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Decanter World Wine Awards: The Co-Chairs’ Selection

In anticipation of DWWA 2020 results (published on Decanter.com 22 September 2020), we ask the Co-Chairs to reflect on their most memorable wines from the 2019 competition...

Andrew Jefford, Michael Hill Smith MW and Sarah Jane Evans MW select and describe their most memorable wines from the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards:

Andrew Jefford’s most memorable

Andrew Jefford's DWWA 2019 Selection

Chapel Down, Kit’s Coty Chardonnay, Kent, UK 2016

97 points, Best in Show
£27.48-£30 Cambridge Wine Merchants, Justerini & Brooks
This super-slender but indubitably classy Chardonnay is grown close to a series of Neolithic megalith ruins. Despite its graceful outlines, the wine strikes me as something of a megalith itself: staking out the historic arrival of the UK as a producing zone for fine still wine. It may not last the full 12,000 years, but it will certainly age beautifully for a decade or more. Alc 12.5%

Domaine Serene, Winery Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon, USA 2015

96 points, Gold
N/A UK www.domaineserene.com
Wines like this refined, poised Pinot underline how far and how fast this northwestern US state, with its red volcanic soils and complicated weather patterns, has come since we crested the millennium. Alc 14.1%

Domaine Melody, Friandise, Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône, France 2017

95 points, Gold
£18.88-£19.75 Four Walls, The Good Wine Shop, Winearray
I visited Marc Romak and Marlène Durand back in 2017, and am delighted to see them among the medals two years later – and to see Crozes proving its amazing potential with a delicious, fruit-packed, high-focus red. The northern Rhône is increasingly looking like a little Burgundy, with parcellaires and prices to match. If you want value, head for Crozes every time. Alc 13%

Michael Hill Smith MW’s most memorable

Michael Hill Smith's DWWA 2019 Selection

Charles Heidsieck, Blanc des Millénaires Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne, France 2004

98 points, Best in Show
£179 Widely available
An exceptional aged blanc de blancs that has developed wonderful toasty characters. Spectacular. Alc 12.3%

Dawson & James, Chardonnay, Derwent Valley, Tasmania, Australia 2016

95 points, Gold
£38.15-£46.99 Christopher Keiller, Exel, Liberty Wines, Oz Wines, The Drink Shop, The Fine Wine Co
I may well be biased, but I continue to be excited by Australian cool-climate Chardonnay and all things Tasmanian. An outstanding wine of great purity from this impressive duo. Alc 12.5%

Henriques & Henriques, 20 Year Old Verdelho, Madeira, Portugal NV

98 points, Best in Show
£64-£80.50 Cambridge Wine Merchants, Hedonism, Luvian’s Bottle Shop, Simply Wines Direct, The Wine Reserve
This tiny Atlantic island produces some of the world’s most fascinating, long-living and unique ‘process’ wines. A classic multilayered, tangy Madeira: delicious. Alc 20%

Lustau, VORS 30 Years Old, Oloroso, Jerez, Spain NV

97 points, Best in Show
£65-£78/50cl Widely available
Sherry is passion of mine and Lustau is a consistent star across all its styles. This 30 year-old Oloroso is extraordinary – nutty, hyper-complex, long and lingering. Alc 21%

Sarah Jane Evans MW’s most memorable

Sarah Jane Evans DWWA 2019 Selection

Bodgas Fillaboa, La Fillaboa 1898 Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain 2010

97 points, Best in Show
£29.95 Exel
Look at the vintage. This is what great Albariño can be about. Some wine lovers can’t get their heads around Albariño with years on lees, but trust me, it can be magical. Superbly complex. Alc 13%

Teliani Valley, Glekhuri Qvevri Kisi, Kakheti, Georgia 2017

97 points, Best in Show
£21.25 (2019) Blas ar Fwyd, Connolly’s, Hennings
Walking through the judging as a Co-Chair there was a real buzz of excitement about this Kisi, and rightly so. Bruised apple fruit, lightly textured, brilliant acidity. Alc 13%

Gran Enemigo, El Cepillo Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc, San Carlos, Mendoza, Argentina 2014

95 points, Gold
£45 (ib, 2016) Alex Marton, Jeroboams
Cabernet Franc + Alejandro Vigil = always a winning proposition. My favourite from the winery’s three 2019 Golds – all of them Cabernet Franc. Alc 13.9%

Simčič, Leonardo, Goriška Brda, Primorska, Slovenia 2013

97 points, Platinum
£37-£39.99/37.5cl The Salusbury Winestore, WoodWinters
There’s always a ‘handbag’ wine – one you want to smuggle out at the end of the day. This, sadly, had to stay, but its memory lingers: great counterpoint between dried fruit and orange zest succulence. Alc 12%

(from left to right) Michael Hill Smith MW, Andrew Jefford and Sarah Jane Evans MW

Read more: The 17th Decanter World Wine Awards judging month highlights

DWWA 2020 Interview: Paz Levinson on Argentina

Results for the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards will be published on Decanter.com this 22 September and in the January 2021 issue of Decanter magazine.

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