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Winner Details

New World: Riesling

2014: Gold 2 Silver 9 Bronze 3 Commended 5
2013: Gold 5 Silver 5 Bronze 3 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 50%
Overall SWA performance 2014: C-

Sommeliers, generally speaking, love Riesling the way that Cheryl Cole loves tattoos. And they have no problem with New World versions either, as evidenced by a whopping five Golds in 2013. But this category failed to build on the success of last year.

The problem may have been a reduced presence from New Zealand. No Golds and four Silvers was a disappointing return for a country that has firmly established itself as being the New World’s cool-climate star.

But in fact, the Kiwis have rarely dominated here to the extent you might expect, and Australia’s seven medals (including both Golds) was more or less par for the course. While last year’s Aussie Golds were (atypically) both from WA, this year saw a return to the more familiar stamping ground of the Clare and Eden Valleys. Indeed, all but two of Australia’s medals went to the Barossa.

There were a few complaints from the tasters in the early rounds that Aussie winemakers seemed to be ‘trying to outdo each other on the acidity front’, and it’s surely no coincidence that both of the Golds here had a few years of bottle age on them.

‘Most of them were very lean, very acidic and super-young,’ said consultant Ronan Sayburn MS.  ‘I’d have liked to see more maturity.’

Perhaps with a little more generosity of fruit, softness of texture and age in general to wrap the wines around the grape’s trademark rapier-shaft of acidity, we’ll see a few more medals next year.

Star Performer

Congratulations to Negociants UK, who entered both the New World Riesling Golds.

From The Tasting Teams

‘I tend to divide Rieslings into two camps – German/Alsatian and Australian. It’s very difficult to find space on your list for something that falls in the middle.’ Riccardo Marcon, Hakkasan Mayfair

‘We’re living in a world of mixing styles. You can find great Germanic styles of Riesling in New Zealand. You would also find very dry, pure and steely Rieslings in Germany and Austria or even Alsace. It’s not a stylistic issue.’ Jan Konetzki, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay