The Secret’s Out: Exciting Wines from Bolivia

Shouldering against the titans of Argentina, Brazil and Chile, Bolivia has undoubtedly got a battle on when it comes to export markets but to be fair wine has only been produced in Bolivia for 400 years or so.

Almost all of Bolivia’s vineyards are located between 1,600 and 3,000 metres above sea level. Indeed, Bolivia may very well be the country with the highest vineyard surface in the world. These lofty altitudes provide high UV exposure and wide ranging diurnal temperatures, giving deep coloured but fresh wines, with ripe tannins and high acidity and have been appropriately been given the name High Altitude Wines.

On a recent visit to Bolivia and with the help and guidance of the Wines of Bolivia Association, Wine Pleasures visited two of Bolivia’s most extensive wine producing regions: The Central Valley of Tarija (El Valle de la Concepción – some 2,400 hectares of vineyards) around but mostly south of the tranquil colonial town of Tarija and to the popular tourist spot of Samaipata (Valleys of Santa Cruz – 100 hectares of vineyards) a 2-3 hour drive from Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Tarija

The main varieties planted in the central Valley of Tarija are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Tannat, Garnacha and Barbera in reds and Muscat of Alexandria, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Franc Colombard and Chenin Blanc in whites.

Bodega La Concepción

First up was a visit to Bodega La Concepción. Started in 1986 with day to day table wines along with Singani Rujero it has evolved into a Premium wine producer making monovarietal and blended wines from the following international grape varieties: Cabernet Suavignon, Syrah, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay all under the brand name of High Altitude Vines.

Singani Rujero Colección Privada

Distilled from 100% high altitude Muscat of Alexandria, it’s a clear, bright punchy 40% alcohol spirit. Citrus on the nose with floral notes. Smooth velvety mouthfeel with lavender on the palate. Long lingering finish. Our host Carlos Paz Ide informed us that Singani works well in cocktails such as a refreshing Chuflay (ginger ale or lemon- lime soda), Sucumbé (milk, egg and cinnamon – a bit like eggnog), Yungueño (syrup and orange juice) and Té con Té ( hot black tea, cinnamon and lime – warms you up on the high mountains!).

Cepas de Altura Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Deep intense colour. Red forest fruits on the nose with hints of pepper and fennel. Fruity entrance albeit a tad herbaceous making for a slightly bitter palate. Assertive tannin. Some vanilla on the lingering finish. Should pair very well with a leg of lamb cooked with figs or prunes and some of the local strong cheeses.

Bodegas Kohlberg

After an interesting lunch in Fogon de Gringo in Tarija consisting of mostly meat, rice and vegetables followed by a pancake desert with cloves and aniseed (Tojori) and a red from La Concepción we headed back out for our second winery visit to Bodegas Kohlberg.

Just by entering the winery and seeing the huge towering and numerous inox tanks you would be right to guess that Kohlberg is the largest wine producer in the Tarija region. The wine we tasted was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Malbec (20%) & Syrah (20%) partly aged in new oak barrels. The wine is called 200 Años Gran Reserva and commemorates the bicentennial of Tarija.

200 Años Gran Reserva Edition limitada 2017

Intense fruit aromas of Fruits of the forest, dark cherry. Delicate and discreet fruit on the palate which is light bodied but with strong tannins still  abound. Slightly herbaceous on a subtle fruity finish which is lingering.

Bodega y Viñedos Kuhlmann

At the family winery Bodega y Viñedos Kuhlmann we were hosted by winemaker Franz Molina Conzelmann. Pioneer Franz Kuhlmann founded the winery in 1930 and is well known for making Singani and more recently an interesting sparkling wine called Altosama Espumente de Altura a Brut made using the charmat method. Tropical fruit and floral notes. Lively fizz. Fruity palate. Slight bitter almond on the finish. It is featured as one of the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2019 and was awarded a Gold medal (95 points) in the annual competition organised by Wine Pleasures.

The Singani Los Parrales Reserva Aniversario (100% Muscat of Alexandria) also won Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits  Competition.

The winery recently built a state of the art new winery on the outskirts of Tarija in the Santa Ana district with great views of the Santa Ana valley and Alto Sama mountains.

The winery also owns the 5* Resort Hotel Los Parrales (where we stayed) 3.5 Kms out of the town centre which affords views of Tarija and the River Guadalquivír.

