Results from the world’s largest and most influential wine competition have been announced. A record year for the number of wines tasted, discover which wines won what at the 18th edition of the Decanter World Wine Awards
Quick links to DWWA 2021 results
- Search all Best in Show medals
- Search all Platinum medals
- Search all Gold medals
- Search all Silver medals
- Search all Bronze medals
The world’s largest wine competition saw its biggest year to date, with 18,094 wines tasted from 56 countries. Over 15 consecutive days in June, almost 170 expert wine judges, including 44 Masters of Wine and 11 Master Sommeliers, awarded 50 Best in Show, 179 Platinum, 635 Gold, 5,607 Silver and 8,332 Bronze medals.
Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 results – A year of firsts
Spain had a standout year, more than doubling its Best in Show medal count from the 2020 competition.
Nine of the competition’s top 50 Best in Show medals were awarded to wines from across the country including Rioja, Priorat, Rías Baixas, Sherry, Ribeira Sacra, Aylés and Conca de Barberà.
Of particular note, three of these were awarded ‘Value Best in Show,’ offering exceptional value at less than £15 a bottle:
- Cuesta Del Herrero, Finca Aylés, Aylés 2020
- Mar de Ons, Albariño, Rías Baixas 2020
- Matilda Nieves, Mencía, Ribeira Sacra 2020
- Search all results from Spain here
Moreover, only 14 wines in the entire competition were awarded 98 points, three of these from Spain: Hacienda López de Haro, Classica Gran Reserva, Rioja 2004, Osborne Solera AOS Rare Amontillado and Scala Dei, Heretge Carinyena, Priorat 2017.
Year after year, France dominates with Best in Show wins, and this year is no exception with 15 wines awarded this top accolade. But it was a year of firsts for some regions, notably Savoie and Jura which each won their first-ever Best in Show medals; the Jura also winning its first-ever Platinum:
- Domaine Charles Gonnet, Vin de Savoie Chignin-Bergeron 2020 (Best in Show)
- Domaine Berthet-Bondet Savagnin, Château-Chalon 2013 (Best in Show)
- Domaine Badoz, Vin Jaune, Côtes du Jura 2014 (Platinum)
Champagne once again demonstrated consistently high quality with two Best in Show, nine Platinum and 31 Gold medals awarded. Three Vintage Champagnes also scored 98 points:
- Champagne Legras & Haas, L.T.S. Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2008
- Palmer & Co, Brut 2012
- Piper-Heidsieck, Brut 2014
- Search all results from France here
On judging Champagne across seven days of the competition, Regional Chair Simon Field MW commented: “I was excited by the overall quality and also by the diversity on offer; we were treated to some superb wines from the magnificent 2012 vintage, just limbering up, and also from 2008, already recognized as a classic.
“There were also fascinating and rather unusual wines, not only from unsung regions such as the Côte des Bar, but also from the almost forgotten varietals, Pinot Blanc and Arbanne amongst them.”
More competition firsts hailed from Italy with the Friuli region receiving its first-ever Best in Show medal for Muzic’s Stare Brajde, Collio 2019 – a blend of Tocai Friulano, Malvasia Istriana and Ribolla Gialla.
Prosecco, too, received the competition’s top accolade – another first – for the ‘multi-faceted’ Castello 47/87 Rive Di Vidor Extra Dry Prosecco, reflecting the recent surge in Prosecco quality.
In total Italy won seven Best in Show medals, Tuscany taking the lead with 48 Gold medals, 14 Platinum and 2 Best in Show:
- Castiglion del Bosco, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016
- Capezzana, Riserva, Carmignano Vin Santo, Tuscany 2013
- Search all results from Italy here
Noteworthy & unexpected results
This year’s UK Best in Show medal was awarded to Squerryes, Late Disgorged Brut 2011 from Kent, demonstrating how UK sparkling wines can rival top cuvées around the world in terms of extended ageing. Alongside this, UK wines won two Platinum and nine Gold medals – two of these still wines from Kent-grown Bacchus and Pinot Noir Précoce from Wales. This was a first-ever Gold win for Wales, awarded to White Castle Vineyard’s ‘Pinot Noir Reserve’ 2018.
Pinot Noir also made headlines in the US, showing strong form in California and Oregon. The breadth of world-class wine regions on the West Coast was evident from Columbia Valley, Washington to Santa Lucia Highlands, California. On the East Coast, New York winery RGNY impressed, winning Gold for its Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon 2019 blend from the North Fork of Long Island AVA.
Germany had a record-breaking year with results highlighting world-class Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Chardonnay.
In their tasting notes, DWWA judges commented: “Is it possible that Germany’s future might begin to look (as the world’s climate-change challenge grows) a little more Burgundian?
“We have to ask the question this year, as the two German wines making it into our top 50 Best in Show selection are not classic Rieslings, but a Chardonnay from Baden and a Pinot from the Ahr.”
Chardonnay made headlines in Canada, too, with Niagara Peninsula winery Hidden Bench winning a Best in Show medal for its Felseck Vineyard Chardonnay 2018.
Further afield, wines from Japan won two Platinum and four Gold medals. China also received four Golds and one Platinum medal, with record-breaking results for overall medals awarded.
Russia won its second ever Platinum medal for a Saperavi-Syrah blend, and a first for Ukraine, two wines received Gold medals for varietal Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc.
Southern Hemisphere highlights
South Africa doubled its Platinum medal haul at DWWA 2021 with nine wines from across the Western Cape receiving 97 points, including a Chenin Blanc and a Pinotage, representing both of South Africa’s signature grapes at this high level. In addition, the country received 39 Gold medals and one Best in Show for Cederberg’s Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 which thrilled judges with its freshness, purity and length.
Some Best in Show awards went to lesser-known styles from top producer nations. New Zealand is renowned for Sauvignon Blanc, but it was Tohu’s ‘Whenua Matua’ Chardonnay 2018 from Nelson that won a Best in Show medal, and varietal Syrah and Pinot Noir winning the country’s three Platinum medals.
Chile’s La Causa, Cinsault-País-Carignan 2019 from Itata Valley also received this top accolade and is the country’s first Best in Show medal since 2017.
In Argentina, red wines impressed with Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Tannat and Malbec blends awarded the country’s top accolades with six Platinum and one Best in Show.
Australia once again showed strength in depth with top medals awarded to all styles of wine from sparkling to fortified with Morris’ Old Premium Rare Topaque from Rutherglen, Victoria receiving 98 points and Best in Show medals awarded to a Margaret River Chardonnay and Barossa Valley Shiraz.
Elsewhere, noteworthy highlights come from Uruguay and Brazil, each receiving a Gold medal for wines from less likely grape varieties: Albariño from Uruguay and Sangiovese from Brazil.
Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW said of the results, “You know that this is something that’s been through a really rigorous judging process. We’re not playing at judging here. This is blind tasting. We have absolutely no idea what the wines are and we’re tasting them not only in panels together where we have to each discuss and think about them deeply, but then they go up to Regional Chairs who are experts in those countries.”
She added, “It’s a very, very rigorous process, but it highlights fabulous wines at the end of it.”
Andrew Jefford, also a DWWA Co-Chair, said, “DWWA is the world’s leading wine competition. I’m absolutely thrilled to take part in it every year because having tasted in a number of other competitions I know how well it’s organised, how carefully everything is done. So if you get a medal from DWWA it really is worth having and is respected internationally. We get entries from every corner of the wine world, so it is as it were the closest you can get to a universal benchmark.”
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