Home Industry News Releases US Wines Hit New Highs at Decanter World Wine Awards 2023

US Wines Hit New Highs at Decanter World Wine Awards 2023

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Oregon Pinot Noir claims Best in Show award, Washington State secures top spot after decade hiatus, plus a first Platinum medal for US Sauvignon Blanc at world’s biggest wine competition 

7 June: Oregon Pinot Noir is among the world’s Top 50 wines at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in 2023, as newly released results highlight several first-time wins for US wines and showcase the breadth and depth of winemaking talent across the country. 

Full results have been revealed from the 2023 competition, which saw a record 18,250 wines from 57 countries judged by leading international experts. 

Now in its 20th year, DWWA is the world’s biggest and most influential wine competition, backed by a rigorous process to ensure consumers of premium wines can buy medal winners with confidence. A total of 236 specialist judges from 30 countries took part in DWWA 2023, including 16 Master Sommeliers and 53 Masters of Wine. 

This year’s competition provided several long-awaited accolades for US wines. Oregon won a coveted Best in Show medal, last awarded to the state in 2020, thanks to Archery Summit Winery, Pinot Noir 2021 from the Dundee Hills AVA, which lies within Willamette Valley. 

Only 50 Best in Show medals were awarded, representing just 0.27% of all wines tasted. Oregon has garnered many plaudits for its top-drawer Pinot Noir wines, including at previous DWWA editions, and this year’s results bring Oregon back to the forefront. 

Judges said of the Archery Summit wine: “Pinot has taken to Oregon’s Willamette Valley with remarkable success, and especially to the red-soiled Dundee Hills. This 2021 wine is a fine example of the charm, balance and satisfaction that fine Dundee Hills Pinot can provide.” 

DWWA 2023 also saw the first ever Platinum medal awarded to a US Sauvignon Blanc. This accolade went to Clos du Val, Sauvignon Blanc 2021 from California’s famous Napa Valley. Including a small proportion of Semillon, the 97-point wine is

“Flinty on the palate, very tasty, with a zesty acidity and elegant mineral finish”, said judges. 

The US won two Platinum medals overall and the second saw Washington State claim its second ever medal at this level, and after a 10 year hiatus, in the shape of Bledsoe Family Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 from Walla Walla Valley. The top-scoring wine also contains small amounts of Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, and judges enjoyed its “dense core of dark plummy fruit supported by a refreshing acidity”. 

There were four Gold medals for US wines, including another big win for Oregon’s Dundee Hills AVA, for Domaine Serene, Two Barns Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019. One Gold highlighted Russian River Valley AVA Chardonnay in California, with Kenwood Vineyards, Six Ridges Chardonnay 2020 awarded 96 points. Napa Valley’s Mount Veeder AVA also sits in the competition’s top medal chart with Newton, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 winning Gold. 

Price versus quality considered, in the entry-level price tier – up to £9.99 ($12.52) – Barefoot Bubbly, Rosé Brut sparkling NV from California won a Value Gold. “Very harmonious and easy to enjoy,” said judges. 

In total, US wines won 265 medals at DWWA 2023 and this year’s competition really showcased the breadth and depth of premium, exciting styles being produced right across the country. 

Silver medal highlights include J. Lohr, Wildflower Valdiguié 2022, a red grape variety primarily grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon, from Monterey’s Arroyo Seco AVA in California, as well as two wines from New York: Milea Estate Vineyard, Cabernet Franc 2020 in the Hudson River Region AVA, plus RGNY, Viognier 2021 from the North Fork of Long Island AVA. New York also claimed three Bronze medals. 

Meanwhile, a Texas red wine made from Aglianico won Silver: Uplift Vineyards, Aglianico 2020 from Texas Hill Country AVA. 

Pennsylvania can celebrate its first ever DWWA medal, after Benigna’s Creek Traminette NV won Bronze. “Generous on the palate, with a round body and fruity finish,” said judges.

Based in Oregon, DWWA judge Bree Stock MW highlighted exciting work with hybrid varieties in Vermont, within a thriving US wine scene overall. Stock said: “There’s just a lot to explore at the moment and I think it’s really being embraced in the traditional wine world, but also [by] the younger community as well, where wine is being produced as sort of a meta beverage and crossing a lot of different categories.” 

About DWWA, Andrew Jefford, one of four DWWA Co-Chairs, said: “DWWA was a little acorn 20 years ago. Now it’s a mighty oak. If the wine world could be said to have any sort of a benchmark or proving ground, a place where your wines can go to match up against those being made elsewhere [on all five continents], then it might just be Decanter World Wine Awards. And to be a part of that I think is an enormous privilege.” 

Visit awards.decanter.com for a full list of winners.

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