After a month of judging, the long-anticipated results of the 17th edition of the Decanter World Wine Awards are out now. Discover which wines have been awarded what in the 2020 competition.
Quick links: Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 results
Over 28 consecutive days in August, 116 of the world’s top wine experts, including 37 Masters of Wine and nine Master Sommeliers, blind tasted 16,518 wines under strict Covid safety guidelines, resulting in 50 Best in Show, 178 Platinum, 537 Gold, 5,234 Silver and 7,508 Bronze medals.
Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 results
France secured 12 of the competition’s top 50 Best in Show medals with wines from Bordeaux, Champagne, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence and the Loire. Bordeaux did notably well with three Best in Show wines, two being Value Best in Show:
- Château Bellevue-Cardon, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France 2015
- Château Rauzan-Gassies, L’Orme de Rauzan-Gassies, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2016 – Value Best in Show
- Château Lacombe Cadiot, Bordeaux Supérieur, Bordeaux, France 2019 – Value Best in Show
- Search all results from France here
On judging, acting Regional Chair for Bordeaux Andrew Jefford commented, ‘We’ve found lots of exciting wines and have been lucky enough to inherit some of the first 2019s come through into retail. At the same time, we’ve had good vintages like 2018 in a bigger, more opulent style, as well as very well balanced 2016s. We saw plenty of wines from those three vintages. Overall it’s a very exciting year for Bordeaux.’
Champagne also received three of the competition’s top accolade – Champagne Rare winning two Best in Show medals for the Rosé Brut 2008 and Brut 2006 – the Brut being just one of five wines to receive 98 points from the entire competition – and Taillet’s Sur le Grand Marais Brut Nature NV also receiving a Best in Show medal; only a mere 0.3% of all wines tasted were awarded this top accolade.
Italy demonstrated its breadth of quality wine production with a total of 2,765 medals awarded, and followed France with eight Best in Show medals from Piedmont, Trentinto-Alto Adige, Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily – a number of these produced with lesser-known grape varieties including Lagrein, Kerner, Carricante and Sagrantino:
- K.Martini & Sohn, Maturum Riserva Lagrein, Alto Adige / Südtirol, Italy 2017
- Cantina Valle Isarco, Aristos Kerner, Alto Adige Valle Isarco, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy 2018
- Barone di Villagrande, Contrada Villagrande Superiore, Etna, Sicily, Italy 2017
- Moretti Omero, Sagrantino di Montefalco, Umbria, Italy 2016
- Search all results from Italy here
Regional Chair for Southern Italy, Anthony Rose stated, ‘When you look at Italy as a whole it is extraordinary – it’s the most diverse wine country in the world actually, even more so than France, and that gives you an opportunity I think to look at an astonishing array of different styles.’
Vincenzo Arnese, DWWA 2020 judge added, ‘This is my fourth year judging wines from Italy and I’ve really found an improvement on the overall quality of the wines. It’s become even more interesting every year because we have wines that are more challenging, and a little bit more pleasant to try as well.‘
Australia, closely behind Italy, received six Best in Show medals and 17 Platinum medals. Shiraz and Shiraz-dominant blends made up almost half of Australia’s total award-winning wines, with top performing examples coming from South Australia’s Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and Eden Valley. Half of Australia’s Best in Show medals were awarded to Shiraz from South Australia including:
- Gatt, Old Vine Single Vineyard Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia 2014
- Mr. Riggs, Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia 2017
- Anderson Hill, O Series Shiraz, Lenswood (Adelaide Hills), South Australia 2018
- Search all results from Australia here
Neighbouring New Zealand also received a Best in Show medal for Yealands Single Block L5 Sauvignon Blanc 2019 from Marlborough – the only Sauvignon Blanc to be awarded a Best in Show medal in the 2020 competition.
Rebecca Gibb MW, DWWA 2020 Regional Chair for New Zealand commented, ‘I think the thing that tasting New Zealand wines over four days underlines is that Central Otago continues to make great Pinot Noir, New Zealand makes excellent Chardonnay that continues to be underrated, and that Sauvignon Blanc is obviously New Zealand’s calling card.’
Moldova, whose historic wines are now starting to make their way onto the global stage, received two Best in Show medals for Asconi Winery’s Sol Begru Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2019 and Pucari’s Viorica de Purcari 2019, made with 100% Viorica, an indigenous white grape variety.
