Well that went pretty smoothly. Our Wine Merchant Top 100 judges proved to be more efficient and rigorous than we had dared to hope as they put a record number of entries through their paces yesterday.
We split the 18 judges into nine teams of two and the morning session was devoted to singling out the best 200 wines in the competition. After lunch, we mixed up the teams and re-tasted every wine that had got that far. At this stage every wine was guaranteed a Highly Commended but the task was to drill down to the all-important Top 100.
The scores are being analysed as we speak, and competition director David Williams will be carrying out some final checks before we announce the winners at the London Wine Far on May 3.
Many thanks to all this year’s judges, all of whom gave up a day (and in some cases more) to leave their independent wine businesses and to help us select the winners.
They are: Philip Amps, Amps Fine Wines, Oundle; Nigel Pound, Totnes Wine Company, Devon; Tamsin Jones, Mission Wines, Polzeath; Rachel Gibson, Wine Utopia, Hampshire; Rupert Pritchett, Taurus Wines, Surrey; Dave Eglington, Wolseley Wine Loft, Stafford; Will Bentley, Bentleys Wine, Ludlow; Jacqueline Sugden, Grassington Wine Company, Skipton; Ed Wells, HarperWells, Norwich; Rachel Higgens, Corks of Bristol; Chris Bailey, Mr and Mrs Fine Wine, Southwell; Pip Gale, Gales of Llangollen, Denbighshire; Tom Fisher, The Square Wine Company, Warwick; Mo O’Toole, Carruthers & Kent, Newcastle; Chris Rackham, The Salusbury Wine Store, London; Laurence Hanison, Mill Hill Wines, London; Sophie Nicholls, Highbury Vintners, London; and Edouard Dautreix, Friarwood, London.