Archive for the ‘Competitions’ Category

SWA Gold

June 8th, 2017

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Blimey! It’s happened again! It seems that no sooner do I make a comment suggesting that the consumer should pull the cork and make their own wine buying decisions (rather than simply following reviews, medals or points), than we receive another accolade…. In this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards in London, we have been awarded a gold medal for our 2015 A2O ‘Sobre Lias’ Albariño!

The panel of judges is made up of a cross-section of tasters, including sommeliers, buyers, consultants and a handful of MW’s. The judges were enamoured with our wine’s fresh, sprightly style, awarding it Gold, whilst also commenting: ” the acidity is quite perky, and there’s a nice spritz on the finish” – ” I am reminded of the sea shore – mineral and fresh – but the palate shows honey notes, along with lemon peel. Rich yet fresh, and long-lasting”.

Wine and Spirit 3No sooner had I written that medals and reviews can sometimes work against you, than we start to pick up new accolades. Within the space of days, a silver medal and a 92 point rating – in two entirely different markets.

In the UK we received a silver medal for our Bodega Castro Martin 2014 at the International Wine & Spirits Competition. (I should quickly mention that no Albariño achieved gold medal status, meaning that we were at the very top of our category – we will have to try harder next time to achieve gold!).

Meanwhile, over in the United States, the Wine and Spirits Magazine (August Issue) just awarded our Castro Martin Family Estate 2014 an impressive 92 points, putting us at the top of their tasting and  listing us as both “Year’s Best Galicia” and “Best Buy”. Their tasting note was as follows:

92, Castro Martin, 2014 ‘Sobre Lias’ Albarino (Best Buy): From 50-year-old vines in Salnes, this wine aged for six months on its lees, developing an unusual combination of juicy pineapple flavor and stoniness. It’s nervous in acidity, tightening around the leesiness to create an intense, savage albarino. Far from the simple and creamy whites that populate Rias Baixas, this explores new territories, its full-on fruit flavors and mineral notes giving a deep and immersive complexity. You can drink it now with fried scallops, or cellar it for two or three years.

As I always say, don’t just take their word for it, buy a bottle and judge for yourself!

Sommelier Wine AwardsAs people who read our website will know, I have mixed views about wine competitions for many different reasons that I won’t go into just now. Suffice to say that we do not actively seek to win medals, but rather leave it to our importers to select the most appropriate tastings for their market – once decided, we do of course, support any entry that they decide to make. This being the case, every bottle submitted is drawn directly from the stock held in that country, and absolutely no ‘special’ samples are mailed from Spain. If we are lucky enough to win something, then consumers will be able to enjoy exactly the same quality as the victorious bottle.

Our UK importer recently submitted our Castro Martin Family Estate wine for the Sommelier Wine Awards in London, which is a rather unique competition. It focuses upon wines aimed purely at the UK ‘On-Trade’ – hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants. Wines that are sold more widely on the high street are not permitted, and therefore the competition serves as an ideal reference point for on-trade wine buyers. It is also judged by members of the trade including Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine, who look for food-friendliness, versatility, typicity, personality – and value for money.

A day or two ago we were thrilled to learn that we had achieved Gold Medal status, especially as our focus is, and always will be, to make ‘food wines’ aimed largely at the on-trade. Mission accomplished in that respect!

Whilst reading the summary of our award I was puzzled by the comment “Generosity of flavours and a taut freshness gave Castro Martin Gold once more for the latest vintage of its Family Estate Albariño”. Gold once more? What does that mean? I asked myself…… Well, it transpires that the previous vintage of this wine also won Gold last year, and we didn’t even know it! Not only does this say something about our quality, but also, more importantly, proves our consistency.

Customer1You may already know that I am not a great believer when it comes to the real value of wine competitions. Of course it’s nice to receive a medal now and again, but it’s simply that achieving the result can sometimes be a bit of a lottery. There are just so many variables involved during the judging process.

I have always believed that customer references are far more important. The quality of the people buying your wine and their total satisfaction is really what it’s all about. Having great importers is one thing, but then at the other end of the chain, the final consumer is ultimately the one that determines the success or failure of your product. If wine drinkers don’t like your wine then you might as well give up – your wine simply won’t sell – or rather you might well sell the first bottle, but then never the second.

So when a private customer takes the time to write to you simply to tell you how much they have enjoyed your wine, then this is almost as valuable as winning a gold medal in my book. Here we see a couple of our private customers enjoying a bottle of Castro Martin with a plate of oysters. Truly a marriage made in heaven. After all, what is it they say? The customer is always right!

Posted in Competitions, People

Secret silver

June 12th, 2014

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IWC LondonThose of you who follow our site might already know my thoughts about wine competitions. I have very mixed views….. My opinion is that there are just so many variables involved that can ultimately affect the outcome.  The biggest problem can simply be how your wine performs in front of the judges. For example, it could be that you wine is recently bottled, recently sulphured, or perhaps it’s simply too young and not showing at its best. It’s position in the tasting line up can also influence how it is judged. If yours is a more subtle, elegant wine that finds itself in the middle of a selection of less subtle, more full-bodied, slightly sweeter, or perhaps even slightly more alcoholic wines, then it can quite easily be lost, or simply overpowered. The list of potential stumbling blocks goes on, so much so that in the end the result can become a bit of a lottery. Writing about a wine, offering the consumer a description and guiding them is one thing, but awarding medals based on a snapshot of how your wine shows at one precise moment in it’s life, well, that can sometimes be a bit misleading.

As a result of our frustrations with said competitions we simply chose to abstain completely from entering, but that’s not to say that our wines are never submitted. Of course it is the prerogative of our customers to decide whatever they chose to do in this respect, and of course we will always support their choice.

The other day I was surfing the internet, visiting a few wine websites (as I have been known to do on occasions), when I stumbled across a silver medal! It appears that our Bodega Castro Martin 2012 had won a silver medal at  the 2014 International Wine Challenge in London. We had no idea that it had won a prize, and didn’t even know that it had been entered – suffice to say that it came as quite a surprise…..

Almost perfect

October 17th, 2011

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Admist all the hullabaloo of our harvest I neglected to mention the recent success of our barrica wine, or Vendimia Seleccionada Barrica to give it it’s proper title.  (The ‘vendimia seleccionada’ part of the name is probably the most significant, in that we do not make this wine every year – only in the vintages where we believe there is enough ‘weight’ in the fruit to support the addition of oak into the equation – but then that’s another story).

The story behind today’s post is that our Barrica wine came top of a tasting of around 200 oaked wines, scooping 99 points out of a possible 100. Not quite perfect, but almost!

Being the purist that I am, I have to confess that I am not a great lover of oaked Albariño, as some examples leave only the sensation of oak and acidity on your pallet. Our 2009 is an exception, as the fruit has just enough body to support our judicious use of  oak. I have to admit, it’s really not bad!

Posted in Competitions