In Slovakia, the first Central European country to host one of the world's top five wine competitions, France burnished its winemaking credentials by winning the prestigious Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) at the international wine contest.
The host country's little-known wines took sixth place, continuing a streak of success in some of the world's most prestigious competitions.
AdvertisementSlovakia tied with their world-renowned French cousins based on the percentage of medals awarded, taking into account the number of wines submitted.
"France retained its leading position with 709 medals, followed closely by Spain (524 medals), Portugal (288 medals), Italy (276), Chile (109), Slovakia (60)," CMB said in a Friday press release.
While less than one percent of the 8,200 entries scored the Grand Gold Medal, Slovak wines managed to capture three.
"It's a huge success which echoes previous successful appearances of Slovak wines at prestigious wine competitions, such as Vinalies Internationales Paris earlier this year," Slovak oenologist and jury member, Edita Durcova told AFP.
Slovak wines wowed at the top-rated Vinalies Internationales Paris in March, winning nine gold and 38 silver medals to outperform even France, not to mention better-known wines from nearby Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
On Friday Grand Gold Medal winners from Slovakia included Cabernet Sauvignon Rose by the Martin Pomfy - Mavín winery, Mojmirovce Cabernet Sauvignon Rose by PD Mojmirovce winery and Riesling by the T&M SK winery.
During its nearly twenty-year history, the Belgium-based CMB has taken place in seven Western European nations before heading east this year to Slovakia for the first time. Brussels will host next year's competition.
"It was more than normal that we eventually moved to Central Europe," CMB chief Thomas Costenoble told AFP at the launch of the event last Friday.
"It's an opportunity for jury members to discover new grape varieties they didn't know in traditional countries," he said.