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English sparkler takes French rosé trophy

English wine producer RidgeView has collected the Best International Sparkling Rosé prize in the French Le Mondial du Rosé competition. Winning a trophy in France is the ultimate accolade, says the company. But, as is usual with such competitions in France, sparkling wine is kept to a separate category and doesn’t get the chance to compete against champagne.

This isn’t the case at the UK-run International Wine Challenge where there is a trophy for the Champion Sparkling Wine. The Daniel Thibault trophy is only awarded in a year when there is an outstanding sparkler, but this can be from any country and any sparkling category – champagne or otherwise.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition used to have both champagne and sparkling wines vying together for the top sparkling wine trophy. However, in 1993 organisers of the competition decided to create two trophies because, according to a spokesperson for the IWSC, ‘The category became so huge and when we were tasting sparkling wine against champagne, champagne was always winning. But that was a while ago,’ she said, ‘and we haven’t discussed whether we should change it again.’

Of course, more trophies give people the chance to perform well within their area, she said, adding, that the IWSC has thought about doing a combined blind tasting of both for fun, rather than as part of the competition. Since, in a blind tasting by Which? magazine a couple of years ago, some English sparkling wines beat bubblies from across the Channel, it would be interesting to see what happens now when our English vineyards are winning so many sparkling wine medals at international level.

RidgeView’s Merret Fitzrovia 2004 was the winning sparkling wine at Le Mondial du Rosé.