Campos de Solana

At Campos de Solana, a large, premium brand open for wine tourism we were hosted by winemaker Nelson Sfarcich and Production Manager Jorge Furio. Working with Malbec, cabernet sauvignon, tannat in reds and Riesling in whites, we were treated to their Decanter (Platinum) award winning wine Único 2016 on what was a flying visit.

Samaipata

For the last leg of our trip to discover wines and wine tourism in Bolivia we were to head to the Valleys of Santa Cruz de la Sierra which is home to only a few small wineries dedicated to the production of wine and Singani. The Valleys of Santa Cruz are located immediately to the Southwest of the Codo de los Andes between 18º and 19º of latitude south. Currently there are up to 300 ha planted but there is a potential to plant as many as 10,000 ha especially around Vallegrande well known by Che Guevara pilgrims. Our destination was to be the Uvairenda winery located close to the touristic town of Samaipata (a two and a half hour drive from Santa Cruz de la Sierra) in the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental.

Uvairenda

Francisco Roig, Head Winemaker & Co-Owner of Uvairenda has his vineyards  between 1700 and 1800 meters above sea level on terraced slopes, and is working with Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot for reds and Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc, Pedro Giménez and Chardonnay for whites. His wines can be best described as boutique and while we did not get the chance to meet Francisco we were able to talk to his colleague, Humberto Andrade in the Uvairenda office and shop in Calle Sucre #700 (Casco Viejo), Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

We tasted the following wines:

1750 – Pedro Giménez 2017 Citrus notes particularly grapefruit on the nose and buttery notes. Creamy texture, bitter almond entrance and palate. Long persistent nutty finish.

1750 – Tannat Vintage 2017 Blackcurrant, licorice, blackberry, herbs, cloves, Fruity entrance, spicy and slightly bitter palate. Pleasant tannins. Long lingering finish.

We asked about the 1750 on the labels expecting it to be a year something happened but in fact it is the minimum altitude of Francisco’s vineyards.

While most have probably never heard of wines of Bolivia let alone tasted any, this could well be all set to change in the coming years as Wines of Bolivia get noticed at trade fairs such as Prowein and international wine competitions. With most tour operators and travel agents currently taking FIT and group travel to La Paz, Lake Titcaca and a flight down to Salar de Uyuni, there is much to be done by the Ministerio de Culturas y Turismo from a wine and culinary tourism perspective as little is currently being done to attract this niche tourism.

Article by Anthony Swift
Photos by Rosa Antelo Moreno

World’s Top Sparkling Wine Competitions

Effervescents du Monde

The longest running competition exclusively for sparkling wines Effervescents du Monde, organised by the Association Forum Œnologie, in participation with the Revue des Œnologues and in partnership with the Castel Culinary School (Dijon, France), which acts as the sensory performance assessment centre for the expert judges, and hosts the competition. The competition receives over 500 entries from over 20 countries. The majority of the entries are from France and involves some 100 international judges. More information here>>

50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World Competition

The completion 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World makes for a more competitive competition as medals are only awarded to those producers awarded the 50 best scores. 5 judges are appointed each year with 2 of them being constant. Judges are typically wine buyers/sommeliers with current direct commercial buying responsibility. The competition singles out and shines the spotlight on 50 sparkling wines that consumers really want to buy and have a clear market value for trade buyers. Judging is organised according to method of production. Portugal, Italy and Spain tend to dominate the top 50 positions. More information here>>

The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships

A more sophisticated sparkling wine completion which not only tastes and rates the wines but also breaks down the results into several category winners so for example you have World Champion by Style, National Champion, Regional Champion, Best in Class, Chairman’s Choice and the list goes on. Unique to this competition is that there are just 3 judges namely Tom Stevenson, Essi AveLlan MW and Dr. Tony Jordan and as a team they judge all of the entries on a year on year basis which means constant, reliable and efficient judging. As the name of the competition implies a high number of entries from France. More information here>>

50 Great Cavas

The only competition for sparkling wines produced under Spain’s Designation of Origen, Cava. A panel of 5 international judges from around the world including including Masters of Wine and Sommeliers, importers, wine makers, journalists sit down over two days and judge the Cavas according to 4 categories Cava, Reserva, Gran Reserva, Cava de Paraje. Within each category Cavas are organised in flights according to dosage. Gold and Silver medals are awarded to the top 50 scorers. More information here>>

Brazilian Sparkling Contest

Recognized as the main competition for the promotion of Brazilian sparkling wine, the Brazilian Sparkling Contest receives registrations of sparkling wines obtained from the different methods of production. The sparkling wines are tasted by a select group of tasters chosen by the Associação Brasileira de Enologia (charmat and traditional method). Tasting standards of the International Grape and Wine Organization (OIV) and the International Union of Winemakers (UIOE) continue to guide the event. The best sparkling wines are awarded according to category. More information here>>

Did we miss any? Please feel free to add a comment pointing to a competition not listed here.

