The results of the 2013 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles – Spirits Selection have just been released.

The results of the 2013 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles – Spirits Selection have just been released. Once again, the competition has revealed critical insight into the latest trends within the world of spirits, providing a snapshot of the global industry that is updated annually.

A total of more than 500 spirits from 30 producing countries competed in Kaohsiung (Taiwan) on June 7 to 9, 2013 before a hand-picked selection of the world's foremost tasters. Mixologists, spirits buyers, importers and journalists – in all 35 tasters representing 15 different nationalities – gathered for 3 days to judge this year's entries. The diverse range both of entries and backgrounds of the tasters themselves contribute to the uniqueness of the event .

To provide consumers with a reliable buying clue, 30% of medals were awarded this year and preliminary results indicate that France retains its leadership position with 47 medals, followed by Taiwan (28 medals), Italy (23 medals), Peru (16), South Africa (11), United Kingdom (8) and Spain (7).

The next edition of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles – Spirits Selection will be held on 6-7-8 June, 2014 in Florianopolis, Brazil.
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Château Haut-Brion Owners Buy St.-Emilion's Château L'Arrosée

The Dillon family, owners of the famed first-growth, add a second Right Bank property to their portfolio
Domaine Clarence Dillon, the ownership group that includes the famed first-growth Château Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, has added another Right Bank estate to their portfolio: Château L'Arrosée in St.-Emilion. The deal closed May 29. A purchase price was not disclosed.
Château L'Arrosée is the second Right Bank estate to be purchased by Domaine Clarence Dillon in recent years. The firm, owned by the Dillon family and currently run by Prince Robert de Luxembourg, purchased Château Tertre Daugay—since renamed Quintus—in 2011. Previously owned by the Caille family, which bought it in 2002, Château L'Arrosée totals nearly 33 acres of vines. The vineyards, which neighbor Quintus, are planted with 60 percent Merlot and 20 percent each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Speculation that the estates might be combined was premature according to Jean-Philippe Delmas, managing director of Domaine Clarence Dillon. “At this stage, any question about the strategy we intend to implement is premature," he told Wine Spectator. "We will communicate in due time about it, in the coming months.”


International Sweet Wine Challenge returns

The 2013 International Sweet Wine Challenge returns next week to once again showcase and inform about the diversity, quality and innovations of sweet wines. Australia’s leading wine show dedicated to the delights of non-fortified sweet wines, is inviting wine producers from all around the world to submit their wines into the awards from 14 June – 16 August, with judging taking place on 29th August 2013.
The Judging Panel will again be led by Ben Edwards (President of Sommeliers Australia and contributor to Australia's best selling wine guide, the Australian Wine Companion), who will be joined this year by International Guest Judge Madeleine Stenwreth MW. Madeleine became one of the first Swedish Sommeliers in 1990 and since then her talented palate has seen her judge at wine shows around the world and achieve Master of Wine status in 2008. Madeleine says, “The amazing diversity of sweet wines crafted in some of the greatest and most famous wine regions of the world is truly unique. It is however also a wine category which definitely deserves a lot more attention in order to make a revival possible. It is especially important during these times when all things sweet are equally banned from our dinner tables. This makes it even more important to educate and inspire the global wine drinker about the huge gap between consuming sweetness in its simplicity — and sometimes in a too evidently artificial state — and the sheer enjoyment of a natural sweet wine derived from grapes and bursting with personality and a great story to tell.”
This will be the 9th consecutive year the ISWC has been held in the Riverina and the founding aims of the awards remain the same, as Les Worland, President of the Riverina Winemakers Association, explains, “The International Sweet Wine Challenge was created to bring together the various styles of sweet wine from Australia and abroad in a region well known for the quality of its own sweet wines. We strive to promote the best wines within their style, and to raise greater understanding and awareness of sweet wines in general.
"Last year’s challenge saw a very high standard of entries, with an increased quantity and quality of international entries. This year’s Challenge promises to be as keenly contested, with winning wines at the ISWC not only rewarded with Medals and Trophies, but also benefiting from a public relations campaign run by the ISWC, providing valuable editorial and advertising exposure in international and Australian wine and lifestyle publications.”
The Challenge is open to any non-fortified sweet wine that is commercially available in the country of origin, and holds a minimum stock of 50 case lots at the time of entry. There is also a separate Museum Class for wines five years or older, which are not commercially available, with the aim of this class to show unusual or rare styles. 10 Trophies are awarded in total – see full details at
Entries open:           14 June – 16 August 2013
Judging:                  29 August 2013
Results:                  2 September 13
Award Presentations: 7 September 2013
Entry can be made on line at or by contacting Stuart McGrath-Kerr, Riverina Winemakers’ Association on: +61 2 6964 3504


