It was my pleasure to host a tasting and lunch to celebrate the announcement of the medal winning wines of the Concours Mondial De Bruxelles international wine and spirits competition. It was held at the well-known Armani Restaurant in NYC.
Mr. Thomas Costenoble is the Director of the Competition and the man responsible for its success. He said that the competition is organized by Belgium, a country that does not produce much wine, so the completion can guarantee total independence. He called it “A United Nations of Fine Wines.” Though they do not produce much wine, Belgians are recognized for their great knowledge of wines. In Belgium, when you are thirsty you drink beer. Wine drinking is about culture.
Louis Havaux first organized the completion in April of 1994 in Bruges. There were 861 entries from 29 participating countries. Today there are almost 8,220 wine and spirit entries from 48 countries.
Mr. Costenoble said that the primary ambition of the competition is to provide consumers with a guarantee that it will single out wines of quality, offering a truly pleasurable drinking experience, of wines from across the globe and best price points. While the Concours Mondial De Bruxelles is well known in Europe, Asia and South America, it is not familiar to wine lovers in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Costenoble, this is about to change as consumers, journalists, and wine experts become familiar with this prestigious international competition.
Over 300 professional judges take part from 50 countries. The tasting conditions are of the highest standards under the best conditions including the correct humidity, temperature and monastic silence. The blind tasting takes place over 3 mornings and 50 tasting panels are made up of 5 to 7 judges. There are 50 samples tasted each morning in flights of 4 to 6 wines.
This is the only wine competition that I know of which conducts a palate preparation exercise for the judges to harmonize and calibrate the marks that they give for the wines. If all the judges vote a wine as excellent it will get a score of 100.
The EU recognizes the competition and the Belgian Federal Service Economy does the inspection. Officials are on hand to make sure that all the rules are followed and the total number of medals awarded does not exceed 30%.
It is the first international competition to Introduce post event checks on award winning wines. Broad selections of wines are analyzed to compare them with wines available commercially. The Catholic University in Louvain supervises this process.
The awards are as follows: Grand Gold Medal and Gold and Silver. In addition Best Wine Trophies are awarded to products with the highest ratings in a category beside their gold medal.
Mr. Costenoble said the CMB medal is great exposure for the producer and a reliable buying cue for the consumer when they see the CMB symbol on the label.
Domaine Bessá Valley Winery, Bulgaria. Enira Reserve 2009 IGP Thracian low lands made from Merlot 55%, Syrah 35 % and Petit Verdot 10%. The wine is aged in 50 new oak barrels and 50 one-year-old oak barrels. Silver Medal $ 20
Vollereaux Champagne Brut Reserve France Gold Medal made from 34% Chardonnay, 33% Meunier and 33% Pinot Noir. Sugar content 9g/l and the wine remains for 3 years on the lees. Gold Medal
Chateau Burgozone Chardonnay 2014 IGP Danube Plain Bulgaria, made from 100% Chardonnay. Fermentation and maceration in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged on the lees. Mr. Constenoble said this wine was a gold medal winner 5 years in a row. It is well deserved. Gold Medal $15
Vinzavod Ad, Assenovgrad Version Plaisir Cabernet Franc 2013 Thracian Valley Bulgaria 100% Cabernet Franc. Fermentation and aging takes place in stainless steel. Silver Medal $16
Domaine Du Chapitre 100% Sauvignon Blanc 2014 France Loire Valley. This is an excellent example of Sauvignon Blanc. Grand Gold Medal $18
Omina Romana Lazio, Italy Chardonnay 2013 Lazio IGT 100% Chardonnay. At the end of fermentation, 50% of the wine remains in stainless steel tanks and the remainder in oak barrels where it matures for 5 to 6 months. Silver Medal
Janus Geminus I 2011 made from 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot. The wine is aged in French oak barrels fro 12 to 18 months and then assembled. Gold Medal
Alessandro di Camporeal “Kaid” 2012 IGT Sicily, Italy 100% Syrah Maceration is for 12 days at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged for 12 months in barriques and tonneaux and 6 months in bottle before release. This wine was not available for the tasting but it was the only wine I had tasted before and met the wine maker. Grand Gold Medal $25
Borgo di Colloredo Biferno Rosso Riserva DOC, Italy. “Girorn” 2008 made from 80% Montepuliciano and 20% Aglianico. The wine is aged for 24 months in large oak barrels and barriques. Grand Gold Medal $20
Colline San Biagio “Sancti Blasii” 2009 Carmignano DOCG, Tuscany, Italy made from 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. The wine is aged in new and second passage French barriques for 12 to 15 months and in bottle for 6 months before release. Silver Medal
Fleury Family Wines “Château Haut- Badon” 2013 Sain Emilion Grand Cru AOC, France. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for 6 months in oak barrels. Grand Gold Medal. $40
Les Vignerons de Buzet Baron d’Ardeuil Rouge 2010 AOC Buzet, France made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Silver Medal $10
Château Haut-Chaigneau 2012, Lalande Pomerol, France, made from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Silver Medal $40
L’ Arch Angle 2010 St. Emilion France Grand Gold Medal $30
Grand Crus of Western Algeria Company “ “Koutoubia” Western Algeria made from Grenache and Cinsault. The wine is aged for 15 months and 6 months in bottle before release. Gold Medal
Plan b International Sack Rum 40% alcohol Belgium. Grand Gold Medal
Tequila Orendain de Jalisco“ Grand Orendain Bianco, Mexico Grand Gold Medal $45
NB: Where there is a $ sign it means the wine is imported to the United States and if there is a price it is an approximation.
NB:Luc Sougné from Domaine Boyar in Bulgaria was present but the wines did not make it in time for the tasting. That was unfortunate as they had 4 wines that won medals : Elements Chardonnay (Gold Medal) Quantun Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon (Silver Medal) Quantum Chardonnay (Grand Gold Medal) and Quantum Merlot (Silver Medal).