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Swiss Winners at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020

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Text: Simon Hardy Dip WSET. Image: Nic Crilly Hargrave

Decanter, one of the leading publications in the world of wine, has just announced the results of the 17th annual edition of The Decanter World Wine Awards. Over 16,500 wines from 56 countries entered the competition which was judged by 116 wine experts, including 37 Masters of Wine and nine Master Sommeliers.

This year’s smaller than usual judging panel was a function of strict Covid safety guidelines, such as temperature checks on arrival, protective equipment, disposable spittoons and vibrating proximity tags.

Nevertheless, the same rigorous approach to tasting was applied. Over the two weeks of competition “Best in Show” wines were subjected to five separate tastings and “Platinum” wines to four tastings. “Gold” medals were awarded to wines following three tastings in the first week of competition.

50 Swiss wineries submitted wines in 2020. While this number is down by over 10% on 2019, the number of Swiss wines awarded a medal is up by 20 to a total of 169, the country’s best performance since 2015. 32 of the 50 wineries won at least one “Silver” medal or better.

Swiss wines win Best in Show and Platinum awards

For the first time since 2016 a wine from Switzerland was awarded one of just 50 coveted “Best in Show” accolades:

Provins (Valais) - Les Domaines Sélection Grains Nobles Tourbillon 2015 
(100% Petite Arvine)

This sweet wine was one of just four to achieve this award out of almost 300 sweet wines competing from around the world.

Only 178 wines were awarded “Platinum”, considered the ‘best wines in their region’, which featured one Swiss wine this year:

Georg Schlegel (Deutschschweiz) - Barrique Chardonnay 2018
(100% Chardonnay in 30% new oak)

Switzerland’s Gold medal winners

Another five Swiss wines won “Gold” medals (out of 538 in total). Decanter defines “Gold”as ‘an excellent wine of great complexity and character’:

WHITE: Provins (Valais) - Les Domaines Heida du Chapitre 2018
(
100Heida)

WHITE: Provins (Valais) - Maître de Chais Vieilles Vignes 2017
(
60Marsanne, 40% Roussanne

WHITE: Domaine La Capitaine (Vaud) – Johanniter Grand Cru 2018
(Biodynamic 100% Johanniter)

RED: Erich Meier (Deutschschweiz) – Pinot Noir Kirche 2018
(100% Pinot Noir)

RED: Provins (Valais) – Les Domaines Pinot Noir Tournelette 2018
(100% Pinot Noir)

Growing recognition for Swiss Pinot Noir

One of the notable highlights for Switzerland this year was the proportion of Pinot Noir wines that were awarded medals. 44 wines or over 25% of all the Swiss medal winners were either single varietal Pinot Noir or blends containing Pinot Noir. This includes two vinified as white and two as sparkling. Along with Switzerland’s two Pinot Noir “Gold” medal winners, this is the best performance for Swiss Pinot Noir since the competition began back in 2004 and a real recognition of the quality now being achieved by Switzerland’s most planted grape variety.

Once again, Swiss producers have demonstrated convincingly that their wines can compete with success at the highest level.

 

About the author

Simon Hardy holds the WSET Diploma for Wines and Spirits and is the London-based Ambassador for the Albion Group in the UK, promoting Swiss wines to British wine professionals. He is an independent wine consultant and founder of Fitting Wines.

 

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