For the first time, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles-Spirits Selection is exported to Asia!

For the first time, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles-Spirits Selection is exported to Asia!

The spirits section of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles will be held in June 2013 inTaiwan's second-largest city and one of Asia's biggest ports: Kaohsiung. By taking the competition overseas, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles not only wants to showcase award-winning spirits in a prime emerging market, but also to set its sights on the Asian continent, a high growth market for spirits. The event will bring together both local experts and international judges from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Held concurrently with the wine tastings at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles for the last thirteen years, the Spirits section of the Concours is now taking place independently under the name of " Spirits Selection ". Concours Mondial de Bruxelles organizers will devote all their energy and professionalism to this dedicated, stringently-organized competition which will welcome a wide range of spirits from around the globe. In total, more than 500 spirits products from 30 different countries will compete in Kaohsiung, among which predominate once again the French samples with 126 products registered, followed by Asia (Taiwan 103 products) then, in decreasing order, Italy (65), Peru (42), Africa's South (33), Spain (32) and UK (22).

These figures are the first results from the first edition of Spirits Selection outside Europe.

Coming next: 3 tasting sessions in Kaohsiung on June 7, 8 and 9, followed by the publication of the results expected Sunday, June 9, 2013.

The jury of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles - Spirits Selection brings together a panel of nearly 40 international and professional tasters. Fifteen nationalities are represented in the tasting panel, a diversity that contributes to the uniqueness of the event.

At the end of the contest, only spirits with the best results are eligible for the prestigious medals that guide the consumer choices all over the world.


Marlborough Exotica rides again (NZ)

Making Marlborough wine to complement Asian and Indian food whilst still retaining the character of the region and the variety in a quality form is the task set by Auckland entrepreneurs Mr Darius Karani and business partner Mrs Cindy Francis.
Rising to the occasion is a high profile Marlborough winery and the wine brand, Marlborough Exotica. It is very well received in New Zealand restaurants and the Asian community but also is selling by the container load in India and South East Asia.  ‘I can barely keep up with supply,’ Mr Karani said.
The taste of the  Marlborough Exotica Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris (both from 2012 currently) is excellent and both replicate the varietal characters very well.  So what adjustments need to be done to suit specific cuisine?  ‘It depends,’ the winemaker says. It’s all to do with the balance nature provides vintage to vintage. Sometimes the acidity is higher than others. Sometimes the flavours are more intense.
For Darius Karani, Marlborough Exotica has been a success story in the several countries he exports to. ‘In India and South East Asia, anything from New Zealand is exotic,’ he says, explaining the name of the wine. ‘It is a distant land to those people.’
The wines have been marked as silver or 4-star since first entered in New Zealand competitions in 2009.
In Pinot Gris as well as Sauvignon Blanc, the Awatere has given bold flavours with good spine and far from reducing the food partners to an ethnic cuisine, the winemaker considers the Pinot Gris ideal with aged cheddar and the Sauvignon Blanc with oysters of smoked salmon.
Wine writer and international judge Peter Saunders made these  comments on the 2012  pair.
‘These are very good wines in their demonstration of robust fruit characters. They have a freshness which is typical of Marlborough and the varietal statement in the two wines is both generous and appealing. The Sauvignon Blanc has the ripe gooseberry flavours which suit white meats and food from the sea so well, while the Pinot Gris is quite a big, mouth-filling style for this variety. Both are ready to be enjoyed from now on, through 2014.’



