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‘Landmark’ year for Decanter World Wine Awards as judging begins

Thousands of wines will be put through their paces this week by expert tasters from around the world as part of judging for the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards, which began in London this morning.

DWWA chairman Steven Spurrier addresses this year’s judges, flanked by the competition’s renowned ‘red shirts’

More than 200 judges will descend on London’s Tobacco Dock today (28 April) to begin the week-long process of deciding which wines will go on to win bronze, silver and gold medals, plus the coveted regional and international trophies.

With more than 15,000 entries from dozens of countries, this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) has been hailed as a ‘landmark year’ by Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp.

‘It marks a resounding vote of confidence from the international wine trade for the professionalism of the competition,’ she said this morning in an opening speech to judges. ‘We are now in our 11th year, and every year we have seen an increase in entries.

‘We understand that every wine tasted is somebody’s year of work. We take great pride and care to ensure that we only recruit the most experienced and best judges in the world, and that we give them sufficient time and space to make a considered and thorough examination.’

Judges are assigned to different wine regions depending upon their expertise.

There are several new faces in the judging line-up for 2014. Jasper Morris MW, author of Inside Burgundy and buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd, is this year’s regional chair for Burgundy, while Richard Juhlin has been appointed regional chair for Champagne.

Other new regional chairs for 2014 include Paolo Basso, named best sommelier in the world this year, who will oversee entries from Piedmont. Master Sommelier Isa Bal is another new name and will cover the Southern & Eastern Mediterranean region, which is often dominated by Turkey.

Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier chairs the awards, with Gerard Basset OBE MS MW as guest vice-chair.

Offering advice to judges on Monday morning, Spurrier said, ‘Ask yourself whether it’s a good wine, rather than “do I like this wine”.’

Click here to view live updates from DWWA 2014 judging week.

Click here to read more about this year’s awards at the dedicated DWWA website.

Click here to read interviews with judges at this year’s competition.

Written by Decanter.com staff

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