Home Winners > Winners 2019 > Rest of the Old World - Red (including Georgia, Kazakhstan & Lebanon)

Winner Details

Rest of the Old World, RED

2019 GOLD: 2      SILVER: 2      BRONZE: 3      COMMENDED: 4
2018 GOLD: 3      SILVER: 10    BRONZE: 5      COMMENDED: 8

There was some fascinating stuff in here. Before the competition started, would we have been expecting to give out medals to a Lebanese Touriga and a Croatian Frankovka Miraz? No. But that’s the joy of the Sommelier Wine Awards.

The red entry here was (perhaps surprisingly) smaller than the whites. But don’t read too much into that – or the fact that our medals were down on last year. 2017 was freakishly successful for this category, and with a couple of countries now getting sections of their own, this represented a good effort from the rest of Europe’s red producers.

Perhaps the biggest and most heartening change is the way that our tasters view these wines. From being vaguely curious, they’re now actively positive about them, revelling in their otherness and strong local character. Wine styles (and producers) to watch, for sure.


‘It can help to have wines from these countries, like Croatia and Georgia, but you have to select the right wines. They’re discovery wines, and interesting additions to your list.’ Julien Sahut, Sexy Fish

‘It’s easy when you taste these wines to think that they’re £40 wines from a country you’ve not heard of, which isn’t the correct way to look at them. They all had a very distinct character to them, so in my mind they have a place on a wine list. Some felt quite untouched by modern winemaking, with wild tannins and an earthiness and a grip to them. Countries that are more western facing sometimes tone those aspects down.’ Hamish Anderson, team leader

‘These are definitely a hand sell, but their structure and the seriousness make them a good alternative to finer wine from the other side of Europe. I always use these countries as a good alternative, and they’re priced below what we’d find elsewhere in Europe.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘If you have a wine list that’s not just traditional then Lebanon is a region you need to have.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

Award winners

Found 11 wines

Rest of the Old World countries - Red

Feravino, Miraz, Frankovka 2016, Slavonia, Croatia

Gold medal winner

The ‘interesting, spicy, smoky nose’ of this Gold winner caught the attention of team leader Hamish Anderson, who went on to describe ‘tart cherry and grilled-meat notes, as well as some dark plum, leading to a grippy, savoury finish, making this a great option for barbecues’. Fellow team leader Carlos Ferreira was similarly impressed, describing it as ‘very well made, with black and red fruit joined by notes of spice, leather and pine’.

£15.16 Croatian Wine Club

Karam Wines, Touriga Nacional 2017, Jezzine, Lebanon

Gold medal winner

‘An intense and complex wine,’ began Harry Ballmann of Wiltons as this took its rightful place on the Gold List, before describing ‘earthy dark fruit and notes of cassis, with a grassiness, too’. ‘Intense aromas of black fruit such as blackcurrants’ kicked things off here for Savoy Grill’s Matteo Cali, who went on to praise ‘sweet spices like liquorice and vanilla coming through, with ripe tannins on a very smooth palate’.

£12.90 Karam Wines

Domaine de Baccari, Première de Baccari, Rouge 2015, Meknes, Morocco

Silver medal winner

‘A rich, brambly, warm nose, with some cream and jam, too,’ began team leader Hamish Anderson, who described this as having ‘a rich style, under which lies brooding iron, meat and spice notes – a full and sweet wine with earthiness, and some grip on the finish’.

£24.29 Top Selection

Arba, Kyzyl Arba, Cabernet Franc 2013, Assa Valley, Kazakhstan

Silver medal winner

‘Lovely and aromatic, with a lifted nose of fresh herbs,’ began team leader Nigel Lister, going on to describe ‘meaty notes and a great, fleshy texture on the palate, with some firm, grippy tannins, too’.

£44.82 Arba Wine

Karam Wines, Saint John 2014, Jezzine, Lebanon

Bronze medal winner

Harry Ballmann of Wiltons found this to have ‘tertiary mushroom notes, with soft tannins’, while Matteo Cali of Savoy Grill liked its ‘dark cherry character and good body and structure, which needs food’.

£13.50 Astir Food & Wine

Arba, Pino Arba, Pinot Noir 2015, Assa Valley, Kazakhstan

Bronze medal winner

‘Really intriguing and interesting,’ thought team leader Hamish Anderson, who described a ‘floral, lifted nose of violet and rose, leading to a palate that’s sweet yet elegant, with some spicy grip’.

£33.58 Arba Wine

Arba, Pinot Noir/Saperavi 2015, Assa Valley, Kazakhstan

Bronze medal winner

‘Sour cherry fruit, with some chocolate, mocha character too,’ described Raphael Thierry of Street XO, also commenting on the ‘fine oak use’ here.

£29.08 Arba Wine

Erdutski Vinogradi, Merlot 2017, Slavonia, Croatia

Commended medal winner

Paolo Basso, Il Rosso di Chiara 2016, Ticino, Switzerland

Commended medal winner

£41.55 Top Selection

Puklavec Family, Estate Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2017, Povardarie, Macedonia

Commended medal winner

£9.13 Bibendum

Arba, Pino Arba, Reserve, Pinot Noir 2014, Assa Valley, Kazakhstan

Commended medal winner

£88.38 Arba Wine