Herefordshire’s Castle Brook Wins SW Wine of the Year
At the South West Vineyards Association Annual Competition, held this year at Knightor Winery near St Austell in Cornwall, Castle Brook Classic Cuvée 2010 won the top gold medal and trophy for the Sparkling White class, narrowly beating other gold medal wines from Camel Valley, Lyme Bay Winery and Sharpham. After a taste-off against gold medal winners from other classes, it was awarded the SWVA Wine of the Year trophy by the team of judges led by Patricia Stefanowicz MW.
Castle Brook had also won this prestigious award in 2014 with their 2009 sparkling wine, Chinn Chinn.
155 Wines entered
There were 155 wines entered for the competition, all produced by members of the SWVA. They were judged at Knightor on Monday 12th September by a team of seven judges, all qualified in wine assessment and including several experienced international competition judges. They awarded 10 gold medals, 36 silvers and 65 bronzes. The results were announced at a full members meeting and following an excellent awards lunch, the following day, Tuesday 13th September. The judging is pictured left.
Other major trophy winners were:
Sharpham Estate, Devon – Best Dry White: “Sharpham Bacchus 2014”.
Trevibban Mill, Cornwall: Best Dry Oaked White,”Constantine 2014”.
Three Choirs, Gloucestershire, Best Non-dry White, “Cellar Door Noble Harvest 2014”.
Lovells Vineyard Worcestershire, Best Rosé, “Sonatina Rosé 2015”.
Stocklands Vineyard, Somerset, Best Red “Greenhill Estate Pinot Noir 2015”.
Camel Valley, Cornwall, Best Sparkling Rosé, “Camel Valley 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé”.
Non-commercial trophy winners were Westhope Hill for the best non-commercial non-dry white and best non-commercial sparkling white and Northend Vineyard for the best non-commercial red. Tony Griffin of Northen Vineyard won the trophy for the best small-scale winemaker.
The Gillian Pearkes Trophy for the best contribution to the SWVA went to Alina Stankus for her work on the competition.
The judges were Patricia Stefanowicz MW (Chair) who has led the judging for the SWVA competition foir a number of years, Lindsey Oram (WSET Diploima, AWE, IWSC judge), Jemma Mitchell (WSET Diploma and Educator), Tim Johnson (WoEWSA, WSET Diploma and Educator), Ed Adams MW (Wine Importer), Peter Csizmadia-Honigh (international wine judge), Richard Coulson (IWSC judge).
The SWVA Team
The SWVA team were Alina Stankus (SWVA Competition secretary, overall organisation), Simon Boyce (who prepared the bottles and organized the flights for judging) and Jane Awty (who entered the judges scores). Here (right) are Simon and Alina setting out a class of wines ready for judging, wrapped in foil to ensure anonymity.
Before the awards, UKVA Chair Sam Lindo outlined to members where talks exploring unity with English Wine Producers, the marketing arm of the industry, had reached.
Patricia Stefanowicz reviewed the wines, noting that the medals Included wines from non commercial vineyards and some really impressed the panel. She commended the Reds - many were really successful, the trophy-winner almost gold medal standard and some good silvers. The rosés were really mixed. Balance is crucial in rosés, but there were good golds, silvers and bronzes. Dry whites were subdivided, with eleven in the separate class for the Bacchus grape and all got an award. That reinforces the suitability of the Bacchus grape for this climate. The top Bacchus was a finalist for Wine of the Year. A lot of so2 in the other dry whites, which made tasting difficult, but some were delightful. The oaked whites were interesting, the judges enjoyed them, noting good, judicious use of oak. The medium dry wines were ok, but the medium sweet were glorious. Sparkling wines were superb, the whites stellar, 4 golds were awarded. The rosé sparkling were more mixed, the judges gave 2 golds - beware of too much dosage! Overall, Patricia commented, "SW wines are a constellation shining from the heavens!"
The individual awards were then announced by SWVA Vice Chair Guy Smith and presented by Patricia Stefanowicz with the help of Simon Boyce.
The day in pictures:
SW producers tour of the Knightor winery; the pre-lunch tasting of the competition wines; lunch in the Knightor restaurant; Sam Lindo speaking in his role as UKVA Chair pictured with Guy Smith, SWVA vice chair; Duncan Schwab of Sharpham Estate receiving the trophy for best dry white from Patricia Stefanowicz; Liz Mumcuoglu of Trevibban Mill receiving the Best Oaked White trophy; Ben Hawker of Three Choirs receiving the Best Non-Dry White trophy; Mark Thorp of Stocklands Vineyard receiving the Best Red Trophy; Sam Lindo of Camel Valley receiving the Best Sparkling Rosé trophy; Tony Griffin of Northend Vineyard receiving the Best Non-Commercial Winemaker trophy and Alina Stankus receiving the trophy for the best contribution to the SWVA.