Despite ash clouds dominating the skies, the 17th Concours Mondial de Bruxelles wine competition took place as planned at the end of April, in Palermo, Sicily. I had been invited to judge in this competition, and as Heathrow had opened the day before my flight was scheduled, my travel occurred largely uneventfully.
The competition attracted entries from more than 50 countries. Nearly 7,000 wines and 350 spirits were entered, including a few wines from the UK. Forty different countries provided 275 judges, who sat down for three days to assess, in a traditional blind tasting, all the wines. Panels of 5 to 7 jurors judged around 50 wines each day.
‘Great gold’ medals i.e. top, top golds, were awarded to less than 1% of the entries. Of those, the highest scoring wines in their categories from the whole competition were:
- Best Sparkling: Champagne Baron-Fuenté Grand Cru Brut (France)
- Best White: Viu Manent Chardonnay Reserva 2009 (Chile)
- Best Rosé: Casal da Coelheira Rosé 2009 (Portugal)
- Best Red: Michel Torino Don David Tannat 2008 (Argentina)
- Best Sweet: Lustau Solera Reserva Pedro Ximénez San Emilio (Spain)
- Best Spirit: Tequila Espolón Reposado (Mexico)
Some of my individual top-scoring wines, by country, along with our panel’s award, were these:
- Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Syrah 2007, South Africa GOLD MEDAL
- Cederberg sauvignon blanc 2009, South Africa SILVER MEDAL
- La Motte sauvignon blanc 2009, South Africa SILVER MEDAL
- Quinta do Cardo Selecção do Enólogo 2007, Beira interior, Portugal SILVER MEDAL
- Quinta de Baixo Grande Escolha 2005, Bairrada, Portugal SILVER MEDAL
- Quinta da Nespereira Vineaticu 2007, Dao, Portugal, SILVER MEDAL
- Domaine Cambos Gros Manseng sec 2009, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, France GOLD MEDAL
- Domaine de Chiroulet Terres Blanches 2009, Earl Famille Fezas, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, France, GOLD MEDAL
- Domaine du Tariquet Les 4 Réserve 2008, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, France SILVER MEDAL
- Les Vignerons de Cers Portiragnes, Syrah Rosé Code Séduction 2009, Vin de Pays d’Oc Rosé, France SILVER MEDAL
- Vinarství Volarík Mikulov, Chardonnay Výber Z Cibéb (selection of berries) 2008, Czech Republic GOLD MEDAL
The complete list of winning wines can be found here.