100th Birthday of California Wine Legend Robert Mondavi

Series of Events Set to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Mr. Mondavi and His Impact on the American Wine Industry
OAKVILLE, Calif. --
Perhaps no other name is more synonymous with the American wine industry than Robert Mondavi. With June 18, 2013, marking the 100th anniversary of his birth, wine, food, and art enthusiasts alike can appreciate his role in shaping the American wine industry. In light of this special milestone, Robert Mondavi Winery will be hosting a number of events and activities throughout the month of June that commemorate Mr. Mondavi's role as the world's leading innovator, producer and marketer of California wine.
“I’m delighted to honor Bob’s birthday by bringing friends and family together through a series of celebrations that encompass food, wine and the arts,” said Margrit Mondavi, Vice President of Cultural Affairs for Robert Mondavi Winery. “Whether dancing at a concert in his beloved To Kalon Vineyard or raising a glass of Fume Blanc in his name, we look forward to honoring this significant milestone in Napa Valley history both at the winery and beyond.”

Robert Mondavi birthday celebrations and commemorations include:
•    Public toast: On Tuesday, June 18, Robert Mondavi Winery will host a public toast at noon P.S.T. Margrit Mondavi, Vice President of Cultural Affairs at Robert Mondavi Winery and Genevieve Janssens, Director of Winemaking, will lead the toast, and guests will receive a glass of Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fume Blanc, cupcakes, and a commemorative printed booklet. Those unable to attend the toast can share their well-wishes by adding the #Mondavi100 hashtag to images and Tweets and by going to the Robert Mondavi Winery Facebook page.
•    Robert’s Block naming ceremony: Following the toast and in honor of Mr. Mondavi and his love of the To Kalon Vineyard, on Tuesday, June 18, the winery will rename one of the best blocks of the vineyard, ‘Robert’s Block,’ in a small private ceremony.
•    Cent’anni performance at Summer Concert: Pandora Presents: Martina McBride – One Night 2013 on Saturday, June 29, the “Cent’anni” performance and fireworks show kicks off the 44th annual festival with a special performance to honor Mr. Mondavi’s birthday.
•    Frank Pollaro Centenary Table: The winery has paired with celebrated American furniture artist Frank Pollaro to produce a Robert Mondavi Centenary Table, which is hand-crafted with aged Northern California Claro walnut and represents Robert Mondavi’s lifelong pursuit for gracious living through the enjoyment of food and wine. The table will be unveiled in its permanent location in the Vineyard Room in time for the June 18thcelebration. It will become the centerpiece of winery events for years to come and serve as the model for a limited-edition series of five dining room tables that will be for sale.
•    Commemorative Riedel Decanter: One hundred limited-edition commemorative Riedel decanters featuring the artwork of Margrit Mondavi will be on sale to guests of the winery and online in the month of June.
In 1966, Robert Mondavi established the Robert Mondavi Winery at the age of 53 – the first of its kind in the Napa Valley since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition. It was during this time that Robert Mondavi pioneered many fine winemaking techniques in California, including cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks and the use of French oak barrels.
As a marketing leader, he initiated blind tastings of Napa Valley wines with other world-class wines, allowing consumers and the trade to evaluate wine value and quality. Robert Mondavi also introduced wine tastings and tours to the winery, demonstrating his dedication to encouraging a wine culture in America.
In addition to Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley, he also launched Robert Mondavi Private Selection and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi. In 1979, he founded Woodbridge Winery near his boyhood home in Lodi, California. Having grown up there, Robert Mondavi appreciated that the Lodi region was capable of producing quality wines of exceptional value. In the 1990s, his visionary pursuit of great California wines led him to the Central Coast, when he sourced grapes from the Bianchi Bench Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands region of Monterey County and the Pine Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles. These premier vineyards formed the foundation for Robert Mondavi’s original line of coastal wines and then Robert Mondavi Private Selection in 1994.
Robert Mondavi remained an active ambassador for the winery into his nineties alongside his wife, Margrit. Though he passed away peacefully at home on May 16, 2008, at the age of 94, his contributions to the wine industry continue to be seen and felt throughout the Napa Valley and beyond.
Robert Mondavi Winery is located at 7801 St. Helena Highway, Oakville, CA 94562. For additional information regarding the winery and Robert Mondavi Winery wines, please visit


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