Chatting with Steven Spurrier about the 2011 Decanter Wine Awards

The winners of the 2011 Decanter Wine Awards were announced at the recent London International Wine Fair. I’ve always been vaguely aware of the awards but never really paid much attention to them, I must admit. Oh sure, I would register the Decanter stickers on wine bottles in the shops but it never influenced my buying decisions in any significant way. That is until I¬† got the chance to chat with founder of the awards, Steven Spurrier at the LIWF. What I found was that the awards were not devised as some sort of wine trade accolade but were begun as a way for consumers to be assured they were buying quality wines in the marketplace. Steven pointed out that Decanter is a consumer magazine so it only makes sense that they give out awards that reward not only quality and value for money but also flag wines that might otherwise be overlooked. They look for wines that are the “new kids on the block” and so would be of excellent quality and good value for money at the same time. He sees the awards as the “engine that powers the wine trade, (the awards) are the engine room of the wine trade ship.”I asked him what were the surprises of this years awards and he was very enthusiastic about China (“…they’ve got 5000 years of history, it’s no fluke that they got a gold medal this year, they deserved it”), India (“getting better but no gold medal yet…”) and Thailand and Cambodia (…”extraordinary wine culture. The awards are here to recognize quality at any stage of the game…”). I’d like to point out that I tasted and wrote about the Thai winery GranMonte¬† a few months ago when I had the pleasure of trying their wines during Bordeaxu en primeur. Their wines won 2 silvers, 1 bronze and 1 commendation in the 2011 Decanter Awards. It won’t be long now before winemaker Nikki Lohitnavy gets a gold, I think. This year Decanter received...

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