Champagne Bureau Australia announced the winners of the 43rd biennial Vin de Champagne Awards.
The awards program, organised on behalf of Comité Champagne in Epernay which represents the Houses, Growers and Co-operatives of Champagne, aims to promote the enjoyment of Champagne in Australia.
Two categories are awarded; professional and amateur. Entrants in both categories are judged on their performance in a panel interview and a blind tasting of three Champagne wines. The 2018 winners are:
Professional – Leanne Altmann (Vic) wine director, Andrew McConnell Restaurants
Amateur – Nicole Smith (Qld) practice manager, Sunshine Eye Clinic
“Both Leanne and Nicole’s written submissions were considered excellent by our team of preliminary judges, and their knowledge of the Champagne region and descriptions of the selected three Champagnes served during the judging was incredible; especially since they had absolutely no information about the wines, aside from what was in the glass,” says John Noble, director of the Champagne Bureau Australia.
Altmann and Smith will both set out on a two-week educational tour through the Champagne region where Comité Champagne will present them with their medal at Maison du Champagne in Epernay. The awards program has established a network of over 40 Champagne specialists who act as ambassadors and educators to promote the Champagne Appellation Australia-wide by sharing their knowledge and appreciation of the wine.
“All of our finalists from the 2018 competition were outstanding, but the two winners were really stand out — they absolutely exemplified what the award is about and will make great Champagne Ambassadors,” says Noble.
Image: Nicole Smith & Leanne Altmann