Decanter World Wine Awards 2016

The Decanter World Wine Awards is an exciting time for any and every wine producer. Thousands of wines are submitted for judging and must withstand a tough preliminary assessment before they can move onto the official stages. Each wine is tasted blind by a panel of specialists including 69 Masters of Wine and 26 Master Sommeliers.  

Out of the 16,000 wines submitted, our wineries were honored with over 50 medals. We are especially proud of Cono Sur for taking home Best In Show along with 19 other awards. The following wineries recieved awards/medals at the DWWA: 

The process is a difficult and selective one, so taking home any awards or medals is a high honor. Gold medal winners go forward to compete against others in their region for a platinum medal, but gold winners are also re-tasted and have the chance of being downgraded. 

If a wine is selected as platinum, it then goes through a special blind tasting and has the potential to be chosen as platinum - best in show. This final blind tasting involves both Steven Spurrier, the chair of DWWA, and guest vice chair Gerard Basset OBE MW MS.

Each wine is a year of someone’s hard work and so it is very important to allow time to appreciate and discuss the wine for an award.
— Sarah Kemp, Decanter’s managing director.

We are honored and excited to see so many of our wonderful wineries medaled on this coveted list.

Wine Tasting 101

Have you ever tasted a wine and loved it but couldn’t explain why you liked it? It’s like one of those dreams when you're screaming for help, but not making any noise. Frustrating for sure. Below is quick guide to tasting wines with a view to describing them.

Wine tasting terms generally fall into six categories:

Wine Tasting Terms 101


You should always begin tasting a wine by looking at it. Sight can give you many clues about a wine, and should be the first basis on which you form conclusions about a wine. These initial conclusions can later be confirmed using your other senses.

Observations from sight include:  clarity, brightness, color, concentration, viscosity and the presence of carbonation or sediment.


Your sense of smell is probably the most important sense you use to analyze a wine. Humans can differentiate among approximately 10,000 different aromas, while only being able to differentiate between five, maybe six, tastes. Observations from the nose of a wine include fruit and non-fruit aromas and the presence or absence of wood.

Fruit and Non Fruit Aromas in Wine

Sweetness Level

After you’ve observed a wine’s appearance and aromas, it’s time to taste the wine. On your palate, you’ll be able to confirm or reject your initial conclusions from your sight and nose, including its fruit and non-fruit tastes and the presence or absence of wood.

From our observations of sight, smell and taste, you should have had a perception of the relative sweetness of the wine. Remember, the sweetness of a wine is subjective and determined not only by the amount of residual sugar of the wine, but also the interaction of the residual sugar with the levels of alcohol, acid and tannin in the wine. The chart below summarizes the sweetness of a wine in terms of residual sugar.

Wine Residual Sugar Chart


The structure of a wine refers to the relationship between its acidity, its alcohol content and its tannins. Structure doesn’t describe the flavors of a wine, but can provide a clue as to its aging potential. Wines with good structure are much more likely to age better than wines without good structure.


A wine’s finish is the assessment of how longs it lingers in your mouth. This assessment is measured in terms of time. The flavors of a wine with a long finish will linger in your mouth long after the wine is gone. Wines of higher quality generally have longer finishes than wines of lesser quality.

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2004 Salon Blanc de Blancs Release

Champagne Salon: Gran Vin With Bubbles

Champagne Salon 2004

This year's importer's meeting for Champagne Salon & Champagne Delamotte was held in Kyoto, Japan. Our President and CEO, Greg Doody, had the honor of attending the event along with Salon's importers from 19 other countries.

The three day meeting consisted of delicious wine, gorgeous views and a lot of anticipation for the 2004 vintage release.   

Salon Delamotte Champagne
Kyoto Japan Salon Delamotte

Ever since its founding, Salon has been served in the world’s most renowned establishments, including the legendary Maxim’s, which made Salon its house Champagne in the 1920’s. 

To this day, Salon only produces one wine, a Blanc de Blancs, from a one-hectare parcel owned by Salon, “Salon’s garden,” and from 19 other smaller parcels in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger chosen by Aimé Salon at the beginning of the 20th century.

Salon is rare on all counts:

  • Always a single harvest
  • Single cru
  • Single grape variety
  • & only produced in exceptional years when the grapes contain the ideal combination of richness of fruit, sugar and acidity.

In the 20th century, only 37 vintages were declared at Salon.

Champagne Salon 1971
Champagne Salon 2004 Kyoto Japan

The wines are cellared in the bottle for an average of 10 years, gaining in complexity and finesse. There is, therefore, just over 12 years stock in the chalk cellars at Salon. 

At each step of production of Salon, it is a conscious decision to be the best, the most beautiful and the rarest, that allows fervent admirers of Salon to taste a perfectly balanced Champagne, with rich and complex aromas.

One can always find nuts, citrus, floral tones, minerals, sometimes smoky, sometimes doughy, according to its age, time, length on the palate and fine, persistent mousse. It is easily compared in its fullness and richness to the great wines of Burgundy. 

This is what makes Salon unique: simply put, it is a grand vin...with bubbles.

2004 Vintage: The Serenity Vintage

Champagne Salon

The 2004 vintage is only the 39th vintage released by Champagne Salon. The 2004 vintage displays all of the qualities expected of Salon: complexity, purity and freshness.

But beyond this, there is a sense of serenity, promising many years of anticipation before the wine reaches its ineffable peak.

Champagne Salon 2004 Release

The intense freshness and minerality do not belie the wine's aromatic promise. Taut and edgy in the mouth, the wine is all purity and fine acidity. This great white wine, even now in its youth, gives a glimpse of Chardonnay's rich potential with its brioche, warm bread and fresh yeast character.

Salon 2004 is an exquisite testament to a stunning vintage and one that will stay with us long into the future.