France tops medal table in world's biggest wine tasting

Annual International Wine Challenge takes in 35 countries and 9,358 entries

France, Australia and Italy scooped the most medals in the International Wine Challenge 2007.

France's tally was 635, Australia netted 486 while Italian wines got 343 medals.

French, Australian and Portuguese wineries won the most golds with 44, 39 and 36 respectively. Twenty-two gold medal winners from last year's IWC took gold again with follow-up entries.

English wines continued to show improvement, with 21 medals awarded in 2007 - five more than last year.

This year's single UK gold goes to ­Denbies Wine Estate for sparkling wine Greenfields 2003.

Japanese sake entries increased , with 130 of the 228 entries awarded medals, including 10 golds.

Of the UK multiple retailers, Tesco stocks the most medal-winning wines at 126, with Sainsbury's claiming the most golds at 13.

IWC co-chairman and OLN's wine ­editor at large Tim Atkin MW said: "The changes we made to the IWC in 2005 have really started to bear fruit this year. I'm confident that this is the best set of results the Challenge has ever produced."

This year, 400 judges tasted 9,358 wines from 35 countries in the world's largest blind tasting. The four co-chairmen of the IWC are Atkin, Charles Metcalfe, Derek Smedley MW and Sam Harrop MW.

The trophy-winning wines will be announced at Vinexpo on June 18.

The International Wine Challenge website has been updated and improved to include advice on food matching. Every successful wine tasted has been giv en a suggested food pairing and the site includes judges' comments on every wine ( UK browsers can also search by their ­preferred retailer and price.