The International Wine Challenge (IWC) has revealed the shortlists for the overall Champion Wines and Winemakers of the Year.

The Champion wines will be revealed at the IWC Awards Dinner on Tuesday 10th July 2018.

Champion Red shortlist

There are 12 short-listed wines in total. Those looking to try something out of the ordinary could head to the Lebanese Domaine des Tourelles Red 2014, a wine packed with flavour and heritage, perfect with rich lamb casseroles or a spicy chickpea harissa stew.

From Japan comes Suntory Wine International’s Tomi No Oka Winery Tomi Red 2013. This wine is made entirely from grapes produced on their own estate. And from Georgia comes Zangura Saperavi 2016. Saperavi is Georgia’s most widely planted red wine grape.

Other shortlisted reds include wines from South Africa, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain – as well as the more familiar territories of France, Italy, Argentina and Australia.

Champion White shortlist

Again, there is a pretty even split of countries with Australia, France, New Zealand and South Africa fielding expected winners. but a number of more unusual grapes and appellations too. Represented in the champion whites, for example, is rising star Greece and, again, Georgia.

There are 13 shortlisted wines in total – including three Rieslings, one each from Austria, Germany and New Zealand. Riesling has risen to become New Zealand’s fourth most planted white grape variety.

There is also a wine produced from the lesser-known Albana grape in northeast Italy, Tenuta Santa Lucia Albarara Selezione Artigianale 2016.

From Georgia comes JSC Teliani Valley Glekhuri Kisi 2015. And from Greece is Tear Of The Pine Retsina Tradition 2017 from the Kechris Winery, a traditional family winery in northern Greece, established in 1911.

Also, on the Champion whites shortlist is Casa da Passarella O Oenólogo Encruzado 2016. Encruzado is a white Portuguese wine grape grown primarily in the Dão DOC.

Representing Spain is Domènech.Vidal Cultivare Xarel.lo 2015. Xarel·lo is a white grape grown in Catalonia.

On more familiar territory there is also an Australian Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, a Torrontés from Argentina, a Chablis from France, and a Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

Champion Sparkling shortlist

Here there are four shortlisted winners including England’s entry, Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2009, in magnum. Sussex-based Nyetimber continues to be one of England’s outstanding performers. Its vineyards were the first in the UK to be devoted exclusively to the holy trinity of Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Last year it was awarded two Gold medals. This year it won four Golds including one with this sparkling white.

Champion Sweet shortlist

There are five wines listed in this category, and they are all Rieslings. They include Rieslings from Austria, Chile, Germany, South Africa and even one from Ontario, Canada, Andrew Peller Signature Series Riesling Icewine 2015. On this showing, Riesling does make the best sweet whites in the world.

Champion Fortified shortlist

Unsurprisingly, Portugal and Spain have led the way with a Port and a Madeira, a Sherry and a Spanish Vermouth (a sign of the renaissance in vermouth production). Also shortlisted is a Muscat from Australia.

International Varietal winners

The IWC has also announced its International Varietal Trophies today – the best entries from around the world made from single grape varieties. Particular success can be seen for France and New Zealand, both achieving two trophies each.

France and New Zealand led the way with two trophies each, out of a total of eight trophies.

  • For France the International Chardonnay Trophy went to Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils, Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2016, and the International Pinot Noir Trophy went to Maison Albert Bichot’s Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru Cuvée Madeleine Collignon – Hospices de Beaune 2016.
  • The two wins for New Zealand went to The McElhinney Wine Group Cause and Effect Barrique Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2017 under the banner of International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy. New Zealand also won the International Syrah Trophy with Yealands Crossroads Winemakers Collection Syrah 2014.

Winemakers of the Year 2018:

Shortlisted IWC Red Winemaker of the Year 2018

  • Maison Albert Bichot (France) – Alain Serveau
  • Cave De Roquebrun (France) – Alain Rogier
  • Bodegas Fabre (Argentina) – Hervé J. Fabre
  • Wolf Blass Wines (Australia) – Chris Hatcher & Steven Frost

Shortlisted IWC White Winemaker of the Year 2018

  • La Chablisienne (France) – Vincent Bartement
  • William Fèvre (France) – Didier Séguier
  • Wolfberger (France) – Jérôme Keller

Shortlisted IWC Fortified Winemaker of the Year 2018

  • Emilio Lustau (Spain) – Sergio Martínez
  • González Byass (Spain) – Antonio Flores
  • Harveys sherry (Spain) – Manuel Varcarcel
  • Morris Wines (Australia) – David Morris

Shortlisted IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2018

  • Charles Heidsieck (France) – Cyril Brun
  • Champagne Henriot (France) – Laurent Fresnet
  • Les Domaines Jeeper (France) – Marie Luce Thiéry
  • Nyetimber (England) – Cherie Spriggs

Shortlisted IWC Sweet Winemaker of the Year 2018

  • Weingut Helmut Lang (Austria) – Helmut Lang
  • Patricius Borház (Hungary) – István Varga
  • Weingut Reiss (Germany) – Christian Reiss

For more information, visit www.internationalwinechallenge.com/

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