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Gold and bronze for Delicata’s top-flight 2016 white wines

Delicata’s award winners in Bordeaux, France.Delicata’s award winners in Bordeaux, France.

Its passion and craftsmanship earned Delicata two prestigious medals at The 2017 Challenge International du Vin in Bordeaux, France, which is probably the longest running major international wine competition.

Delicata’s Gran Cavalier Chardonnay won gold whereas their Grand Vin de Hauteville Viognier earned a well-deserved bronze. The two Delicata wines were Malta’s only medallists.

Both superior dry white wines are of the DOK Malta appellation and made from hand-picked bunches and sorted grape berries of the challenging 2016 vintage.

The coveted medals are testimonial to the Delicata team’s ever-growing reputation as craftsmen of top-notch boutique wines. This is again excellent news for the winemaker. It follows hot on the heels of the commendations for two other wines in the winery’s Gran Cavalier flagship range, firstly by Europe’s largest wine magazine Vinum for the 2015 barrel-matured Syrah, and also for the 2014 Merlot served together with the 2013 Grand Vin de Hauteville Moscato at a gala dinner at one of Milan’s best two-star Michelin restaurants just weeks ago.

Since his maiden vintage, chief winemaker Matthew Delicata has taken an impactful lead with consistently high-scoring premium Maltese wines and Delicata’s signature labels have gained recognition as sought-after quality wine gems.

But the recent bronze medal for the Grand Vin de Hauteville Viognier is especially close to the winemaker’s heart since the Viognier variety is particularly difficult to grow. The award shows that good Viognier is no longer confined to its original terroir in France but also thrives in deeper Maltese soils provided it is given expert care and attention.

Delicata is a believer in the potential of Malta-grown Viognier. Its winning label surely satisfies the growing thirst for Maltese wines made from this grape variety that until recently was relatively unknown to Maltese wine drinkers.

I love the wine’s scent of sweet pie crust, its aromas of honeysuckle and lily, the delicate flavours of green melon, mango and lychee, which will get more distinctive with a few months in bottle. Bottle age has indeed proven to make Delicata’s superb Viognier renditions of previous vintages taste even better.

Delicata’s Gran Cavalier Chardonnay, Malta’s only gold-medallist at The 2017 Challenge International du Vin, is another real uplift of a wine which is skilfully vinified from quality grapes from only two specially earmarked Maltese clos or walled vineyard parcels, one in Wied ta’ l-Isqof and the other in Buqana.

This flavour-packed dry white premium is a creamy Malta-grown Chardonnay, barrel-fermented in its own purposely-built cooled chai, with a pleasant whiff of wet gravel and dewy hay and delectable hints of brioche and buttercream in fine contrast with an invigorating zesty lime and pear drop palate. 

Both the Gran Cavalier Chardonnay and the Grand Vin de Hauteville Viognier’s are rich, ripe and expertly recommended.

For competition details, go to www.challengeduvin.com.

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