Top 50 Sparkling Wines for 2019

From 157 Sparkling wines entered to the annual completion organised by Wine Pleasures, our judges tasted through premium bubblies from around the Old and New World to bring you the best 50 available for 2019. Anthony Swift, Competition Director looks at the results.

Once again, the competition to find the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World has popped a breathtaking blend of award – winning sparkling wines from around the world. Of the 157 sparkling wines entered from diverse terroirs and countries the top 50 are dominated by bubbles from Italy, Portugal & Spain.  Diverse too were the grape varieties used to make top quality sparkling wines such as Alvarinho and Touriga Nacional from Portugal, Glera, Trebbiano & Sangiovese from Italy, Macabeo, Perellada & Xarel.lo from Spain as well as the classic Champagne varieties such as Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir made in Australia, Austria, Slovenia and the UK.

In the case of sparkling wines made using the traditional method these were classified and tasted according to dosage and ageing time on the lees. In many cases there was significant ageing on the lees giving wines great character and complexity. Gold medals and classified as Exceptional each with 97 points are Freixenet Can Sala by Freixenet (Penedès (Cava), Spain), Soldati La Scolca Spumante Brut Millesimato d’Antan by La Scolca (Gavi, Italy) and Adega de Palmela Medium Dry by Adega de Palmela (Península de Setúbal, Portugal). 

English new comers to the competition Blackdown Ridge and Court Garden both with vineyards in Sussex make a statement for English Sparkling wine with both obtaining Gold medals.

Sparkling wines made using the Charmat method were classified and tasted according to dosage. Most demonstrated a combination of great finesse with a fine mousse and crisp acidity. Three gold medals awarded for this method of production and classified as Outstanding: Eight Carat Cuvee Rosé by Geoff Johnston Wines T/as Pirramimma (McLaren Vale, Australia) , Mateus Sparkling Rosé Brut Baga And Shiraz by Sogrape Vinhos (Porto, Portugal), Viña Albali Sec by Félix Solís Avantis (Castilla La Mancha Valdepeñas, Spain

This year saw just 3 Frizzantes entered with Bonarda Cresta Del Ghiffi by Fratelli Agnes (Lombardia, Italy) gaining a silver medal and a place amongst the 50 Greats.

Quality was high. Traditional method vintage production dominated the competition with some nice prices, most ranging from €6 to €25 Euros. Charmat method production wines range from €5 to €15.

Bubble lovers will more than likely find it a tough task to find the sparkling wines amongst the 50 Greats published here in their preferred wine retailer as most wines are “boutique” and therefore not mass produced. Best option would be to look online to see if the producers sell direct to the wine lover or if there are any online retailers selling the product.

We hope the results of the competition will encourage both the trade and the wine lover to find, try and enjoy the most exceptional sparkling wines at Christmas and during 2019. To view the great sparkling wine discoveries for 2019 click on the banner below:

50 Stellar Cavas for 2019

Once again the only annual wine competition for Cava has uncorked a breathtaking range of Brut Nature and Brut Cavas from young to long aged ready for Christmas and throughout 2019. Anthony Swift, Competition Director highlights the Cavas that excelled at the annual tasting organised by Wine Pleasures.

23 top-tier Cavas receive Gold Medals with scores of 95 – 97points and have been classified as Outstanding and these were obtained by producers who score high year on year in the competition Regular Gold winners include Adernats (Nulles, Tarragona), Mas Codina (Penedès), Pago de Tharsys (Requena, Valencia), Vía de la Plata (Extremadura), Gramona (Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Penedès) Agustí Torelló Mata (Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Penedès) Sumarroca (Subirats, Penedès) Bodega Vegalfaro (Requena, Valencia) and Ramón Canals Canals (Castellvi de Rosanes, Penedès). Also achieving Gold medals are the following newcomers to the competiton: Roger Goulart with Roger Goulart Gran Reserva 2011, Bodegas Pinord with Marrugat Gran Reserva Brut Nature Millésime 2011 and Bodegas Ca n’Estella with Cava Rabetllat i Vidal Gran Reserva de la Finca

The remainder of the Cavas were classified as Highly Recommended and were awarded Silver medals with scores ranging between 90 and 94 points. Most of the medals were awarded to producers in the Penedès wine region (Catalonia) with some awards going to producers located in Calatayud (Bodegas Langa), Extremadura (Vía de la Plata) & Valencia (Pago de TharsysBodegas Vegalfaro & UVESTE). Some interesting retail prices too amongst the 50 Greats ranging from €4,95 to €35 Euros making Cava a luxury you can afford whenever you wish.

