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Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019 winners announced

See all award-winning wines from the 2019 Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Asia’s most prestigious and trusted wine competition

A total of 3,155 wines from 34 countries were tasted in Hong Kong at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019 (DAWA 2019). Since the competition launched in 2012, this is only the second time that 20 wines have been awarded ‘Best in Show’ – the competition’s highest accolade – making up a mere 0.6% of all wines tasted.

Wines from Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the USA all secured the prestigious Best in Show medal alongside two wines from Georgia and one from Greece.

Full DAWA 2019 results were published on Decanter.com today (30 September).

Search all Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019 results here

See Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019 results by medal:

All DAWA 2019 results include wine tasting notes and stockist information on where to buy the award-winning wines across Asia, where possible.

This year’s competition was judged by 56 wine experts, including Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine, from 14 countries, many based in Asia.

One of the seven DAWA 2019 vice-chairs and first Asian Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee said,

“There are three unique aspects of DAWA that I see in Asia that other competitions do not have. One is the level of professionalism and the attention to detail about the conditions, the pace and the way that the wines are served, poured and judged. Two is really the high professionalism of the judges, and this has been for the past eight years. It’s always been one of the stringent requirements so it’s a very special thing for all the judges to gather here together. The third thing is the diversity of wines that we see in Hong Kong. There are a few other wine competitions but none come as close to having the extensive range of wines and levels. I think it’s really the best competition out there in Asia.

DAWA 2019 Jeannie Cho Lee MW

Jeannie Cho Lee MW during DAWA 2019 judging week

DAWA 2019 Results

Australia and France shared the limelight for the most Best in Show wins, each securing five medals for this top accolade.

DWWA 2019 vice-chair Michael Hill Smith MW commented, “Australia has always been strong here, it’s always done well here, but it’s also exciting to see the rise of China and other wines and that’s part of the fun of doing wine competitions like this.”

China noticeably improved from the 2018 competition with more entries from more wine regions, and an increase in overall medals won, including a 10% increase in Silver medals. This year two wines received Gold medals – a Marselan from Ningxia and intriguingly, a Vidal icewine from Liaoning.

Less anticipated, Georgia and Greece both secured top spots in the Best in Show category. Georgia impressed with two Best in Show award-winning wines from lesser-known grape varieties Saperavi and Kisi and Greece equally enthralled with a Shiraz Viognier blend from Evia in Central Greece.

India made headlines with a first-ever DAWA Gold medal win for Grover Zampa’s 2018 Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection Viognier from Maharashtra. Judges described this as, “How Viognier should taste! Deliciously spicy with concentrated ripe fruit flavours and a viscous, rounded texture. Lush and long with a bittersweet edge to the finish.” Four wines were awarded Silver medals and seven Bronze from India – an increase from a total of just seven award-winning wines last year.

Aligning with positive results from the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards, the UK also received its first-ever Gold win at DAWA for Nyetimber’s 2013 Blanc de Blancs.

Japan impressed with a Gold medal win for Ajimu’s 2017 Chardonnay Extra Brut sparkling wine. Not only is this Japan’s first DAWA Gold medal since 2015, it is also the only award-winning wine from this year’s competition to come from Kyushu; the 14 other Japanese medal winners are all from the Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures.

While Spain did not win a Best in Show medal last year, this year made up for it with three wines winning this top accolade – including two from Ribera del Duero and one from Jerez. Tempranillo did notably well, with more than 100 Spanish wines made from the variety winning a medal in this year’s competition. As DWWA 2019 vice-chair Andrew Jefford attested, “This year’s DAWA was a great one for Spain’s Tempranillo, as a look at our other Gold and Platinum medals will confirm: we had ample, multi-region Tempranillo choice as we came to pick our top twenty Best in Show.”

Italy received two top accolades for Best in Show with wines from Trentino-Alto Adige and Tuscany. Cantina Bolzano’s Best in Show win for the 2016 Prestige Line Lagrein Riserva from Alto Adige received particularly high praise from Andrew Jefford who commented, “Lists of Northern Italy’s greatest grape varieties often unaccountably omit Lagrein, yet one look, sniff and taste of this midnight-dark wine will send drinkers scrambling to reassess their priorities. This Alto Adige star shows that Italy’s Alpine corridor can compete on level terms with Piedmont, Lombardy and Collio.”

The USA made an appearance on the Best in Show list for Darioush’s 2016 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

Portugal also received this top accolade with Henriques & Henriques’ 2001 Sercial from Madeira.

Read more about the 2019 Chinese medal winners on DecanterChina.com

About DAWA Judging Week

All wines are judged blind in organised flights and each wine is discussed on an individual basis by the panel

Judging took place in Hong Kong and ran from 03 – 06 September.

Seven vice-chairs oversaw this year’s competition. The chairmanship included returning vice-chairs Li Demei, Andrew JeffordMichael Hill-Smith MW, Poh Tiong Ch’ngSarah Jane Evans MWJeannie Cho Lee MW and new DAWA 2019 vice-chair, Hiroshi Ishida.

Six new judges joined this year’s judging panel, made up of more than 50 top wine experts from across Asia and beyond. New DAWA 2019 judges included Darius Allyn MS, Jacky Luk, Derek Li, Alan Tse, Wataru Iwata and Andrea Martinisi. Many judges work at top restaurant and drinks establishments in Asia.

See what happened at DAWA 2019 Judging Week

How the wines are tasted

Wines are organised for tasting by country, region, colour, grape, style and vintage to ensure that they are judged in flights against their peers.

Medal categories correspond to the 100-point scoring system used by Decanter and many top wine critics around the world.

After competing for bronze, silver, and gold medals, the gold medalists are re-categorised by grape or style and re-tasted by a panel consisting of vice-chairs. The wines are judged according to their origin and the judges will be aware of countries, regions, sub-regions, grapes and vintage. A platinum medal is awarded to the best wines in each category.

Best in Show is the ultimate accolade at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. In a separate tasting, the vice-chairs will select the ‘Best in Show’ from the Platinum winners. The vice-chairs will be aware of the origins, grapes and vintages of the wines they are tasting, but not the name of the wine or producer.

Asia-based wine lovers will have the chance to try this year’s winning wines at several events this winter including the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter on 16 November.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019 was kindly sponsored by:

Aqua Panna

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