Regional Chair for North, Central & Eastern Europe, Beth Willard commented, ‘I think that there’s an overall improvement in the quality of the flights overall, mainly because the wines are really balanced and fresh, but showing incredible varietal character so that’s really exciting.
‘It’s really great to see some of the reds from Eastern Europe, so countries like Moldova, Romania and Hungary, showing a lot more freshness and really great quality oak. The wines are a lot more balanced, so we’ve had some standout wines from those regions.’
Georgia yet again received a Best in Show medal for Teliani Valley’s Glekhuri Rkatsiteli Qvevri from Kakheti, this year for the 2018 vintage, alongside two Platinum medals and three Gold.
After winning just one Bronze last year, Bolivia received four Silver medals for varietal wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Tannat. Red wines from Israel also performed well, doubling its number of Gold medals from three in 2019 to six in 2020, a majority from the Judean Hills.
Serbia received its first Platinum medal since the 2014 competition, plus three Gold and 26 Silver medals while Croatia also received three Platinum medals following two years without.
Relatively small, cool climate wine-producing regions, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg were each awarded more medals than previous years with improving results. The Czech Republic was awarded two Platinum medals, both receiving 97 points, for wines made from Riesling, as well as four Gold medals. Luxembourg received two Gold medals, both medium dry Rieslings from the Mosselle region, and five Silver medals for white still and sparkling wines.
More noteworthy highlights
Portugal received the fourth highest number of Best in Show medals from the competition with five wines placing in the top 50, followed by Spain with four Best in Show wins. Long-aged fortified wines greatly impressed with Justino’s Terrantez 50 Year Old NV from Madeira, Cálem’s Cohheita 1961 and Vista Alegre’s 40 Year Old Tawny NV from Port receiving the majority of Best in Show medals from Portugal, and both Lustau’s 30 Years Old V.O.R.S. Oloroso and 30 Years Old V.O.R.S. Pedro Ximenez from Spain making up half the total of Best in Show awards from Spain. Of note, Spain was awarded an impressive 20 Platinum medals.
The UK shows no signs of slowing down with two wines awarded the top accolade of Best in Show. In West Sussex, Roebuck Estate won for its Classic Cuvée Brut 2014, and Simpsons’ The Roman Road Chardonnay 2018 received its first Best in Show after being awarded a Silver last year for the 2017 vintage. In addition, three Platinum medals were awarded to sparkling wines from Kent and Hampshire alongside five Golds, including a still Chardonnay, three sparkling wines and a botrytised sweet wine made from Ortega, a Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe cross of German decent.
The USA was awarded three Best in Show medals (one more than last year), as well as one Platinum and 16 Gold medals. In the Napa Valley, 2017 might be most remembered for the October wildfires that ravaged Northern California, but the quality and character of some wines from this vintage tell a different story, with two of the top three wines from the USA coming from Napa Valley’s 2017 vintage: Alpha Omega’s ERA 2017 and Trefethen’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. Representing the Pacific Northwest, Oregon’s Domaine Serene, Mark Bradford Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 from the Dundee Hills also received a place in the top 50 Best in Show.
Representing South America, Argentina received the continent’s only Best in Show medal. Though the main producing country of Malbec, evident from Argentina’s 10 Platinum medals – eight of which being Malbec or Malbec blends, and the country’s most Platinum medals to date – this year’s Best in Show wine was awarded to Colomé’s Lot Especial Tannat 2018 from Salta.
China continues to build on previous successes, receiving a total of 120 medals. Icewine performed particularly well with Ji’an City Baite’s Manor Icewine 2016 from Jilin awarded China’s sole Platinum medal in the 2020 competition.
Greece picked up 259 medals, 61% of which were awarded to white wines, including one Best in Show for Estate Argyos’ Cuvée Evdemon 2016 from Santorini, five Platinum medals and ten Gold. Greece’s award-winning wines were primarily produced with indigenous white grape varieties, including the highly prized Assyrtiko as well as lesser-known varieties such as Vidiano and Malagousia.
South Africa‘s overall medal results were up 16% as compared to 2019 and 2018 with one Best in Show for Rustenberg’s Five Soldiers Chardonnay 2018 from Stellenbosch, plus four Platinum and 31 Gold medals.
South Korea entered the 2020 awards for the first time, as did Indonesia, which received a Silver medal for a dry Muscat and two Bronze medals for sparkling wines.
With special thanks to our sponsor
The DWWA could not work without support from our key sponsor. A big thank you to Riedel for supplying glassware for the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards.