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Sarah ChuggSarah Chugg, Assistant Manager of our Cheltenham store, takes you through the wine world’s most celebrated award competitions and runs through some of the top award winners in the Majestic range.

We’ve all seen the stickers on wine bottles proclaiming it the winner of this medal or that trophy. But what do those awards actually mean and which ones should you really pay attention to? Here’s a spotter’s guide to three of the most significant international competitions, plus a selection of our favourite winning wines.

International Wine Challenge (IWC)

IWC 2010Arguably the most prestigious competition of all, this is certainly one of the biggest, running over two weeks and taking the rest of the year to organise. 2010 saw 375 judges tasting nearly 45,000 bottles in two rounds. First of all, wines are tasted against regional competitors (e.g. Chablis vs Chablis), then scored out of 100. Any scoring under 85 are re-tasted by co-chairs to make sure no potential medal-winners slip through the net. The second round sees wines tasted by country, region and grape. A score of 95-100 points wins Gold; 90-94 Silver; 85-89 Bronze; and 80-84 takes home a commendation. Finally, an elite judging panel tastes the Gold medal winners by category to single out the winners of the coveted Trophy. In 2010, just 111 wines won this top accolade.

Gold Medal Winners

Castillo de Molina Shiraz 2008, Maule Valley, ChileCastillo de Molina Shiraz 2008, Maule Valley, Chile
£7.99*

Black forest fruit aromas lead to a palate brimming over with plums, spice, chocolate and a touch of cedar.

Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana, SpainHidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana, Spain
8.49*

Crisp, dry and nutty with a fresh salty tang. Serve with olives, feta and sundried tomatoes for the perfect apéritif.

Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir 2008, Napa Valley, CaliforniaRobert Mondavi Pinot Noir 2008, Napa Valley, California
14.99*

Delicious and distinctive. Aromas and flavours of sweet red cherries and a zing of cranberry follow through to the palate for a long lingering finish.

Matetic EQ Syrah 2008, San Antonio ValleyMatetic EQ Syrah 2008, San Antonio Valley
22.00 or 19.00 when you buy 2 bottles*

Complex characteristics of black fruit, figs, pepper, tea and a hint of tobacco. A real sumptuous mouthful.

Soave ‘La Rocca’ 2007, Pieropan, ItalySoave ‘La Rocca’ 2007, Pieropan, Italy
25.00 or 20.00 when you buy 2 bottles*

Golden yellow. Subtle herby-honey aromas and a full supple palate bursting with exotic fruits.

Vin de Constance 2005, Klein Constantia, Constantia, 50cl, South AfricaVin de Constance 2005, Klein Constantia, Constantia, 50cl, South Africa
30.00 or 23.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Intensely sweet honeyed peach, apricot and citrus peel flavours mingle with zippy acidity to create a luscious finish that just goes on and on.

Silver Medal Winners

Beaujolais Villages 2009, Château de la Terrière, FranceBeaujolais Villages 2009, Château de la Terrière, France
8.99 or 7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

After something a little lighter? Cherries, berries and silky tannins make this perfect for warm autumn days.

Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2008, Mount Difficulty, Central Otago, New ZealandRoaring Meg Pinot Noir 2008, Mount Difficulty, Central Otago, New Zealand
17.49 or 13.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

From a warmer vintage, this is dominated by juicy ripe black cherry and mulberry flavours, with soft undertones of sweet spice and liquorice.

Meursault 2008, Jean Bourguignon, FranceMeursault 2008, Jean Bourguignon, France
17.99 or 15.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

A rich and opulent wine showing a buttery lemon and lime bouquet complemented by hazelnut, toast and a touch of honey on the palate.

Decanter World Wine Awards

Decanter 20102010’s haul of 10,983 entries confirmed this as the largest international consumer wine competition. Of the 7,468 award-winning wines, 1,037 received a Silver medal, with just 319 earning a Gold medal or regional Trophy. A judging panel chaired by Steven Spurrier and including luminaries such as Jeannie Cho Lee MW and The Fat Duck’s Head Sommelier, Isa Bal MS, guarantees that winning wines are of an exceptional quality.

Gold Medal Winners

Viñalba Malbec Reserva 2008, Mendoza, ArgentinaViñalba Malbec Reserva 2008, Mendoza, Argentina
9.99 or 8.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

This is a firm favourite: smooth and structured with mulberry and brambles plus hints of chocolate, vanilla and violet.

Viña Mayu Reserva Syrah 2007, Elqui Valley, ChileViña Mayu Reserva Syrah 2007, Elqui Valley, Chile
11.99 or 10.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Vanilla and black pepper are perfectly integrated with black woodland fruits in this great New World alternative to a Rhône Syrah.

Condrieu 2008, E.Guigal, FranceCondrieu 2008, E.Guigal, France
25.00*

Brilliant golden-yellow and quite delicious, this category winner of ‘Best White Rhône over £10’ is elegant on the nose with a big mouthful of stone fruit and white flowers.

Taittinger Brut Réserve NV, FranceTaittinger Brut Réserve NV, France
33.00 or £25.00 until 27th September,28.00 when you buy 2 bottles thereafter*

With 60% Chardonnay in the blend, this straw-yellow Champagne is fresh and vibrant with toasted brioche notes. Perfect with fish and chips.

Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV, FranceTaittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV, France
40.00 or 35.00 when you buy 2 bottles*

Kick-started by elderflower fruits, the fine persistent mousse highlights subtle cinnamon undertones. Category winner for ‘Best Non-Vintage Champagne over £10’.

Silver Medal Winners

Muscat Sec Réserve Spéciale 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc, Gérard Bertrand, FranceMuscat Sec Réserve Spéciale 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc, Gérard Bertrand, France
6.99 or 5.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Ripe grape, honeysuckle, blossom and a herby freshness make this a perfect wine for aperitifs or try with a prawn stir-fry.

La Vieille Ferme 2009, Côtes du Ventoux, Perrin et Fils, FranceLa Vieille Ferme 2009, Côtes du Ventoux, Perrin et Fils, France
6.99*

Offers real ripe berry fruits with gentle spice and a soft lingering finish. Great with cheese and biscuits. A real bargain.

Santenay ‘Les Côteaux Sous La Roche’ 2008, Domaine Olivier, FranceSantenay ‘Les Côteaux Sous La Roche’ 2008, Domaine Olivier, France
16.99 or 14.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Ripe pear and apple flavours melt into an elegant floral, vanilla and honeysuckle finish.

Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay 2008, Adelaide Hills, AustraliaShaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay 2008, Adelaide Hills, Australia
22.00 or 18.00 when you buy 2 bottles*

Ripe peach, baked apple and pineapple coupled with butterscotch, fresh acidity and a nice full body make this a perfect autumn evening wine.

Top 100 French PGI

Top 100 French PGI 2010The Top 100 brings together all French Vin de Pays (or PGI wines as they are now known), available to the UK Market for rigorous blind tastings carried out by an impartial and skilled panel of judges, consisting of wine journalists, buyers, sommeliers and winemakers. After much careful deliberation, the Top 100 wines are selected, with Trophies awarded for excellence and outstanding quality.

Winners of the Trophy for Wine Excellence

Paul Mas Estate Mourvèdre ‘Savignac Vineyard’ 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc New!Paul Mas Estate Mourvèdre ‘Savignac Vineyard’ 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc New!
8.99 or 6.49 when you buy 2 bottles*

A lovely deep purple colour. Ripe rustic berry filled wine with a spicy cocoa finish.

Domaine Les Yeuses ‘Les Epices’ Syrah 2008, PGI Pays d’OcDomaine Les Yeuses ‘Les Epices’ Syrah 2008, PGI Pays d’Oc
8.99 or 6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Fresh menthol aromas lift from the glass and mingle with a palate of plummy  spiciness. Well structured tannins make this good with hearty beef dishes.

Laurent Miquel ‘Nord Sud’ Viognier 2009, PGI Pays d’OcLaurent Miquel ‘Nord Sud’ Viognier 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc
8.99 or 7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Elegant on the nose with aromas of orange peel and apricot. Fuller on the palate with flavours of vanilla and honey that linger on and on.

Vignes de Nicole Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009, PGI Pays d’OcVignes de Nicole Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc
9.99 or 8.49 when you buy 2 bottles*

One of five Trophy winners for Paul Mas and another brilliant offering. Notes of plum, cassis, sweet spice and liquorice make this well-rounded wine great with roast dinners.

Other Winners

‘Cabernet de Cabernet’ 2008/09, Paul Mas, PGI Pays d’Oc‘Cabernet de Cabernet’ 2008/09, Paul Mas, PGI Pays d’Oc
7.99 or 5.99 when you buy 2 bottles

A mellow wine with blueberry, cassis and roasted pepper flavours. Fresh and juicy with soft structured tannins.

Paul Mas Estate Marsanne ‘La Forge Vineyard’ 2009, PGI Pays d’OcPaul Mas Estate Marsanne ‘La Forge Vineyard’ 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc
8.99 or 6.49 when you buy 2 bottles*

Toasted hazelnuts, white flowers and roasted pear alongside fresh lemon zest make this a great partner to salmon en croute.

Paul Mas Estate Viognier ‘Nicole Vineyard’ 2009, PGI Pays d’OcPaul Mas Estate Viognier ‘Nicole Vineyard’ 2009, PGI Pays d’Oc
8.99 or 6.49 when you buy 2 bottles*

Refined and resonant. Packed full of nectar, stone fruits, honey dew and blossom. A great everyday drink.

Domaine du Pech Rome Tempranillo 2007/08, Vin de Pays de Caux New!Domaine du Pech Rome Tempranillo 2007/08, Vin de Pays de Caux New!
7.99 or 6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

A forwardly expressive wine with plenty of raspberry, blackberry and mulberry  flavours.

Domaine de L’Aigle Pinot Noir 2008, Gérard Bertrand, PGI Pays d’Oc New!Domaine de L’Aigle Pinot Noir 2008, Gérard Bertrand, PGI Pays d’Oc New!
9.99 or 7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Light-bodied with wild strawberry, clove and sweet spice flavours. This long, graceful Pinot is arguably one of France’s best outside of Burgundy.

See all our IWC & Decanter Medal Winning wines

*All prices are valid until 1st November 2010 unless otherwise stated.

  • Doug

    It must be very gratifying to your wine buyers to see the wines they have selected for Majestic customers winning major prizes at the award ceremonies. Congratulations, well done