English wines win record number of awards in global tasting competition

<span>Photograph: travelib/Alamy</span>
Photograph: travelib/Alamy

English wines picked up a record haul of awards this year in the industry’s largest wine competition, including two judged to be in the top 50 best-tasting in the world.

Two English producers – Roebuck Estate in West Sussex and Simpsons from Kent – each won the prestigious accolade of best in show for a sparkling and a still white at the 17th annual Decanter World Wine Awards.

English wines from 21 counties won three platinum, five gold, 94 silver and 46 bronze medals at the awards, with the English wine industry notching up an all-time record of 155 awards – up from 145 in 2019.

Throughout August 116 judges including 37 masters of wine and nine master sommeliers tasted and analysed the merits of 16,518 wines produced by some of the world’s top wineries in 56 countries. Judges used “vibrating proximity lanyards” and bespoke disposable spittoons to ensure safe conditions in the first major contest to have been judged under strict safety guidelines as a result of Covid-19.

Only 50 wines were awarded the highly sought-after accolade of best in show, whittled down from the winners of the 178 platinum, 537 gold, 5,234 silver and 7,508 bronze medals. France got the biggest overall haul – a total of 3,137 medals – an 11% increase from last year.

A platinum and best in show went to Roebuck Estate near Petworth for its Classic Cuvée Brut 2014, a £35 sparkling white hailed for flavours of “baked apple, buttered toast and layered citrus fruits”.

“We are absolutely delighted to have won this incredible award,” said Roebuck Estate’s general manager, James Mead. “To have garnered such high praise from an esteemed group of knowledgeable tasters for only our second wine is especially rewarding. It firmly puts us on the wine map and benchmarks us against some of the very best sparkling wines produced in the world.”

In Kent, Simpsons’ the Roman Road Chardonnay collected a platinum medal and its first best in show after gaining a silver gong last year for the 2017 vintage. Its Kentish neighbour Chapel Down had another impressive year with all seven wines entered awarded medals, including two platinum for its Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvee 2014. The Grange Pink NV (non-vintage) from Hampshire won the third platinum medal for the UK.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “With the English wine trophy cabinet now at bursting point we hope the government continues to show its support for those in this sector who have been hit hard by the pandemic. That’s why we are calling for the chancellor to cut alcohol duty by 2% at the autumn budget.”