Those looking to splurge on long aged Cava (Cava Grand Reserva Larga Crianza) should try to get their hands on prize winners from prestigious Cava producer Gramona – Celler Battlé Brut Gran Reserva 2006 Vintage (120 months), Recommended Retail Price (RRP) €56 and Enoteca Gramona 2004 Vintage RRP €140

The results of the 2019 edition of annual competition 50 Great Cavas can be viewed at https://www.winepleasures.com/50-great-cavas-for-2019  and contains all the Gold and Silver medal winners with photos and tasting notes for each. 50 Great Cavas 2019 is a useful resource consulted by both the on and off trade and the end wine consumer/wine traveller.

After 300 harvests, Mas Codina go back to organic roots

Up in the Alt Penedès, watched over by the impressive peak of Montserrat, Mas Codina is a small organic family winery, which maintains very much of a local and traditional feel, growing 40 hectares of red and white grapes. A lazy Saturday morning provided the perfect excuse to pay a little visit to learn about their personal process and sample some of the fruits of their labours.

The house was constructed back in 1681, with grape cultivation beginning some time after that (records are a little patchy so far back in the mists of time!). When wine production first began, it was originally stored in barrels and sold to other wineries in that format, along with harvested grapes ready for processing, but in 1985 the family began bottling their own wine. The business has grown from there, still today growing all of their own vines, and selling some of their grapes on to other wine producers.

Many of their vines are still in the traditional style of freestanding bushes, making the most of the available space, slowly being replaced by the system of row support wires now more widely seen around the world. The different varieties are planted in differing directions to make the most of the sunlight. While around 10% of the crop is harvested by machine in the cooler night-times in August, the rest is all lovingly harvested by hand slightly later in the year as the other varieties ripen, and more helping hands are available assist with the picking.

Seeking to be kinder to the environment, and also following the increasingly popular trend, Mas Codina was certified as an organic producer in 2017, after the required three years’ conversion period. Today, they use no chemicals on their grapes, only certain minerals such as copper and sulphur to help in natural prevention of crop diseases. In place of harmful insecticides, natural hormones are used to discourage moths from destroying the grapes. Old, gnarly olive trees provide a rustic border to the vineyards, and are also used for the production of organic olive oil.

The cellar keeps the bottles cool to allow the Cavas to age and create their complexity, with climate control if needed to maintain exactly the right temperature during the hot summers’ days. The pressing and storage machines are glistening and modern, to maximise the efficiency of production, but as the winery’s unwritten motto says, the quality of the product is down to the grapes and the traditional know how that goes into their growing and cultivation through the year. Good grapes mean a good final product; the machines simply facilitate the process.

The grapes are separated from the twigs, cooled to around 15° to protect the aroma and avoid oxidation, and pressed. Like many grape growers, Mas Codina keep only the finest grapes and the first pressing for themselves, selling off any excess and further pressings to other wineries. Of the wine produced, 70% is cava, and the rest is still wine, both red and white. Roughly 65% is exported, 25% being consumed in the local Catalan region, and 10% being consumed elsewhere in Spain – it seems the rest of Spain has not yet discovered the deliciousness within.

As any good winery visit should, ours ended with a tasting.  Seated around a small round table, the anticipation was palpable – having featured several times previously in the annual 50 Great Cavas competition, it was little surprise that the Cava we tried was delicious, and it was just a shame there was not the chance to try more – rumour has it that the Mas Codina Brut Rosé is especially tasty!

The award winning Cava we tasted on the day was the Mas Codina Brut Nature Reserva 2015

Tim Hall
Travel Blog Writer>>

Bohigas: filling your glass with 800 years of local knowledge

Sitting in a privileged location a stone’s throw from Igualada (the capital of the Catalonian province of Anoia), Fermí Bohigas winery, nestled amongst woods and vineyards, carries an illustrious wine making heritage stretching back nearly 800 years into the 21st century.

