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PRODUCERS OF THE YEAR

Making a wine that’s considered to be deserving of any kind of medal at SWA is already quite an achievement. So to have picked up a haul of medals across a range of styles and price points is worthy of special recognition. This year, these producers stood out for their outstanding performance.

EUROPEAN PRODUCER OF THE YEAR - JEAN-LUC COLOMBO/COLOMBO & FILLE, FRANCE

4 GOLD, 2 SILVER, 1 CRITICS’ CHOICE, 1 BY THE GLASS TROPHY

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The Rhône had a superb Sommelier Wine Awards in 2018, and right at the heart of it was Cornas-based legend Jean-Luc Colombo. A regular entrant into SWA down the years, he often picks up several medals, but it was the lift in class this year that secured him his first-ever Producer of the Year award. Along with his daughter, Laure, via the Colombo & Fille label, he bestrode the section like a colossus, with four Golds (including both of the whites) and two Silvers. With a Critics’ Choice and a Food Match Trophy as well, this was a superb haul of medals – and Trophies - that in terms of price and style covered gastropub to the finest of fine dining. It proved, too, that with prices rising across France, Cornas is well worth considering as a classy cru that is a lot more affordable than the likes of Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
Suppliers: Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark  

NEW WORLD PRODUCER OF THE YEAR - KLEINE ZALZE

3 GOLD, 3 SILVER, 1 BRONZE, 4 COMMENDED, 1 BY THE GLASS TROPHY

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Kleine Zalze, as they say, has previous in SWA. It regularly picks up a truck load of medals, and has even won New World Producer of the Year before now. And it was right back on form again this year, rounding off a particularly good SWA for Hatch Mansfield/Matthew Clark – both of our Producers of the Year are in its portfolio. To pick up seven medals is, in itself, impressive enough. But to do it with wines that are this cheap is little short of remarkable. Five of Kleine Zalze’s seven medal winners were under £10, suggesting that if you’re looking for £30 wines for your list it’s probably a great place to start. But it was also really interesting to see it pick up Golds with a pricey (£15) Sauvignon Blanc and a classy Stellenbosch Shiraz. These are not wines that habitually walk on to our Gold List, so the fact that they did tells you everything you need to know about how good they are.
Suppliers: Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark