Spanish WINE Week

Join the Online Spanish WINE Week 5 – 7 May 2020 and your industry peers for a free, 3-day online event specifically for wine importers, distributors, the on and off trade and trade journalists.

This summit provides the wine trade with inspiration, business connections & educational content through in-depth live interviews with wine producers, interviews with industry thought leaders, and practical insights on how to cope with the current global conditions. Our goal for this online event is to allow the wine trade to participate, learn and grow together in this time of need – no matter where you happen to be.

Programme

The Live stream will start daily at 13.00 GMT +1 (EST 09.00) and ends at around 19.30 GMT + 1 each day.

Day 1: Tuesday 5 May 2020: 14.00 to 19.30

Time & Activity

Session 1

14.00 – 14.10 A Wine Pleasures Welcome
14.10 – 15. 00 Seminar: The Surprising Terroirs & Wines of Spain. Speaker Clara Antúnez
Spanish wines taste different. Spanish grape varieties give flavours that you don’t find anywhere else. The vineyards are planted on rock, on limestone, on volcanic ash, on clay, on sand, or on mixtures of all these. To fashion these raw materials into modern, exciting wines, there is a generation of young winemaker who have travelled the world and learned all there is to know about winemaking. The results are incredibly varied in style, from delicate, low-alcohol whites to the richest imaginable reds, from gentle rosés to the great sparkling wines. It will be an introduction to open your eyes to a new world of very different wines.

Session 2

15.15 – 16.15 Live interviews with wine producers – Atlante (Valle de la Orotava), Mont Reaga (IGP Tierra de Castilla), Vins Familia Ferrer (Cava & Catalunya)

Session 3

16.30 – 17.00 Seminar: Corpinnat – what’s that? Speaker Xavier Gramona

Session 4

17.15 – 18.15 Live Interviews with wine producers – Bodegas Monte de la Reina (Toro), Bodegas Tempore (IGP Bajo Aragón), Hermanos Frías del Val (Rioja Alavesa)

Session 5

18.30 – 19.30 Seminar: Why Spain’s Garnacha is on everyone’s lips. Speaker Fernando Mora MW
Spain is the origin country for the Garnacha grape (aka. Grenache), an underrated variety in the past, however now it takes part in some of the most exciting wines of the country. This grape shows different faces in the vast Spanish country, since it has very high capacity to show the place where it is grown. In this semminar, we will learn about this grape, the different types, the myths, the expressions and the most important characteristics. Garnacha is cool, discover it! 

Day 2 Wednesday 6 May 2020: 14.00 a 19.30 

Time & Activity

Session 1

14.00 – 14.10 Welcome
14.10 – 15. 00 Seminar: Old Vines, Better Wines?. Speaker Fernando Mora MW
If there is a differential fact in Spanish viticulture it is the existing surface under old vines. Unfortunately, European plans, lack of profitability and other factors are decreasing this amazing resource. Are wines coming from the old vineyards better quality? Will there be old vineyards in 100 years? These and other questions will be answered in a precise and fundamental way. Other countries have been classifying and protecting their old vineyards, because they know the qualitative and marketing power of them.

Session 2

15.15 – 16.15 Live interviews with wine producers – Huellas del Tiétar (DOP Vinos de Cebreros), Bodegas Resalte (Ribera del Duero), Clos Montblanc (Conca de Barberà)

Session 3

16.30 . 17.00 Seminar: Cava 2020. A guide to its wines, regions and styles. Speakers Anthony Swift & Juan Manuel Gonzalvo (Judges competition annual “50 Great Cavas”)

Session 4

17.15 – 18.15 Live Interviews with wine producers – Gramona (Corpinnat & Penedès), Celistia (Costers del Segre), Bodegas y Viñedos Milénco (Ribera del Duero)

Session 5

18.30 – 19.30 Seminar: How ecommerce platforms can help the wine trade industry to develop their online sales. Speaker Nico Bour, Head of Business & Marketing Uvinum (Drinks & Co)
eCommerce in the wine business is a reality. With the development of huge ecommerce platforms like Amazon, uvinum/Drinks&co or Vivino , the wine industry (importers, wholesales, etc..) has now access to millions of customers to sell their products online. Let’s talk about the opportunities and some keys to succeed. 

Day 3 Thursday 7 May 2020: 14.00 a 19.00

Time & Activity

Session 1

14.00 – 14.10 Welcome
14.10 – 15. 00 Natural Wines: Why not?. Winemaker Daniel Ramos defines this niche but exciitng wine category and will cover What is Natural Wine, – A trend or a reality, Natural Wine: Why not?, Markets and final consumers of natural wine.

Session 2

15.15 – 16.15 Live interviews with wine producers – Godelia (Bierzo), DOSTERRAS (Montsant), Ferré i Catasús (Penedès)

Session 3

16.30 . 17.00 Seminar: D.O.P. Sierra de Salamanca: the remote realm of Rufete. Speaker Miquel Udina

Session 4

17.15 – 18.15 Live Interviews with wine producers– Bodegas Vegalfaro (Utiel-Requena), Hacienda El Ternero (D.O.Ca. Rioja), Baldovar 923 (Valencia)

Session 5

18.30 – 19.00  Seminar: D.O. Jumilla Wine Region: The Organic High Plateau: Kingdom of Monastrell. Speakers Carolina Martinez Origane & Esther Gonzalez de Paz
Jumilla is an emerging, exciting wine region, pioneer in Organic wines. Jumilla is one of the oldest DOs in Spain, created in 1966, with strong culture on wine making, and millenarian know how. Monastrell is a late-ripening variety, which thrives in the heat and produces wines that range from lively and fruity, to stunningly complex. In many of Jumilla’s vineyards, Monastrell vines remain ungraftedAdd the moutain barriers and a picture starts to emerge … 

Free registration here>>

Enoturismo en Casa

Con el confinamiento en casa de casi todo Europa,  la empresa Wine Events Worldwide bajo su marca Wine Pleasures ubicada en la provincia de Barcelona ha anuciado su proyecto Wine Tourism at home (Enoturismo en Casa). Ante la imposibilidad de salir de casa que muchas personas en Europa tienen, Wine Pleasures quiere ofrecer una actividad para poder disfrutar en casa del enoturismo y del vino a través del internet.

El pack Wine Tourism Experience at home que se etrega a domicilio sin contacto humano, incluye 3 botellas de 3 bodegas artesanas differentes, las fichas técnicas, un sacacorchos o un tapón de Cava y una copia del libro editado por Wine Pleasures titulado “50 Great Cavas”. Una vez entregada un sumiller se pone en contacto con el cliente a fin de establcer día y hora para hacerles una visita guida virtual de cada bodega así como una cata comentada de cada vino de cada bodega. El sumiller ademàs se comenta cuestiones tales como el vino, su cuidado, forma adecuada de servirlo e introducción a las nociones básicas de maridaje. La actividad es divertido y al la vez educativa y además apoya no solo a las bodegas artesanas familiares españolas no presentes en las grandes supermercados sino también a sumillers que trabajan habitualmente en el sector HORECA.

La iniciative Wine Tourism at home está accesible en la web de Wine Pleasures.  Las 3 experiencas a escoger son las siguientes:

  • Discover Spain’s Penedès Cava region
  • Nose out bold red wine regions of Spain
  • Summer whites in Spain’s Catalonia wine regions

Wine Tourism at Home

With many European countries currently in lockdown, businesses have had to get creative throughout. Tourism is a hard hit sector as families and friends are now forced to entertain themselves at home. Some tourism service providers have been putting on their thinking hats and come up with some interesting affordable iniciatives.

Barcelona based business Wine Events Worldwide under their brand name Wine Pleasures has come up with a unique and brand new idea of organising Wine tourism at home. And it comes with all the fixings to go on a “winery tour” of some of Catalonia’s best boutique wine producers right from the customer’s own home. Here’s how it works, according to Wine Pleasures.

