World's best wines line up for International test
Published:  27 August, 2008

The International Wine Challenge, which celebrates its 24th anniversary as the largest blind tasting in the world, attracted 9,358 entries this year.

It took 465 winemakers, merchants and writers, alongside a panel of more than 40 Masters of Wine from around the world, two weeks to judge this prestigious competition. Up to 1,500 wines were assessed daily.

The nine top wines were revealed at a glittering awards dinner in London.

Arguably the biggest winner was New Zealand's Bald Hills Vineyard, which picked up two of the coveted Champion Trophies (Champion Red and Champion Sustainable). The latter was one of three Champion awards introduced this year as part of the IWC Planet Earth Awards , which honour producers who have made a commitment to the environment.

The other green winners were Hans Tschida Sämling Trockenbeerenauslese 2005 from Austria (Champion Organic) and Champagne Fleury Millésime 1996 (Champion Biodynamic).

Also new this year was the Champion Sake Trophy, which went to Tsurunosato 2005 from Kikuhime & Co - one of more than 200 sake entries this year.

The IWC also honoured some of the trade's best-loved and most respected figures. Bordeaux negociant and producer Jean-Marie Chadronnier was handed a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Chilean biodynamic pioneer Alvaro Espinosa was declared IWC Personality of the Year.

Other Champions were: Beaune Clos des Mouches Premier Cru 2005, Chanson Père et Fils, France (White); Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1981, Champagne P&C Heidsieck, France (Sparkling and Daniel Thibault Trophy); Vin Santo di Capezzana 2000, Capezzana, Italy (Sweet); and Lustau Almacenista Fino del Puerto Cuesta, Emilio Lustau, Spain (Fortified).

Barolo Essenze 2001, Terre de Vino won the James Rogers Trophy for best wine in its first year of production.

Francisco Albuquerque, winemaker for The Madeira Wine Company, scooped the Len Evans Trophy for ­consistency over the past five years.

For the full list of results visit: