As part of the rigorous DWWA judging process, Platinum and Best in Show wines are tasted at least four times before being awarded these top accolades.
Of the 18,094 wines judged at the 2021 competition, just 179 were awarded a Platinum medal, making up .99% of those tasted.
France claimed 38 Platinum medals, an impressive 21% of those awarded, and an increase from the 34 won in 2020.
Champagne received the most Platinum medals with nine wines awarded, followed by Burgundy with seven and the Rhône with five.
Jura received its first-ever Platinum medal and Beaujolais, too, saw new success with two wines awarded a Platinum medal – a first for the region since the 2016 competition.
- Château de la Terrière, Tradition, Brouilly, Beaujolais 2019
- Georges Duboeuf, Domaine des Quatre Vents, Fleurie, Beaujolais 2019
- Domaine Badoz, Vin Jaune, Côtes du Jura 2014
- Search all Platinum medals from France here
Narrowly behind France, Italy received 36 Platinum medals – 14 of these to wines from Tuscany.
The Veneto had a strong year too with eight wines awarded this top accolade, including seven red wines from Valpolicella and one to Andreola’s Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze 2020, the second-ever Prosecco to win a Platinum medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Moving central and south, Liguria and Sicily received two Platinum medals each and Le Marche, Campania and Sardinia one. Of note, Sardinia’s Platinum win was for Cantina Santadi’s Festa Norìa, a red fortified wine made from 100% Cannonau, the local name for Grenache.
- Lunae Bosoni, Cavagino Vermentino, Colli di Luni, Liguria 2019
- Cantina Federici, Sarticola Vermentino, Colli di Luni, Liguria 2020
- Cristo di Campobello, Laudàri Chardonnay, Sicily 2019
- Donnafugata, Ben Ryé, Passito di Pantelleria, Sicily 2018
- Cantine Belisario, Cambrugiano, Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva, Le Marche 2017
- Terre di Petrara, Taurasi, Campania 2016
- Search all Platinum medals from Italy here
Spain had a standout year with 20 wines awarded a Platinum medal from Catalunya, Rías Baixas, Rioja, Cigales, Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Sherry and beyond.
Sarah Jane Evans MW, DWWA Co-Chair and Regional Chair for Spain commented: ‘It’s one of the most exciting countries to judge because you really do get a bit of everything. What I find exciting about Spain is if you ask anyone about the country’s wines they’ll tell you about Rioja, maybe Sherry and then possibly Ribera del Duero.
‘But the really great thing about being a judge for Spain is that you also get these delicate reds from Bierzo and Galicia, then Albariño from Rias Baixas, lovely Garnacha Blancas from Catalunya and all kinds of other exciting styles that pop up.’
Rioja and Sherry received four Platinum medals each, and two Value Platinums were awarded to wines offering exceptional value at less than £15 a bottle:
- Hiruzta, Hondarrabi Zuri, Txacolí de Getaria 2020
- Bodegas Santa Rufina, Viña Rufina Tempranillo, Cigales 2019
- Search all Platinum medals from Spain here
Two aged white wines from the 2015 vintage also made the list for Quatro Rayas, Amador Diez Verdejo from Rueda and Paco & Lola, Vintage Albariño from Rías Baixas – ‘A really elegant and complex example that could age further,’ the judges commented.
The Platinum medal count continues with Portugal receiving 13 medals, Australia receiving 12, South Africa awarded nine and Argentina, Greece and the US tying with 6 medals each.
Platinum medals: Noteworthy highlights
Two Yamanashi wines made from Japan’s native Koshu grape won the country’s Platinum medals – Lumière, Hikari Barrel Fermented Koshu 2018 and Shirayuri Winery, L’Orient Katsunuma Koshu 2019.
Afip A8 Chardonnay 2018 from Château Changyu won a Platinum medal in this year’s competition, the highest award won so far by Chinese dry white wines in the history of the Decanter World Wine Awards.
New Zealand, Canada, Chile and Croatia were awarded three Platinum medals each, New Zealand standing out with all three medals awarded to red wines from Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago; two of these being Syrah.
Russia won its second-ever Platinum medal – a Value Platinum at less than £15 a bottle – for Shumrinka, Semisam Saperavi-Syrah 2018 from Krasnodar. The DWWA judges noted its ‘stunningly deep colour… that over delivers on the palate with intense, supple fruit.’
Israel too received a Platinum medal for a red blend from Nachmani Winery, described as ‘very Bordeaux-esque… with a really concentrated fruit core’
The DWWA judges were very impressed by the range and expressive uniqueness of Swiss Savagnin this year, with Les Hutins, Gentil Premier Cru, Coteaux de Dardagny, Geneva 2018 winning the country’s sole Platinum medal. Made from 100% Savagnin, the award-winning wine was described as ‘deep, vivid and complex.’
More Platinum medals were awarded to wines from Germany, the UK, Georgia and Slovenia.
Acting Co-Chair Ronan Sayburn MS said of judging, ‘A wine has to have typicity… [when judging] we think about things like balance; it’s got to have great length and show characteristics of the grape variety… To go the extra mile, it’s things like the finesse, the elegance, the balance, the winemaking, that we look for.’
He added, ‘[DWWA] is the most prestigious wine awards, so as a producer if you want to be anywhere, you want to be at Decanter.’