Anthony Rose: 'I was blown away by the champagne at the International Wine Competition'


I was chatting to a wine industry luminary last month and they told me they'd accepted the presidency of the International Wine & Spirit Competition thinking that it was the International Wine Challenge. IWSC? IWC? A simple enough mistake to make and a reminder that even those in the know can get confused now that medals are scattered like confetti and wine competitions two a penny.

I only mention it because, for the first time in nearly a decade, I was invited to the posh black-tie dinner of the International Wine Competition at the Guildhall recently, and although black-tie dinners are not high on my wishlist of fun nights out, I thought it was time to show my face. I wish I'd known that the highlight of the evening was a tasting of the award-winning wines and spirits, because I would have arrived sooner.

With 220 wines to taste and 179 spirits, maybe it's as well that I only had just enough time before the trumpet fanfare to taste my way, in pre-Christmas mode, through the 26 gold medal-winning champagnes. I wasn't just pleasantly surprised, I was blown away at the excellence of so much champagne. Leading the field were such treats as the 2002 Piper Heidsieck Rare, £120-£140, The Whisky Exchange (020-7403 8688), Harrods, and the magnificently perfumed, nutty 1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires, £115.11, Exel Wines (01738 493535).

The famous brands produced yet more stunners in a fine, biscuity Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, £29.95-£31.95, The Whisky Exchange, Berry Bros (0800 280 2440), Besserat de Bellefon's superb 2002 Cuvée des Moines Brut, £29.99, Noble Green (020-8979 1113), and an elegantly dry, strawberry-mousse champagne in the 2002 Moët & Chandon Rosé Grand Vintage, around £54.95, Wine Rack, Nickolls and Perks (01384 394518), My favourites in this section were the intensely rich Jacquart Brut de Nominée, £38.92, Lay & Wheeler (01473 313300), and Taittinger's magnificently creamy, nutty Folies de la Marquetterie, £47.95-£52.95,, Harrods.

The surprise of the night was to find what might have been thought to be a rather modest supermarket champagne in such exalted company. I was in no doubt that Tesco's Finest Premier Cru Champagne, £14.99, down from £19.99, deserved all the plaudits for a lively, fresh-textured mousse with delicious undertones of grilled nut and honey. After recently tasting Marks & Spencer's creamy and tangily dry 2005 Oudinot Champagne, £24, down from £29, I would have no hesitation in putting it in no less impressively stylish company. Speaking of fabulous prestige champagne, a handful of tickets remain for the Wine Gang's glittering champagne tasting on Tuesday, 11 December. For details, check out

Suggested Topics
people And here is why...
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Service Charge Accountant

    30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?