Walking through the impressive gates to Caves Bohigas, it’s as if you’re entering an old fortress. But get inside and it also feels like a traditional Spanish winery should feel; walking in through the arched entrance in a rustic whitewashed wall, the gravel crunching under your feet, you have the sensation of stepping back through time and coming to the right place. The courtyard that greets you is straight out of the most evocative romantic novel, the blooming rose bushes gently shaded by plane trees, wooden barrels and old wine making artefacts to remind you why you’re here, with old stone steps and little wooden doors inviting you to explore further.

And Bohigas can back it up with a longer and more detailed history than some countries – the winery is independent, family-owned, and they can trace their wine-making routes all the way back to 1290. The cellar (or “Cava” in Catalan) was first dug out in the 1500s and refurbished in 1929, also the year Bohigas officially began producing the sparkling Cava, having previously focused on still wines. Despite having expanded and now producing more than 600,000 bottles a year of various types – both sparkling and still –to sell locally and around the world, their history clearly remains very dear to them, as you’re reminded by the little touches throughout – a traditional wooden press here, original storage racks there, the house filled with memories and fascinating knick-knacks amassed during the family’s eight-century story in this spot.

Following the Cava-making process takes you through a barrage of contrasts, as Bohigas strive to achieve the fine balance between tradition and heritage, and modern and efficient practices. Climb the ancient stone steps that seem to lead into a tradition barn, and instead inside you’re greeted by sparklingly sterile modernity in the shape of giant stainless tanks; due to their size and to preserve the structure of the historical building in which they reside, the entire roof was removed, the tanks lowered in with a crane, and the roof rebuilt over them! These tanks are where the various grape varieties undergo their individual initial fermentation, and where the different varieties are then mixed in just the right ratios to create the base cava. From there, you descend into the dimly-lit cellar, immediately aware of the pleasant cool inside – the depth below the ground causes it to maintain a constant temperature year-round, perfect for the second fermentation and aging the various cavas they produce. Large, featureless, jail-like rooms inside the cellar reveal themselves to be historical wine fermentation tanks – an entry shoot in the ceiling allowed the grapes to be dropped in, and the weight of the fruit itself caused enough pressure to extract the juice, which then naturally fermented, before being removed through a pipe at the bottom, bottled and taken to market.

Escaping the damp chill of the cellar and emerging like hibernating beasts in the spring to cross the picturesque yard and enter the processing plant, you immediately return to the 21st century. Here, state of the art machines are the kings, bringing the required accuracy to finesse and finish the different types of wine ready for local or international delivery – about 90% of Bohigas’ annual production now being exported and enjoyed worldwide.

Tasting the Cavas – with a couple of slices of pan con tomate, naturally, since we’re in Cataluña – only reinforces the sense of pride in the tradition and quality produced at Bohigas – something that is backed up by their repeated high-scoring presence in the annual 50 Great Cavas contest, with more than one of their cavas securing coveted Highly Recommended or Outstanding results from the expert wine-tasting jury. If it’s good enough for them, it’s most certainly good enough for me!

On the day, we had the chance to sample three of their current Cava offerings (all of them with medals and amongst the 50 Great Cavas for 2018), and in case you’re wondering, this is what our expert wine tasters had to say after judging them in the competition earlier this year:

Cava Bohigas Brut Nature Reserva 2015>>

Noa de Bohigas>>

Cava Bohigas Rosat>>

Tim Hall
Travel Blog Writer>>

Rexach Baqués winery, where carving caves and crafting Cavas go hand-in-hand.

Founded in 1910, this small winery is now run by the founder’s grand daughter, Montse Rexach Peixó, following faithfully in the footsteps of the previous generations to produce up to 150,000 bottles of Cava a year befitting the family name.

Even in the pouring rain, the small, colourful Mediterranean terrace in front of the winery still brightens the day. Upon stepping into the small warehouse, you find yourself surrounded by the giant stainless tanks where the grapes are initially fermented and then mixed. Having been enthusiastically informed about the winery’s rich history, we descended 14m and 100 years back in time to the caves beneath, beginning in the youngest section, and, like some wine-loving Indiana Jones, working our way back to the darkest, earliest parts.

