can be summed up by the words ‘pleasantly surprised’.

‘There were some really nicely made wines: complex, constructed, without being over-manipulated. Nice flavours and nice balance,’ concluded team leader Angela Reddin.

The Marylebone Hotel’s Mark Deamer was also not unhappy with what he found. ‘The wines I liked had that food friendliness and were textured. There were some I was ambivalent about, but nothing really hideous.’

If ‘pleasantly surprised’ and ‘not unhappy’ sounds like damning a category with faint praise, it is, nonetheless, progress from a part of the competition that has sometimes turned sommeliers green in the past.

Of course, there were caveats – there always are… Some felt they detected too much work being done in the winery, rather than the vineyard, while others thought that (failed) attempts at some of the lighter, fresher styles simply crossed over into ‘green and dilute’, their meanness letting down promising aromatics.

In general, the cheaper ones that were ‘trying less hard’ tended to be viewed more favourably, but none went beyond ‘good’ into ‘must-list’ territory.

Maybe with a few more years some of these Kiwi Grüners will make the jump. For a variety that only appeared in this competition (outside its Austrian homeland) a few years ago, with two out of the seven medals, it’s clearly moving in the right direction.

‘Stylistically we were jumping around, but when oak was used, they gained some more complexity and definitely got more interesting.’
Philippe Moranges, Hakkasan Hanway Place