A lovely South African Chardonnay, and a top Champagne

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I have been judging wines at Tranche 1 of the International Wine Challenge this week. The idea is, for the first time, to split judging into two sessions: the customary April two weeks, plus an additional week in November. This helps with southern and northern hemisphere wineries releasing wines at different times.

But I wanted to highlight two trophy winners from last year, tasted on Sunday night. A superb South African Chardonnay and a lovely Champagne.

Sumaridge Chardonnay 2010 Hemel en Aarde Valley, South Africa
Wonderfully complex, bright and fresh with pear and white peach fruit as well as precise citrus notes, as well as subtle toast. Real finesse here: it’s just such a lovely, complete wine. 93/100

Champagne Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs NV France
Very crisp, precise and lively with subtle toast and bright citrus fruit. There’s grapefruit and lemon as well as suberb concentration and purity. Stylish effort. 93/100

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