The caves were a real labour of love: in 1910, exploring the best way to produce and store wine, excavation began and a tunnel was created 7m below ground. Dug out by hand, it was a laborious process, but they quickly decided that the temperature was still too much of a victim to the whims of the climate outside, and so the decision was made to continue deeper. Thus, over the next twenty years,the tunnel network that remains in use today, situated 14m below the surface, came into existence. Stretching to well over 1000m in length, it’s a true feat of engineering, given that the founder had no architectural knowledge, and the volta catalana (Catalan arch) construction they employed is still standing strong today, even with houses having been built above some sections. One of the most fascinating quirks is that those digging away 14m down had very little idea of where they actually were in relation to what lay above. Therefore, periodically, they would come up to the surface to investigate, and they worked to buy the land above them as they went, hence the current location of the winery itself, and the vineyard.

The tunnel’s distance beneath the surface means a steady 14.5° day and night, summer and winter – especially important for Rexach Baqués, given that they significantly age all of their Cavas, with their most exclusive line maturing for seven years, this consistency of darkness and temperature allows the Cava’s colour and taste to be carefully preserved. Unlike at many modern Cava producers, the riddling process is still carried out by hand down in these caves, the bottles being expertly turned and stored in traditional wooden riddling racks.

In their day, the caves played also another important role – during the Spanish civil war, they were used as a refuge from the fighting above, and in fact some of the previous generation of the family were even born right there below ground. There might not have been much to eat, but at least they never went short of a good drink!

Arriving in the earliest tunnels, you come upon several racks of bottles barely visible beneath deep layers of spiders’ webs and dust, and discover that many have been here for upwards of a hundred years. Due to the temperature varying too much in this shallower cave, it’s not actively used today, so instead they keep some original bottles (still full) as a nod to their history and the labour of 100 years prior. In some of the corners of the cellar you can also see bottles stacked upside-down, a practice borne out of necessity, as the dampness of the caves caused many of the wooden riddling racks to disintegrate, the corner of the cellar providing an alternative vertical storage place.

From there, it was up the stairs and back to the future, and the cutting-edge machines used for disgorgement, dosage and cleaning and labelling the bottles ready for public sale. It is here where all the final touches are completed, balancing the levels, adjusting the sugars, adding a dash of Pinot Noir to their most exclusive bottles for extra structure and balance, to ensure all the Cava produced is to their exacting standards.

Thus the greatest treat was reserved for last, in a room full of intriguing pieces from the family’s history: the tasting. Rexach Baqués produce just a few different types of Cava each year, and generally in restricted quantities just as demand dictates, so nothing is left lying around to lose its quality – everything completes its aging process and is then rapidly distributed to keep it as fresh as possible. Under the understandably proud gaze of Montse, the sensations of the velvety bubbles, the delicate balance of sweetness and acidity, the note of chocolate here and buttery pastry there let you know you’re drinking pure gold – something crafted with love and a significant dose of family history and know-how.

Tasting Note:

Brut Imperial 2016 (Brut Reserva)

Notes of ripe stone fruit with pastry characters. Ripe apples on the palate. Well balanced and firm. Elegant bubble. Generous length on the finish.

Expected to be one of the 50 Great Cavas for 2019!

Tim Hall
Travel Blog Writer>>
Photos: Jethro Swift

Wine Pleasures To Show Award Winning Sparkling Wines in London

Organisers of two annual sparkling wine competitions, Wine Pleasures takes a selection of the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World and a sample of some of the 50 Great Cavas from Spain (the only competition exclusively for Cava) to the London trade and media at the Glass of Bubbly Champagne & Sparkling Wine Tasting & Summit London 30 April 2018.

50 Great Cavas 2018 – The Competition has been running for 8 years and is valued by wine importers from around the world when it comes to discovering great Cavas for import.

50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2018 – The Competition  has been running for 5 years and is an off spring of the 50 Great Cava initiative accommodating all methods of production of sparkling wines from around the globe.

