Cellar notes #49: The ones in the medals ...

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Australia topped the medals' table at the International Wine Challenge by winning 50 per cent of the medals, while Germany scored more than twice as many golds as any other country. Burgundy performed well in the IWC and the Decanter World Wine Awards. Nine of its producers scored at least two gold medals at the IWC. Among them the widely available Jean-Marc Brocard (from £6.99 to £22.99 a bottle) topped the list with four golds.

Alsace had the highest strike rate of any region in the competitions with both the excellent co-op Cave de Turckheim and Olivier Humbrecht scoring three golds, and, in Humbrecht's case, four silvers too. Look for its Gewürztraminer in Waitrose (£17.99). Of the champagne brands Charles Heidsieck (from £23.49 a bottle to £90) put on a vintage display with five golds at the IWC.

No other New Zealand producer came close to Villa Maria's impressive tally of three golds and six silvers. (The sauvignon blanc is widely available, from £7.99 to £12.99.) One Portuguese winery, DFJ Vinhos, also managed three golds for wines, which sell for between £3.49 and £8.99, and, overall, Portugal took the highest percentage of silver medals.

Argentina took the lowest percentage of medals; South Africa, Chile and California came away with disappointingly few. Contrast that with the Sherry minnow Emilio Lustau (responsible for some of Waitrose own-label sherries), whose 38 awards included five gold and 16 silver medals.

Other top medal winners are available from the internet. For more information visit www.wineint.com and www.decanter.com.