Out of the 18,094 wines tasted from 56 countries, only 50 – or 0.28% of the total tasted – were awarded a prestigious Best in Show medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021.
It was a year of firsts for countries, regions and wine styles at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards. The top 50 wines represent this, shining a spotlight on exciting, under-the-radar wines all over the wine world and highlighting exemplary favourites from top wine-producing countries, too.
Wines from 17 countries made this year’s Best in Show list, France dominating with 15 of the top 50. Though regions like Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône are well represented, DWWA 2021 included a first Best in Show medal for a ‘Vin Jaune’ – or ‘yellow wine’ – a speciality of the Jura region of eastern France, for Domaine Berthet-Bondet, Château-Chalon 2013.
“We were lucky enough to have a small but serious cohort of Vins Jaunes entered into this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards” commented the DWWA 2021 judges.
“From the moment when our judges came across this supremely articulate yet typically refined Chateau-Chalon, it was hard to hold it back. If you’ve never tried Vin Jaune, you couldn’t do better than begin with this 2013.”
Made from 100% Savagnin, not to be confused with Sauvignon Blanc, the variety again appears on the Best in Show list in nearby Switzerland, for wine cooperative St. Jodern Kellerei’s Heida Barrique 2019 from Valais.
Judges said in their notes on the wine, “Heida is the name used in the high Valais (or Wallis) for Savagnin, and our judges were very impressed by the range and expressive uniqueness of Swiss Savagnin this year.”
Italy was awarded seven Best in Show medals, including a first-ever win for a Prosecco, Castello, 47/87 Rive Di Vidor Extra Dry 2019, and a white wine from Friuli, Muzic winery’s Stare Brajde ‘Collio’ 2019. But, it also made the top 50 list for firm favourites from exemplary Barolo in Piedmont to ‘a splendid entry from Brunello di Montalcino’ as the tasting note attests.
In Portugal, a total of three Best in Show medals were awarded, including a Value Best in Show for Gandarada, Dão 2019. The DWWA 2021 judges commented, ‘There’s sensational value to be had in this wine for fans of Dao — though those who aren’t yet familiar with this granite-soiled zone of Northern Portugal should know that its pleasures are as much stern as playful.”
Further afield, in South America Argentina was awarded a Best in Show for Catena Zapata’s Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2019 from Mendoza and in Chile La Causa’s Cinsault-País-Carignan 2019 from Itata Valley was awarded this prestigious accolade.
Australia claimed two Best in Show awards this year for Calabria’s The Iconic Shiraz 2018 from Barossa Valley and Fermoy Estate’s Reserve Chardonnay 2019 from Margaret River.
The judges commented, “The role of Margaret River in helping define the expressive possibilities of Australian Chardonnay is a major one, and this profoundly maritime region with its amenable gravel and loam soils continues to make much of the pace in the Southern Hemisphere as a whole.”
Other Best in Show Chardonnay wines came from perhaps less expected countries including Canada’s Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 from Niagara Peninsula, Germany’s Fritz Wassmer Schlossberg Staufen Chardonnay 2018 from Baden and New Zealand’s Tohu Whenua Matua Chardonnay 2018 from Nelson.
Sarah Jane Evans MW, DWWA 2021 Co-Chair, 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.”
The DWWA 2021 Best in Show list continues with top-scoring and exemplary wines from across Spain, the US, South Africa, the UK, Georgia, Greece and Hungary.
See below for the full list of wines awarded a Best in Show medal at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards…
DWWA 2021 Best in Show wines
- Catena Zapata, Nicasia Vineyard Malbec, Paraje Altamira, Mendoza 2019
- Calabria, The Iconic Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia 2018
- Fermoy Estate, Reserve Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia 2019
- Hidden Bench, Felseck Vineyard Chardonnay, Beamsville Bench, Ontario – Niagara Peninsula 2018
- La Causa, Cinsault-País-Carignan, Itata Valley 2019
- Legras & Haas, L.T.S. Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne 2008
- Charles Heidsieck, Rosé Réserve, Champagne NV
- Domaine Berthet-Bondet, Château-Chalon, Jura 2013
- Domaine Christian Moreau, Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru, Burgundy 2019
- Albert Bichot, Domaine du Clos Frantin Les Malconsorts , Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Burgundy 2019
- Château de Meursault, Clos des Epenots, Pommard 1er Cru, Burgundy 2019
- Xavier Mourier, Domaine de Pierre Blanche Résurgence, Condrieu, Rhône 2019
- Janicot Vignobles, Domaine de Meriguet, Cahors, Southwest France 2018
- Mas de la Séranne, Antonin et Louis, Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc-Roussillon 2018
- Château de la Chapelle, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux 2018
- Château Croix des Rouzes, Pomerol, Bordeaux 2018
- Château Pierre-Bise, Savennières-Roche aux Moines, Loire 2018
- Domaine Charles Gonnet, Vin de Savoie Chignin-Bergeron, Savoie 2020
- LePlan-Vermeersch, RS, Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu, Rhône 2020
- Domaine Ray-Jane, Bandol, Provence 2020
- Fritz Wassmer, Schlossberg Staufen Chardonnay, Baden 2018
- Weingut Kreuzberg, Devonschiefer R Reserve Spätburgunder, Ahr 2018
- Kakhuri Gvinis Marani, Qvevri Cabernet-Saperavi, Kakheti 2019
- Tselepos, Canava Chrissou, Laoudia, Single Vineyard, Santorini, Aegean Islands 2018
- St. Andrea, Nagy-Eged Dűlő Grand Superior , Egri Bikavér, Eger 2017
- Castello, 47/87 Rive Di Vidor Extra Dry, Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive, Veneto 2019
- Casa Setaro, Fuocoallegro Piedirosso, Vesuvio, Campania 2019
- Diego Morra, Monvigliero, Barolo, Piedmont 2016
- Castiglion del Bosco, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016
- Muzic, Stare Brajde, Collio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2019
- Broglia, Derthona Timorasso, Colli Tortonesi, Piedmont 2018
- Capezzana, Riserva, Carmignano Vin Santo, Tuscany 2013
- Tohu, Whenua Matua Chardonnay , Upper Moutere, Nelson 2018
- Gandarada, Dão 2019
- Soalheiro, Primeiras Vinhas Alvarinho, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde 2019
- Henriques & Henriques, 20 Year Old Verdelho, Madeira NV
- Cederberg, Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon, Cederberg 2018
- Hacienda López de Haro, Classica, Gran Reserva, Rioja 2004
- Real Agrado, Las Planas Viura, Reserva, Rioja 2016
- Cuesta Del Herrero, Finca Aylés, Aylés 2020
- Mar de Ons, Albariño, Rías Baixas 2020
- Matilda Nieves, Mencía, Ribeira Sacra 2020
- Scala Dei, Heretge Carinyena, Priorat 2017
- Familia Torres, Grans Muralles, Conca de Barberà 2017
- La Conreria d’Scala Dei, Voltons, Priorat 2017
- Osborne, Solera AOS Rare, Amontillado, Sherry NV
- St. Jodern Kellerei, Heida Barrique, Wallis, Valais, Switzerland, 2018
- Squerryes, Late Disgorged Brut, Kent 2011
- Trefethen, Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, California 2018
- Hahn Family Wines, Lucienne Smith Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California 2018