At the 50 Great Cava table will be the following gold and silver medal winning producers and Cavas:

Celler Vell Brut Nature Reserva 2014
Cava Gran Fuchs de Vidal Reserva, Brut Nature 2014.
Via De La Plata Chardonnay Brut Nature Reserva 2015
Mas Codina Brut Reserva 2015
Cava Adernats Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2012
Castellroig Brut Nature Gran Reserva Josep Coca 2011
Finca Valldosera Subirat Parent Brut Nature 2011
Finca Valldosera Brut Nature 2012

View the 50 Great Cavas for 2018 here>>

At the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World table will be the following gold and silver medal winning producers and sparkling wines:

Contro Tempo Ortrugo dei Colli Piacentini DOC 2017 by Mossi 1558, Italy
Charmat Method
Astoria Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato 2017 by Astoria, Italy. Charmat Method
Donna Giulia 2013 by Fattoria Le Terrazze, Italy. Traditional Method. Competition winner!
Verduzzo Grand Dessert 2015 by Cormons, Italy. Charmat Method
Brut Rosé  2014 by Baracchi Winery, Italy. Traditional Method
Zlata Radgonska Penina Selection  2014 by Radgonske Gorice, Slovenia. Traditional Method
Cuvage Rosé Brut Nebbiolo D’Alba DOC 2017 by Cuvage, Italy. Traditional Method
Côto de Mamoelas 2015 by Provam, Portugal. Traditional Method

View the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World for 2018 here>>

Venue: Le Méridien Piccadilly Hotel London W1J 0BH

Date & Time: Monday 30th April 2018  11:00 – 18:00

New Year. New Wine Pleasures!

New Year is the perfect time to start planning your wine buying event agenda. Two must attend event dates are:

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop Buyer meets Cellar in Spain – 5 – 7 March 2018

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop Buyer meets Cellar in Italy – 22 – 24 October 2018.

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshops allow wine importers to pre-arrange meetings with producers they can do business with at the event. New for 2018 is the introduction of an online tool My Wine Pleasures which will enable you to

  • Search and find producers you want to meet
  • Use advanced search functions including region, wine interest and price ex cellar
  • Pre-schedule your meetings with the online calendar via your own inbox

Enhance your time away and schedule a visit to Spain or Italy by registering today.

Each year, Wine Pleasures B2B Workshops bring together around 50 global wine importers to meet around 60 boutique wine producers under one roof to find undiscovered wines, discuss business for the next year, and share knowledge to move the industry forward. Find out who you will meet at the Wine Pleasures Workshop Spain

Need more information?

Our team are here to help you with any of your questions about attending Wine Pleasures B2B Workshops. Get in touch: [email protected]

50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2018 Revealed

Top 50 Sparkling Wines of the World. Our experts tasted through premium bubblies from around the Old and New World to bring you the best 50 available for 2018. Anthony Swift, Competition Director looks at the results.

Yet again, the competition to find the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World has popped a breathtaking range of award – winning sparkling wines from around the world. Close on 100 sparkling wines were entered from diverse terroirs and countries with the top 50 dominated by bubbles from Italy, Portugal & Spain.  Diverse too were the grape varieties used to make top quality sparkling wines such as Alvarinho and Touriga Nacional from Portugal, Glera, Trebbiano & Sangiovese from Italy, Macabeo, Perellada & Xarel.lo from Spain as well as the classic Champagne varieties based on Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir made in Australia and Slovenia.

In the case of sparkling wines made using the traditional method these were classified and tasted according to dosage and ageing time on the lees. In many cases there was significant ageing on the lees giving wines great character and complexity. Gold medals and classified as exceptional each with 97 points are Donna Giulia by Le Terrazze di Antonio Terni (Italy), Rovellats Gran Reserva Brut Nature by Rovellats (Spain) and Vía de la Plata Rosado by Vía de la Plata (Spain)

Sparkling wines made using the Charmat method were classified and tasted according to dosage. Most demonstrated a combination of great finesse with a fine mouthfeel and crisp acidity. Just two gold medals awarded for this method of production: Verduzzo Gran Dessert by Cormons (Italy) and Prosecco Spumante DOC Brut by Bacio della Luna Spumanti (Italy). Once again, this year saw a couple of Frizzantes by Fratelli Agnes (Italy) make the 50 Greats.

Quality was high – all of the Sparkling wines included in the competition have scored at least 90 points. Traditional method vintage production dominated the competition with some nice prices, most ranging from €6 to €25 Euros. Charmat method production wines range from €5 to €20.

Bubble lovers will more than likely find it a tough task to find the sparkling wines amongst the 50 Greats published here in their preferred wine retailer as most wines are “boutique” and therefore not mass produced. Best option would be to look online to see if the producers sell direct to the wine lover or if there are any online retailers selling the product.

We hope the results of the competition will encourage both the trade and the wine lover to find, try and enjoy the most exceptional sparkling wines at Christmas and during 2018.

Discover the 50 Great Sparkling Wines here>>