WineHandpicked by IWSC

Airline wine expert Kelly Stevenson’s top northern hemisphere wines

As director of drink-travel consultancy Jetvine and former beverage manager for British Airways, Kelly Stevenson knows her high-flying drinks. Here, she shares her top northern hemisphere wines following judging at the IWSC 2021

Words by By Vahan Agulian and IWSC judges

kelly stevenson in sherry vineyard
Handpicked by IWSC

Kelly Stevenson is no stranger to recommending wines in the sky. As the director of JetVine, a drink and travel consultancy founded in 2020, Stevenson offers advice to the drinks trade and travel industry. Her role there follows a long haul as wine and beverage manager for British Airways, where she was responsible for selecting anything from high-end wines in First Class to great tasting options in Economy.

Back on ground level, she was asked to help rate wines from across the northern hemisphere as a judge for the IWSC 2021. Stevenson blind-tasted her way through a variety of styles, and now that the results have been announced, we’re able to share which bottles she prized most highly from those tasting sessions.

Not one but two Amarone della Vallpolicellas made it into Stevenson’s top ten. ‘The Corte Canella had a beautiful, intense character from a very warm vintage [2015], shown with lots of alcohol and generous, cooked fruit,’ said Stevenson. ‘By contrast, the Silvano Piacentini from 2016 was more restrained, but the fresher red fruits harmonised perfectly with notes of chocolate.’

wine judge kelly stevenson holding bottle at iwsc 2021

A number of Sherries shone brightly, too, particularly the Williams & Humbert Dos Cortados Aged 20 Years Palo Cortado VOS NV, which judges praised for a mineral and saline edge, along with notes of rich dried fruit peel, mocha and salted caramel.

Finally, of the sweet wines she tried, an Icewine from Niagara was the most memorable: ‘The complexity is what stood out: marmalade, pineapple, ripe peach, floral honeysuckle all vibrant and bright and underpinned by a rich and creamy texture. I remember tasting this wine and the notes lingered for a very long time.’

Read on to see Kelly Stevenson’s top 10 northern hemisphere wines from the IWSC 2021.