WineHandpicked by IWSC

Wine expert Elliot Awin selects 12 top bottles from the northern hemisphere

Wine distributor and tasting technician Elliot Awin runs us through the 12 wines he most enjoyed while judging for the IWSC 2021

Words by Vahan Agulian and IWSC Judges

elliot awin with alentejo vineyard backdrop
Handpicked by IWSC

Elliot Awin is the A in ABS Wine Agencies, the six-time winner of the IWSC wine importer trophy of the year. Currently a partner for the wine distributor, which was set up by his father 30 years ago, Awin is also tasting technician for e-commerce platform Pull the Cork, a website specialising in sales of natural and low-intervention wines.

With that breadth of vinous knowledge, Awin was in a good position to step up to the tasting table as a judge for the IWSC 2021. Blind tasting wines from across England, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Awin was perhaps most taken with the English sparkling wine on offer. ‘The wines that captivate me when judging are those that offer incredible complexity, with distinct expected characterful aromas and flavours. The English sparkling category was far from short of examples of this,’ said Awin. That included a ‘moreishly rich’ aged Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs and a ‘perfectly balanced’ Langham Rosé Brut.

Elliot awin holding up mayoral white wine at iwsc judging
J. Garcia Carrion Mayoral Verdejo 2020 was one of Elliot Awin's stand-out wines from judging at the IWSC 2021

More intrigue came for Awin when tasting his way through the Spanish wine entries. ‘Perhaps surprisingly, the Iberian peninsula threw some splendid whites into the competition. I was particularly impressed by Le Natural from Aroa Bodegas; the layers of flavour were awesome,’ said Awin. Judges agreed that the wine was expressing aromas of yellow grapefruit, lemon verbena, tarte tatin and raw almond, with a bruised apple and caramelised pastry finish. Another star was the J. Garcia Carrion Mayoral Verdejo 2020 showing great fruit intensity and well-balanced acidity.

Read on to see Elliot Awin’s top 12 northern hemisphere wines for the IWSC 2021.