Home Winners > Winners 2016 > Rest of the Old World, including Romania, Lebanon, Croatia & Slovenia

Winner Details

 Rest of the Old World, including Romania, Croatia, Slovenia & Lebanon

2016 Gold: 2 Silver: 3 Bronze: 6 Commended: 6
2015 Gold: 0 Silver: 3 Bronze: 7 Commended: 4

As the likes of Greece, Hungary and Turkey have vacated this ‘Rest of the Old World’ section to strike out on their own, so other countries have moved in to take their place – the likes of Slovenia, Romania and, this year, Switzerland and Cyprus. It makes for an interesting array of styles to choose from, as well (often) as being a marker of which countries to look out for making progress next year.

The one constant is Lebanon, which, sadly, never seems quite to make enough of an impact to justify a category all of its own, and with which our tasters often struggle.

The combination of intense sunshine and high altitude in the Bekaa Valley often gives the reds a certain rusticity and generally means they don’t get past Silver medal status. You have to go back to 2013 to find the last time a Lebanese red made it on to the Gold List.

Nonetheless, it was heartening to see the interesting Sauv/Sem/Muscat/Viognier blend Ixsir make it on. It was (admittedly) expensive, but it’s also undeniably high quality and interesting. And, combined with one of the best-priced Sauvignon Blancs in this year’s competition from the Romanians, Daciana, it gave us a strong white pairing from this section.

Here’s hoping for a stronger showing from the reds in 2017.


‘I feel a bit sorry for Lebanon, there’s one wine that dominates the market – Musar – but there’s a lot of potential there.’ Julian Bicknell, Hawksmoor Air Street

‘Some of the reds were beautiful. When you pay £10, you normally can’t expect this amount of personality.’ Bart Michalewicz, The Arts Club

‘The white wines seemed designed for a particular consumer who buys on taste profile; not a region, not a grape, just a profile.’ Peter McDaid, Spring

‘We had an excellent selection [of whites], we were quite unanimous: clean, fresh flavours and an interesting use of oak and acidity. The value was there, and that’s so important for wines of lesser-known regions.’ Mahesh Nair, Charlotte Street Hotel

‘No one goes into a restaurant specifically wanting a Lebanese wine.’ Emily Bonsor, consultant sommelier

‘I really enjoyed the whites overall. The price across the range was very good for the type of wine that you’re getting.’ Roger Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

‘I expect a little bit of rusticity from Lebanon, but there was too much of it here.’ Olivier Marie, team leader

Award winners

Found 17 wines

Rest of the Old World (White & Red)

Daciana, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Banat, Romania

Gold medal winner

An exotic nature alongside 'nice fleshiness' and a great price has given SWA its first Romanian Gold. 'Rather good, aromatic, fun and easy, with tutti-frutti flavours, light spice notes and bright acid, pure and excellent value for money,' said Hamish Anderson of The Tate Group, while Spring's Peter McDaid found 'yellow pear aromas, with peach, lemon and kiwi on a very pleasant palate'.

£6.24 Matthew Clark

Ixsir, Altitudes, White 2014, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Gold medal winner

Elegance and clear fruit flavours of quince, stone fruit and peach coupled with toasty notes led Ixsir to the Gold podium. Team leader Angela Reddin said: 'Wonderful orange blossom, fresh citrus and melon notes on the nose, followed by an impressive palate that combines luscious, fragrant fruits with a balancing, pithy edge,' continuing: 'This would be a sublime match with a good bouillabaisse.' Good idea.

£12.88 Enotria&Coe

Kyperounda, Petritis 2014, Limassol, Cyprus, Other

Silver medal winner

Made with the Xynesteri grape, this is 'citrusy, delicate and food-friendly', according to consultant Sumita Sarma, who said: 'Youthful oak flavours make it more complex, with creamy notes and a hint of lees, but it's harmonious and has good intensity.' L'Ortolan's Guillaume Kaczmar agreed, saying: 'Off-dry, floral lychee notes, with an exotic hint of sweetness.'

£10.65 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Ixsir, Grande Réserve, Red 2011, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Silver medal winner

Team leader Olivier Marie found it 'complex with herbal character', showing 'tobacco leaf and black tea, roasted coffee and bramble fruit with dark cherries', while Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross at Kenilworth also noted 'farmyard roasted notes, currants and mushroom soil'.

£17.72 Enotria&Coe

Karam, Cloud Nine 2015, Jezzine, Lebanon

Silver medal winner

'Fragrant, perfumed and appetising, with peach and dried fruit notes and some creamy texture, all kept in together by a lovely bite of acid,' said The Tate Group's Hamish Anderson. A mix of spice and savoury flavours, with a well-integrated palate and a long finish.

£9.82 Karam Wines

Domaine des Tourelles, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Cinsault 2013, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Bronze medal winner

Peter McDaid of Spring found it 'very cherry', with 'kirsch, baking spices, pomegranate seed and cumin aromas, and a racy, spicy palate', while team leader Olivier Marie found 'intense granitic, earthy minerality and a touch of reduction'.

£7.90 Boutinot

Château Ksara, Réserve du Couvent 2013, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Bronze medal winner

'Lifted, floral nose, peppery and herbaceous; nice use of oak with good structure, if a little stalky, with grippy tannin and an elegant finish,' said Julian Bicknell of Hawksmoor Air Street, while team leader Lionel Periner added: 'Well balanced with good acidity and a long finish.'

£8.88 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Klet Brda, Quercus, Pinot Bianco 2015, Brda, Slovenia

Bronze medal winner

'Peach and honeysuckle with nice roundness on the nose and good balance on the palate. You're getting a lot for the money,' said Mahesh Nair of Charlotte Street Hotel, with team leader Angela Reddin noting 'dried wild flowers, pink grapefruit and kumquat on a clean palate'.

£6.25 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Klet Brda, Quercus, Pinot Grigio 2015, Brda, Slovenia

Bronze medal winner

'Punching way above its weight at the price, this has a light nose of chalky face powder and dried sweet herbs, fresh and clean flavours on the palate with a very intense, long finish,' said team leader Angela Reddin.

£6.48 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Cave de Jolimont, La Suisse, Edelweiss Rouge 2014, Vaud, Switzerland, Other

Bronze medal winner

Christopher Delalonde MS of Medlar Restaurant felt this was well made, with 'fruit blossoming on the nose, black and red berries, stone fruit with touches of spice and minerals'. On the palate, he noted: 'Juicy, textured and balanced, rounded with slight spices and grippy finish.'

£8.87 Buckingham Schenk

Ixsir, Grande Réserve, White 2014, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Bronze medal winner

'Lime zest and cut flowers on the nose, good, generous style on the palate with yellow fruit and elderflower notes and cleanliness. A lot going on,' said Spring's Peter McDaid. 'Attractive richness and length, great character but acidity is soft and the finish is clean and impressive,' agreed team leader Charlie Young.

£15.31 Enotria&Coe

Daciana , Pinot Noir 2013, Banat , Romania

Commended medal winner

£6.34 Matthew Clark

P&F Wineries, Puklavec, Gomila, Exclusive, Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Podravje, Slovenia

Commended medal winner

£9.58 Bibendum

Gialdi, Terre Alte, Bianco di Merlot 2014, Ticino, Switzerland, Other

Commended medal winner

£12.00 Alpine Wines

Kozlović, Malvazija 2014, Istria , Croatia

Commended medal winner

Badoux Vins, Aigle les Murailles 2014, Vaud, Switzerland, Other

Commended medal winner

Ixsir , Altitudes, Red 2011, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Commended medal winner

£12.88 Enotria&Coe


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