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Winner Details

New World: Gewürztraminer & Torrontés

2014: Gold 3 Silver 3 Bronze 2 Commended 3
2013: Gold 0 Silver 2 Bronze 2 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 15%
Overall SWA performance 2014: B

Every so often something happens in the Sommelier Wine Awards that makes everyone sit up and take notice. And listening to our tasting teams after these flights had been tasted was rather like seeing the astonished reaction of middle America when it first heard Elvis. They weren’t sure whether they liked it, but they were fairly sure that things might never be the same again.

This, make no mistake about it, was a good year for these two grape varieties. The even tartier cousins of Viognier, they habitually totter through these pages like a pair of drunken students at a hen party, trailing vulgar perfume in their wake.

Except that this year they didn’t. The same kind of ‘moves to freshness’ that are reinvigorating Chardonnay and (this year at least)

Viognier were detectable here, too. But while that has, in the past, meant a dilution of all that makes Gewürz and Torrontés interesting in the first place, this year the balance was much, much better. And nowhere more so than in the astonishingly good Los Gansos, which was very obviously Gewürz, but genuinely refreshing and drinkable at the same time.

It fully deserved its Critics' Choice award – where it was the cheapest winner by a country mile. ‘It’s simply great value,’ said Bread Street Kitchen’s Gergely Barsi Szabó. ‘That’s a wine that would work in any environment.’ Coupled with the richer, more gastronomic Spy Valley, it made for a strong Gold List pairing in a grape variety that has often struggled to get to Silver, let alone Gold.

If Gewürz’s renaissance was the big ‘hold-the-front-page’ story, it was ably supported by Torrontés, which also had a record haul of medals. And for a grape that some judges have refused point blank to even taste in the past, the feedback was pretty positive here, too.


With 11 medals/Commendeds in SWA 2014, Gewürz and Torrontés equalled their total number of awards from the past two years put together.

From The Tasting Teams

People expect a big, perfumed, aromatic wine from Gewürz, and if they don’t get it then they feel they’ve been ripped off.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘The best examples of Torrontés had a floral, mineral character, with good balance; wines that speak of a spring garden.’ Amelia Thornhill, The Plough Inn

‘Under £8 there is some very good value Torrontés. The wines were good too above £12, but this would be very difficult to sell as it is so unknown to customers and quite an unusual style.’
Nicolas Clerc MS, consultant sommelier