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IWC awards English red gold for the first time

Published:  28 November, 2019

Kent’s Hush Heath has been awarded a gold medal by the International Wine Challenge (IWC) for its The Red Miller 2018 red wine, marking the first time an English red has claimed the top award.

The limited-edition red, of which only 5,000 bottles were produced, was made as part of Hush Heath’s Winemakers’ Collection and is made with 100% Pinot Meunier - a grape rarely seen as a key component in still red.

The wine, described as “skilfully created” from a single plot of “exceptionally ripe Pinot Meunier”, had benefitted from a textbook summer in terms of growing conditions resulting in a “supremely elegant wine that charmed the judges”, said the IWC.

“We’re thrilled to be able to award England its first IWC Gold medal for a red wine. England has been gaining attention for its sparkling wines for some time, so it’s great to see a broader range of wines on the radar,” said IWC competition director Chris Ashton.

Owen Elias, a consultant at Hush Heath, said: “Pinot Meunier is rarely seen as a still red anywhere in the world. Here we have a delicate and aromatic wine which will be extremely interesting as it develops over the next two years."

Two English sparkling wines also gained gold medals, coming just behind France which received three, with Hampshire’s Hattingley Valley awarded gold for its Hattingley Valley Rosé 2015 and Sussex’s Oxney Organic Estate awarded gold for its Oxney Classic 2016.

England came in third overall in the medals table for sparkling wine, achieving 26 medals, placing it behind sparkling wine nations France and Italy.

“Kent in particular led the way with its still wines, while Hampshire and Sussex carried the torch for the sparkling wines,” said Ashton.

IWC co-chair Charles Metcalfe added: “England is now a really serious wine country, with tremendous sparkling wines and increasingly good whites. And with judges from all over the world assessing the wines, these results show that English wines are competing brilliantly on a truly international scale.”

Of the total 47 medals England won, Sussex, Kent and Hampshire were the top performing regions, with the former leading the way with 13 medals, while Hampshire maintained its reputation for quality sparkling wine, achieving seven medals.

Kent scooped up 9 medals in total, 6 of which were for still wines.