A wine tourism experience box will be delivered, with no physical contact with anyone to the customer’s door anywhere in Europe and containing a selection of 3 wines from 3 different family producers. Customers are later linked up with a qualified sommellier who will take them on a 45 minute virtual tour of each winery, telling a few winery stories while guiding the customer through the tasting of each wine looking at colour, aromas and taste. The experience is both fun and educational and can cater for up to 10 people.

Customers can choose from 3 initial wine tourism experiences:

  • Discover Spain’s Penedès Cava region
  • Nose out bold red wine regions of Spain
  • Summer whites in Spain’s Catalonia wine regions

Purchases of the wine tourism experience, which costs just €170 (includes postage and packaging) for homes in Europe can be enjoyed by the whole family so a family of 5 will only really be paying  €34 each.

This completely immersive experience will not only be educational and fun to do, but each wine tourism experience purchased will be supporting three small boutique winery businesses not present on the supermarket shelves.It will also provide employment for sommelliers not able to work in restaurants and hotels.

For more information on Wine Tourism Experiences at Home by Wine Pleasures here: https://www.winepleasures.com/workshop/wine-tourism-at-home/ 

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop in Spain mostrará la excelencia de los vinos boutique internacionalmente

La veintena edición de este innovador evento profesional, impulsado por Wine Pleasures, se celebrará en el Double Tree by Hilton Barcelona Golf Hotel, Resort y Spa del 2 al 4 de marzo de 2020. Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop es la mayor plataforma B2B para dar a conocer internacionalmente la excepcional oferta de vinos “boutique” de España.

A partir de un concepto y un formato altamente personalizado Wine Pleasures B2B, permitirá potenciar las oportunidades de negocio con compradores de vino extranjeros y maximizar el retorno de las bodegas participantes. El B2B prevé conseguir unos 40 importadores internacionales de alto nivel procedentes de unos 20 países considerados importantes para las bodegas, entre los que destacan Alemania, Holanda,  Irlanda, Kahakstan, Estados Unidos, Canadá, Brasil, Malasia, China, Hong Kong y Vietnam. Cada importador realizará una agenda de 20 reuniones durante el Workshop.

El evento ya cuenta con la participación de bodegas de las Designaciones de Origen: Alicante, Conca de Barberà, Empordà, Cava, Pla i Llevant, Montsant, Penedès, Priorat, Rioja y Terra Alta y con la participación de bodegas portuguesas.

En total, el evento estima la celebración de unas 800 reuniones B2B durante su celebración.

Más información e inscripción>>

Top 50 Sparkling Wines for 2020

The demand for sparkling wines continues unabated and with only four wine competitions completely focussed on fizz, it can be difficult for the sparkling wine lover to make the right choice when it comes to effervescence.

From 162 Sparkling wines entered in to the annual completion 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 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 2020. 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 162 sparkling wines entered from diverse terroirs and countries the top 50 are dominated once again 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, 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 Highly Recommended each with 96 points in no particular order  are Cuvèe D’Arce by Azienda Vitivinicola Righetti (Valpolicella, Verona, Italy), Zlata Radgonska Penina Selection Rosé by Radgonske gorice (Podravje, Štajerska, Slovenia) Brut Rosé Metodo Classico by Baracchi (Cortona, Italy)  Valados de Melgaço by Valados de Melgaço (Vinhos Verdes – Monção e Melgaço, Portugal) and Casa Ermelinda Freitas – Espumante Branco Bruto Reserva by Casa Ermelinda Freitas (Palmela, Portugal).

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. Competition winner with 96 points is Cuvée Rosé Spumante Brut by Societa Agricola Montalbera (Piedmont, Italy). Eight gold medals awarded for this method of production and classified as Highly Recommended each with 95 points are: Eight Carat Pinot Noir by Geoff Johnston Wines T/as Pirramimma (McLaren Vale, Australia) , Arnea Soave Spumante Brut by Casa Vinicola Sartori (Veneto, Italy), Shaw Vineyard Estate Sparkling Cuvee by Shaw Vineyard Estate (Canberra, Australia), Copaboca Proveco by Bodegas Copaboca (Rueda, Spain), Bacio della Luna Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato Brut Nature by Bacio della Luna (Veneto, Italy), Astoria “Arzana” Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze Dry by A. C. SRL (Veneto, Italy), Cuvée Blanche Spumante Extra Dry by Societa Agricola Montalbera (Piedmont, Italy)

Once again, this year saw just 2 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 €5 to €20 giving wine lovers plenty of affordable options to whet their appetite. For those looking to splurge on long – aged sparkling wines should consider getting their hands on Gold medal winners from Maison Wessman (Wessman One – Champagne, France (30 months) at €80 a bottle or Rovellats (Rovellats Gran Reserva Brut Nature – Cava, Spain (60 months) – a snip at just €17.06

Charmat method production wines range from €5 to €18.

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 2020.

To view the top 50 Sparkling Wines to try in 2020 click on the banner below:

 

 

Los 50 Mejores Cavas para 2020

Bodegues Sumarroca y Agrícola Casa Sala, los Cavas mejor valorados en la única competición anual para el Cava organizada por Wine Pleasures. 

Se ha celebrado la dècima edición anual de la compètición 50 Great Cavas, un acontecimiento  que reúne los mejores Cavas de la DO Cava.

La prestigiosa y única competición para los vinos espumosos con DO Cava, liderada por Anthony Swift, y apoyada por especialistas del mundo del vino enólogo y sommelier Juan Manuel Gonzalvo, periodista Santiago Fernandez, sommelier Felipe Urbano Arjona y en ocasiones anteriors el Master of Wine  Norrel Robertson, otorgó los premios a los mejores Cavas con 95 y 96 puntos a:

Adernats (Nulles, Tarragona), Vía de la Plata (Extremadura), Sumarroca (Penedès), UVESTE (Requena, Valencia), Rovellats (Penedès), Roger Goulart (Penedès), Agrícola Casa Sala (Penedès) con Can Sala Cava de Paraje y Clos Montblanc (Concà de Barberà) con Clos Montblanc Brut Premium

Todo los resultados de la competición 50 Great Cavas 2020 se pueden consultar en:

https://www.winepleasures.com/50-great-cavas-2020

A diferencia de otras competiciones para el vino espumoso, Wine Pleasures mediante una nota de prensa hace una difusión importante de los resultados 50 Great Cavas 2020. Concretamente se envían a

  • Más de 75,000 importadores, distribuidores y comercios en mercados importantes como EEUU, países europeos, y países asiáticos
  • Más de 140,000 seguidores en las redes sociales (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter y Linkedin).
  • Revistas relacionado con el vino y el turismo del vino

Véase la versión inglesa de este comunicado desde 50 Great Cavas to try in 2020>>

50 Great Cavas to try in 2020

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 2020. Anthony Swift, Competition Director highlights the Cavas that excelled at the annual tasting organised by Wine Pleasures.

12 top-tier Cavas receive Gold Medals with scores of 95 & 96 points and have been been classified as Highly Recomended and these were obtained by producers who score high year on year in the competition Regular Gold winners include Adernats (Nulles, Tarragona), Vía de la Plata (Extremadura), Sumarroca (Penedès), UVESTE (Requena, Valencia), Rovellats (Penedès) and Roger Goulart (Penedès) . Also achieving a Gold medal are newcomers to the competiton: Agrícola Casa Sala (Penedès) with Can Sala Cava de Paraje and Clos Montblanc (Concà de Barberà) with Clos Montblanc Brut Premium

The remainder of the Cavas were classified as 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 (Bodegas 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 and get their hands on prize winners from prestigious Cava producers Sumarroca Núria Claverol Homenatge (40 months), RRP €43,95 and Agrícola Casa Sala Can Sala (132 months), RRP €75,00

The results of the 2020 edition of annual competition 50 Great Cavas can be viewed at https://www.winepleasures.com/50-great-cavas-2020 and contains all the Gold and Silver medal winners with photos and tasting notes for each. 50 Great Cavas 2020 is a useful resource consulted by both the on and off trade and the end wine consumer/wine traveller.

 

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: