There was a slight hiccup in announcing the 2015 Champagne and Sparkling Wine Awards at the Vintners' Hall on September 2. Tom Stevenson – one of the panel of judges – found his words mangled by feedback. But this aside, there was plenty of bling in the bottle as well as an update on the world of fizz.
No surprises for guessing that France was the most successful country, with 19 more gold medals (46 in all) than second placed Italy. The 2004 Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé won supreme champion. With entries from all over France, the judges assessed Limoux as "impressive", while Burgundy seemed a case of "could do better".
Italy "has come of age as a sparkling wine nation," said Stevenson. Franciacorta and Trentodoc battled for classic brut-style honours, with the latter triumphing. The Rotari NV Brut Rosé won best value. There was even praise for prosecco, which won four gold medals, all from the excellent Nino Franco.
"Twenty years ago English wine was a joke. Now it is world class," said Stevenson. With 13 Golds, England was the third most successful country, with the Nyetimber 2010 Classic Cuvée the national winner. Australia was "a steady hitter" with 10 golds, the best of which was Tasmania's House of Arras 2005 Grand Vintage Brut. New Zealand should be more famous for fizz, Stevenson believes, but it's mired in corporate red tape and hasn't yet found a way of turning its sparkling sauvignon blanc into the next prosecco.
South Africa's Cap Classique is "an enigma" with the 2009 Avondale Armilla Blanc de Blanc Brut the winner. The US was the only country to fare worse this year than last, although its winning fizz, the 2007 Caraccioli Cellars 2007 Brut, was exceptional. While critical of cava, it was "rewarding to see the quality of Spanish sparkling continue its upward climb", especially in the winning Segura Viudas NV Reserva Heredad Pinot Noir.
Countries that may surprise you with the emerging quality of their fizz were Canada, Germany and Serbia with potential in Brazil, China, Hungary, Slovenia, Switzerland, Portugal, Russia and India. For the results in full: champagnesparklingwwc.co.ukReuse content