Below, we round-up some of the less-expected Platinum wins at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, a competition that has sought to shine a light on the wine world’s hidden gems since its inception in 2004.
Uruguay Best Red Single-Varietal
Bodega Garzón’s Single Vineyard Tannat, Maldonado 2015
The dark horse proved to be Uruguay’s wines made from the Tannat grape, which took the competition’s top accolades for red wines.
Marks & Spencer’s Pisano Cisplatino Tannat, Canelones 2015 won Platinum Best in Show for Best Value Red Single-Varietal. And Bodega Garzón’s Single Vineyard Tannat, Maldonado 2015 was awarded the medal for the best red wine overall made from a single grape variety.
Last month, Decanter’s Jane Anson predicted the ascent of the country’s Tannat grape and recognised it’s potential to top popular South American Malbec wines.
‘Tannat does well in Uruguay because it is the only South American country with an Atlantic Ocean influence,’ she explained. ‘You can find penguins on the beach here in February, and the cool climate makes the thick skin of Tannat a huge bonus.’
Anson even mentioned Decanter’s surprise winner:
‘Estates like Bodega Garzón have produced a more contemporary-styled version that is helping to smooth Tannat’s image of rustic, hard tannins in international markets.’
Marks and Spencer’s £9.50 Tannat wine was praised by judges for its ‘unbeatable value’, with notes of ‘blueberries, cassis and a whisper of smoke’.
United Kingdom Best Value White Single-Varietal
Who could ignore the unprecedented victory of an English Bacchus wine from Norfolk?
Winbirri’s Bacchus 2015was given a Platinum Best in Show award by judges, giving it DWWA status as the Best Value White Single-Varietal wine in the competition. Judges deemed it to be ‘a perfect aperitif wine’, which is ‘well-defined on the palate’ with a ‘long clean finish’.
Until now, the UK has largely been celebrated for its sparkling wines, but the success of Winbirri Vineyards’ Bacchus could signal the rise of its still wines too.
Bacchus is well-suited to English terroirs, as its cooler climate tends to lift the acidity — leading to some touting it as the country’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc.
Czech Republic Best Dry Aromatic
Sonberk, V.O.C. Pálava 2015
Made entirely from the Pálava grape, this white wine from Moravia in the Czech Republic made a splash this year — walking away with the Platinum Best in Show award for the Best Dry Aromatic.
Its producer, Sonberk, makes wines on ancient viticultural land in Moravia, and the vineyards face the Pálava hill after which the grape was named.
The grape is believed to be a Gewürztraminer and Müller Thurgau hybrid created in the 1950s, and grown exclusively in Czech Republic and neighbouring Slovakia.
Judges found the wine ‘superb’, with a ‘round, creamy mouthfeel’ and notes of peach and pear mingling with bitter leaf and almond.
China Platinum Best in Category
Vidal Icewine made by Yajianggu, which translates into ‘duck river valley’.
Could China be the next big thing in ice wine? Yajianggu Winery, in China’s northeastern Jiln province won a Platinum medal for its Vidal Icewine 2014. Judges noted:
‘The unctuous palate has bright concentrated mangoes and pineapples, and a generous lychee fruit aftertaste leading into the rich syrupy finale.’
Two other Chinese ice wines won gold medals at DWWA 17: Taihang Valley, Ice Wine Vidal, Shanxi 2013 and Château Fenhe, Ice Wine, Heilongjiang 2015
The continued success of the country’s ice wines could help to raise its profile on the world’s wine stage.