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Coates & Seely Crowned Supreme Champion in First UK Wine Awards

May 31st, 2017


• UK Wine Awards takes national wine competition to a new level
• High-profile sponsors - Waitrose, Hotel du Vin & Country Life
• Winners announced during English Wine Week

With English Wine Week in full flow, there’s another good reason to celebrate (English wine) as the results of the inaugural UK Wine Awards are revealed today (Wednesday 31st May).

Hampshire-based Coates & Seely proved the stand-out producer, winning the coveted ‘Supreme Champion’ for its ‘La Perfide’ Blanc de Blancs 2009 amongst other trophies.

The UK Wine Awards were developed by the UK Wine industry (English Wine Producers and the UK Vineyards Association), in partnership with Hotel du Vin, Country Life and Waitrose, to celebrate the impressive achievements of English and Welsh wines.

The wines were judged to international standards by 12 top wine experts that regularly judge the biggest international competitions. Chaired by Susie Barrie MW and Oz Clarke the line-up comprised Masters of Wine David Bird, Richard Hemming, Alex Hunt and Phil Tuck, as well as Christine Parkinson from Hakkasan, Rebecca Hull MW from Waitrose and Hamish Anderson from Tate restaurants. They were joined by writer and broadcaster Jane Parkinson, M&S wine buyer Elizabeth Kelly and Corney & Barrow buyer Rebecca Palmer.

The Awards received an incredible 293 entries from across the UK, with 20 gold, 36 silver and 127 Bronze medals awarded to winning wines. Top performers ranged from different regions and included Coates & Seely, Bolney Wine Estate, Lyme Bay Winery and Digby Fine Wine who all won trophies for the following classes:

Supreme Champion, sponsored by Hotel du Vin:
Coates & Seely La Perfide Blanc De Blancs 2009
RRP – £65.00
Judges comment: “Fabulously elegant and refined with the seductive toasted brioche and honey notes from age.”

Best Overall Still Wine, sponsored by Rankin Brothers & Son:
Bolney Wine Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016
RRP – £18.99
Judges comment: “A delightful example of Pinot Gris; pure, expressive, and fragrant with notes of honeysuckle and spiced pear.”

Best Overall Sparkling Wine, sponsored by Croxsons:
Coates & Seely La Perfide Blanc De Blancs 2009

Best Sparkling Blanc de Blancs, sponsored by Close Bros Brewery Rentals:
Coates & Seely La Perfide Blanc de Blancs 2009

Best Sparkling Rosé, sponsored by Tubex:
Coates & Seely Rosé 2009
RRP – £65.00
Judges comment: “From its antique gold colour to its rich sour cherry and truffle flavours, this is a graceful, mature rosé to sip and savour.”

Best Classic Cuvée sparkling wine, sponsored by Henderson Insurance:
Digby Fine English Brut 2010
RRP – £39.99
Judges comment: “A great vintage and a seriously classy wine that offers a compelling mouthful of white peach, honey and freshly baked bread.”

Best Still Bacchus, sponsored by Rankin Brothers & Son:
Lyme Bay Bacchus Block 2015
RRP – £15.89
Judges comment: “Packed with zesty lime, fennel and elderflower flavours, this is English Bacchus at its refreshing best.”

Best Single Varietal Still White, sponsored by MHA Carpenter Box:
Bolney Wine Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016

Gold medal winners included a mix of large, well-established producers to smaller vineyards and new entrants. It was, however, Hampshire-based Coates & Seely that proved the stand-out producer, taking home four of the eight trophies.

The company was founded in 2009 by Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely with the aim of bringing together the finest traditions of French winemaking craftsmanship with the glory of the English terroir.

Coates & Seely’s sparkling wines are fast gaining a reputation for excellence, enjoying significant demand from the royal palaces. Its reputation is growing abroad, too - Coates & Seely currently exports about 25% of its wines overseas, and is even listed in Paris’s iconic George V hotel.

Chair of Judges, Susie Barrie MW commented:
“We’ve all witnessed the stratospheric rise in popularity of UK wines on the global stage in recent years, and we now have a contemporary competition judged to international standards to reward the best of the best.
“From the bigger, established producers right through to new estates launching their first vintage, we tasted a host of world-class, medal-worthy wines. The Blanc de Blancs category was particularly impressive, as was sparkling rosé, but there were some lovely surprises from Pinot Gris, and the Pinot Noirs undoubtedly show early signs of greatness too.

She added, “What an exciting time for UK wine.”

Oz Clarke added, “We set the bar high with these awards, to show the true value of this competition and what it has set out to do, and we are proud that we did. The winners are the epitome of the talent that lies in the winelands of the UK – and the range of winners shows just what extraordinary directions this industry is going in.
“Isn’t it brilliant that a producer as long established as Coates & Seely has shown the ongoing excellence of its wines? Hampshire terroir at its finest – ably backed up by ever-successful Kent and Sussex, and Cornwall weighing in from the Golden West.”

• 293 wines were entered
• 62% of these won medals, in keeping with the proportion of well-established international competitions
• Eight wine trophies were awarded
• 20 Gold, 36 Silver and 127 Bronze medals were awarded

What the Awards can tell us about English and Welsh wines:

English sparkling wines are particularly successful. Though only 42% of the wines entered were sparkling, 75% of gold medal winners were sparkling wines, as were 67% of the silvers

Chardonnay is the dominant grape variety in terms of wins, gaining six of the 20 golds and 50 medals overall for still and sparkling wine

Pinot Noir also proved a successful variety in England and Wales, winning 42 medals overall

The most popular still variety remains Bacchus, England’s third most planted variety (after Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), gaining just under a third of the total medals won by still wines

Pinot Gris is an emerging variety in England, winning golds for a still and a sparkling

• Medal winners were a mix of established and new producers, showing that even from the first vintage wine, some excellent wines are being produced in the UK

• The same can be said for the number of established producers that are proving time and again that the quality of their wines is consistent

A wine that has seen more ageing has proven to be the overall winner – this shows the ageing potential in English sparkling wine