Thanks to months of preparatory work and the latest version of the WineCompass electronic wine evaluation software developed by Borkult, the competition went smoothly, which was essential for judges to devote their full attention to evaluating wines.
Two key partners also contributed to the success of the event: the Budapest Congress Center raised the standard of the wine competition with a cosy, comfortable venue and excellent gastronomic service, while Dunavox ensured the optimal temperature of the wines awaiting judging with the help of state-of-the-art wine coolers.
Some interesting facts about the competition
The ten commissions of 6-7 tasters were each assisted by ten highly experienced coordinators. Behind the scenes, they were responsible for monitoring the temperature of the wine samples, putting the bottles in a black bag to ensure anonymity, checking their serial numbers, decanting wines older than five years, inspecting and directing the waiters, and keeping in touch with the chairman of the commission; plus making sure next day’s wines are tempered as well.
The work of the tasting commissions is supervised by the Presidency of the Wine Competition. The Presidency consists of three members: the Director of the Wine Competition, an oenologist expert, and a legal expert.
According to the regulations of Vinofed (World Federation of Major International Wine and Spirits Competitions) and OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine), only half the tasters can come from Hungary, the rest from a foreign country, thus guaranteeing the international nature of the competition.
Bottles submitted to the competition are touched by careful hands at least 13 times before the evaluation: upon delivery to the organizers, while transferred to the warehouse, where they are classified, given an identification number, photographed, and ordered into tasting flights; then delivered to the venue of the competition, put into wine coolers, hidden in a black bag, and finally served to the tasters.
The VinAgora wine competition once again received a high number of entries, with a record number of foreign samples. A total of 941 samples took part in the competition, representing 16 wine-producing countries with about a quarter of wines coming from outside of Hungary.
The competition was very exciting in terms of the high quality of participating wines, representing challenges to the experts. The high niveau is reflected in the fact that the tasters gave 76% of the wines a score equivalent to at least a silver medal, that is, 85 points or more. However, according to the international rules of the professional patrons of the competition (Vinofed and OIV), only the best 30% of wines in each main category can receive a medal. Based on the score limits modified accordingly, 9 grand gold, 160 gold, 116 silver medals, 7 main category winner Champion awards, and another 25 special awards were finally awarded.
Let us first see the best wines in the main categories, that is, the Champion Awards:
Still white wines: Varga Pincészet – Aranymetszés Friss Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Still rosés: Günzer Tamás Pincészete – Rosé 2021
Still red wines: Pannonhalmi Főapátság – Infusio 2019
Semi-sparkling wines: Gál Szőlőbirtok és Pincészet – Anna Rosa Gyöngyözőbor 2021
Sparkling wines: Bodegas Jaume Serra – Cava Jaume Serra Bouquet Brut (Spain)
Naturally sweet wine specialties: Varga Pincészet – Aranymetszés Töppedt Szürkebarát 2015
Botrytised wines: TokajIM – Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2018
The Champion selection has changed this year compared to the previous practice: in the white, rosé and red categories the winner can only be selected out of dry wines, and in the sparkling category only out of brut samples made with the traditional process.
If at least 15 Hungarian samples are received from a given grape variety, the gold medalist wine with the most points made of the variety wins the special prize for the best Hungarian varietal wine, which is certified by a separate diploma. Only varietal wines whose technology does not override the varietal character can compete. (For example, a Merlot rosé can win the special prize, but a Furmint aszú or a Pinot noir sparkling wine cannot win.) This year, the best Hungarian varietal wines are:
Cabernet franc: Thummerer Pincészet – Egri Cabernet Franc Superior Válogatás 2018
Cabernet sauvignon: Thummerer Pincészet – Egri Cabernet Sauvignon Superior Válogatás 2018
Chardonnay: Geszler Családi Pincészet – máMÓR Móri Chardonnay 2020
Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch): Lelovits Tamás Pincészete – Meglepetés 2019
Merlot: Schieber Borászat – Tabu Merlot 2017
Olasz rizling (Welschriesling): Fodorvin Családi Pincészet – Aszófői Olaszrizling Vörösmál 2020
Irsai Olivér: Béla Borászat – Imrehegyi Irsai Olivér 2021
Rajnai rizling (Riesling): Pannonhalmi Főapátság – Prior Fehér 2020
Sauvignon blanc: Varga Pincészet – Aranymetszés Friss Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Syrah: Thummerer Pincészet – Egri Syrah Superior Válogatás 2018
If at least 15 samples are received from a foreign country, the highest-scoring gold medalist wine receives a special award (Best of Country). This year the following wines have been awarded:
Best of Australia: Wakefield Taylors Wines – Masterstroke Shiraz 2020
Best of Brazil: Cooperativa Vinícola Aurora – Conde de Foucauld Brut Branco
Best of Croatia: Iločki podrumi d.d. – Traminac Izborna Berba Prosušenih Bobica 2016
Best of Czech Republic: Znovín Znojmo – Hibernal, selection of grapes, n.b. 0348 2020
Best of France: Sarl Andre Giraud – Chateau La Tour Du Pin Figeac 2019
Best of Slovakia: Promitor Vinorum – Olaszrizling 2021
Best of Spain: Bodegas y Viñedos Viña Arnaiz – Mayor de Castilla Ribera Reserva 2018
Based on the results of the wines, the special producers’ prizes of the 23rd VinAgora International Wine Competition:
Special prize presented by Csonka és Fiai Kft. for the most successful family winery:
Geszler Családi Pincészet (Móri borvidék)
Special prize presented by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles for the most successful young winemaker:
Attila Szentpéteri (Szentpéteri Winery, Kunság wine region)
Special prize presented by VinCE Magazine for the best newcomer of VinAgora:
Éliás Birtok (Badacsony wine region)
Chef Market introduced a new special prize for the worthiest wine coming from environmentally conscious production. This year’s winner is:
Csendes Dűlő Szőlőbirtok - Badacsonyi Kéknyelű 2016
The Prix VINOFED prize is awarded in four categories – still, dry white, red, and rosé wines, and brut sparkling wines made with the traditional method – by the World Federation of Major International Wine and Spirits Competitions, according to uniform rules in all member competitions of the organization. The selection method is the same as that of the VinAgora Champion Awards, so the best wines in these categories automatically receive the VINOFED award as well.
Prix VINOFED – still, dry white wines:
Varga Pincészet - Aranymetszés Friss Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Prix VINOFED – still, dry red wines:
Pannonhalmi Főapátság – Infusio 2019
Prix VINOFED – still, dry rosé wines:
Günzer Tamás Pincészete – Rosé 2021
Prix VINOFED – brut sparkling wines made with the traditional method:
Bodegas Jaume Serra – Cava Jaume Serra Bouquet Brut
A detailed list of results can be found on the website of the competition.