Winner Details

Rest of the Old World - Red

Our entries here covered a large spread of the continent – from Cyprus and Croatia to Georgia and Slovakia, via Lebanon and Switzerland. But we didn’t get the kind of numbers from these countries that we usually do, and certain countries – most notably Romania and Bulgaria – were conspicuous by their absence.

And without these big-hitters, which typically bring in a few Golds every year, overall numbers and really good wines, specifically, were rather thin on the ground.

Somms are open to unusual countries – just see how the likes of Hungary, Greece and Israel have blossomed from this part of the competition over the past five years. But for the countries featured here there’s a lot of work still to do on this showing – both in the winery and in terms of driving entries.

From The Tasting Teams

‘This is more of a category for a fine-dining restaurant with a big list, where guests can compare wines and a sommelier can recommend something similar to a wine they like, but from an obscure country.’ Lionel Periner, team leader

‘I was really rooting for Lebanon, but they didn’t deliver. They were very dry, and lacking in personality.’ Claire Love, Loves Consultancy

‘We were suspicious [of the whites] initially, but the quality here was solid. I was very impressed with the commerciality and quality of almost all the wines, particularly the non-qvevri, modern, dry, Georgian white wines.’ Tim Smith, Winesurfer Consulting

‘The reds were all over the place, with different styles of winemaking, different abilities, and different amounts of money spent on them – and sometimes not spent well.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘It’s a shame when winemakers decide they’re going to throw out the potential of the character of their indigenous grapes and mask them with a lot of oak.’ Joshua Castle, Noble Rot

‘What a fun thing to put on your list!’ Tim Smith, Winesurfer Consulting

Award winners

Found 4 wines

Rest of the Old World countries - Red

Kakhuri Vazi, Kindzmarauli 2017, Kakheti, Georgia

Bronze medal winner

'Well-defined mulberry and blueberry fruit here, along with some notable residual sugar that is framed nicely by the ripe fruit and tannin. It's balanced well for a sweet red.' Joshua Castle, Noble Rot. 'Ripe dark berries and some floral rose petal notes, with sweet raspberry and boysenberry in a compote. Well-balanced.' Tom Forrest, team leader.


Vachnadziani, Saperavi, Classical 2016, Kakheti, Georgia

Bronze medal winner

'Red and black fruit character, with black cherry, baked plum and a touch of oak. This is quite supple on the palate, with smooth tannins, and very good value for money.' Immacolata Cannavo, Hakkasan Mayfair. 'Ripe and silky, with generous mulberry and plum fruit.' Joshua Castle, Noble Rot.

£9.48 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Château Ksara, Réserve du Couvent 2018, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Bronze medal winner

'This opens with black fruit and farmyard notes on the nose, with a supple and nicely balanced palate that has a smoky, rustic charm. This needs food like ox cheek.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'A ripe style with spicy notes and some tertiary character.' Olivier Marie, team leader.

£10.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Château Ksara, Le Prieuré 2018, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Commended medal winner