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Exclusive London dinner launches successful DWWA judging week

A special DWWA wine pairing dinner at Michelin-starred Angler, hosted by DWWA Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW.

A DWWA 2023 send-off ahead of Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2024 judging week, Decanter held a special wine pairing dinner at Michelin-starred Angler, a restaurant atop the five-star South Place Hotel in London.

Following a rendition in Los Angeles with DWWA Judge and Decanter’s North America Editor Clive Pursehouse, the London soirée, hosted by DWWA Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW, took place just days before the 2024 competition commenced.

Celebrating the start of what has been another successful judging week, a selection of DWWA 2023 top-scoring wines were expertly paired with Angler’s refined menu, led by Executive Chef Gary Foulkes. Held at the exclusive Chef’s Table, guests could feel and see the buzz of the kitchen while overlooking views across the City of London.

Neil Ellis Wines, Whitehall Chardonnay, Elgin, South Africa 2021 paired with roast orkney scallop

With wines from the UK, Italy, Germany, Greece, South Africa and Slovenia, the array showcased the diverse range of wines which progress to the final rounds of judging, to be awarded Gold, Platinum or Best in Show medals.

Enjoyed alongside Angler’s ever-changing menu, featuring only seasonal and carefully sourced produce, technique, passion and precision aligned.

Below discover the six top-awarded wines showcased to welcome DWWA judging week, with Angler’s memorable paired courses.

Gusbourne, Blanc De Blancs, Kent/Sussex, United Kingdom 2018

Best in Show, 97 points

100% Chardonnay
All our wines are tasted and judged against their peers in the principal judging week of DWWA – but making the final selection for our Top 50 Best in Show enables the Co-Chairs to make some category comparisons. The chance to look at an outstanding English Blanc de Blancs against a peer from Champagne this year was instructive. This wine’s colour is paler still than the Champagne Blanc de Blancs, though the mousse is no less fine-grained. The aromatic fruit and flowers apparent in this wine’s scents seem to have seeped from beds of cool, almost icy moss – Chardonnay restraint is redoubled in these high latitudes. Acidity once again provides the architecture of flavour, but it’s what is engraved in that acidity which intrigues: orchard fruits combined with an almost severe citrus purity, a seaside freshness, and an unmistakable stoniness, too, which lingers and detains after the fruits subside. It’s a wine of remarkable assurance and accomplishment. Alcohol 12%

Paired with Pea, mint, goats curd and black garlic Gougere and Angler sourdough , caramelised yeast and malt butter

Weingut Korrell, Kreuznach Paradies Riesling, Nahe, Germany 2021

Best in Show, 97 points
100% Riesling
After a German absence from our Top 50 Best in Show selection last year, our judges were thrilled to find two magnificent contenders from the coolly classical 2021 vintage this year, and both (to no one’s surprise) vinified from Riesling. This wine comes from Nahe. Pale gold in colour, the aromas combine the sweet purity of Germany’s coolest regions with some of the stony interest and hints of spice found in wines from warmer sites a little further south. On the palate, the wine is pure, long and immaculately defined, the sappy fruits so taut, tight and pungent that your mouth and tongue almost seem to quiver as you sip. The trocken style works terrifically well here, without a hint of greenness or slenderness; the finish is as fresh as the palate entry. Immaculately stylish wine from one of contemporary Germany’s most accomplished and competitive regions. Alc 13%

Paired with Wye Valley Asparagus, Hand picked crab, chive buerre blanc, Oscietra caviar

Neil Ellis Wines, Whitehall Chardonnay, Elgin, South Africa 2021

Platinum, 97 points 
100% Chardonnay
An enrapturing sea breeze freshness cascades over a purity of ripe peach, zingy pineapple and lemon curd with a persistent tension of racy acidity. Unapologetically youthful and spirited with a moreish lemongrass infused finish. Exceptional. Alc 13%

Paired with Roast Orkney scallop, cauliflower purée, new season morels, wild garlic

Zuljan, Merlot, Goriška Brda, Primorska, Slovenia 2018

Gold, 95 points
100% Merlot
The pleasant aroma of herbs is accompanied by subtle earthy undertones. The taste is impeccably smooth and well-balanced, with gentle tannins and flavourful notes of blackcurrant and mint. Long, fruity finish. Alc 13.5%

Paired with Fillet of Aged Beef, stuffed Roscoff onion, field mushroom, red wine

Tenuta Villa Bellini, Centenarie, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, Italy 2016

Gold, 95 points 
79% Corvina, 18% Rondinella, 3% Corvinone
Classically beautiful with fresh flowers, red cherries and raspberries wrapped in a cloak of creamy vanilla oak and relaxing velvety tannins, with a long peppery finish. Alc 16%

Paired with Chocolate Tart, reduced milk ice cream, salted caramel, “100’s and 100’s

Estate Argyros, Vinsanto First Release, Santorini, Aegean Islands, Greece 2015

Best in Show, 97 points 
80% Assyrtiko, 10% Athiri, 10% Aïdani
Thanks to centuries of Venetian trading influence, the wines of Santorini were initially celebrated as strong and sweet (made from dried grapes), thus easily able to withstand the rigours of long sea journeys. Their adoption as the wine of the Eucharist by the Orthodox Church added to their lustre as a ‘vino santo’. This astonishing Assyrtico is a representative of this tradition. It’s a deep russet-walnut in colour, with waxy, incense-like aromas which almost seem to evoke the interior of Orthodox churches. The flavours are deep, dense and close-knit. The balance, too, is riveting – thanks to extravagant sugars (250 g/l), offset by the distinctive acid cut of Assyrtico and an oxidative, ‘rancio’ tang and tannic grip, the legacy of long wood-ageing processes. Classic Santorini salinity adds a further layer to this unique wine experience. Alc 13%

Paired with Petit fours

DWWA 2024 results will be announced Wednesday 19 June on Decanter.com

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