The results of the Six Nations Wine Challenge were released a few weeks ago, and now after the dust has settled, its well worth a closer look at the gems that were unearthed. We will be posting a regular guide covering all 16 classes on the Six Nations blog – so stay tuned, please get involved & help us spread the word.
Pinot Noir in perspective…. what the results show us:
The Pinot Noir category – a hotly contested one, yielded 1 Trophy (Winner), 1 Runner Up Double Gold, 6 Double Gold Medals & 10 Gold Medals.
Click on any producer names listed below to discover more information or be re-directed to their websites.
- Akarua Single Vineyard Limited Release Kolo Pinot Noir 2015 from Bannockburn New Zealand – Red Wine of Show and Pinot Noir Trophy winner is a stand out wine (and very hard to find)!
Runner Up Double Gold Medal:
Double Gold Medals:
- Lutum Sandford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 – Santa Rita Hills, California USA
- Nicolas Jay Pinot Noir 2015 – Willamette Valley, Oregon USA
- Ten Minutes by Tractor Wallis Pinot Noir 2016 – Mornington Peninsula, Australia
- Clemens Hill Pinot Noir 2015 – Coal Valley Tasmania, Australia
- Craggy Range Aroha Te Muna Pinot Noir 2015 – Martinborough, New Zealand
- Maycas del Limari San Julian Pinot Noir 2015 – Valle de Limari, Chile
- Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2017 – Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa
- Bouchard Finlayson Tete de Cuvee Pinot Noir 2013 – Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa
- Eddystone Point Pinot Noir 2016 – Tasmania, Australia
- Home Hill Wines Estate Pinot Noir 2016 – Huon Valley Tasmania, Australia
- Elk Cove Mt Richmond Pinot Noir 2016 – Oregon, USA
- Dutton Goldfield Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 – Marin County, California USA
- Lingua Franca Mimi’s Mind Pinot Noir 2015 – Eola Amity Oregon USA
- Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate Single Ferment Pinot Noir 2015 – Central Otago, New Zealand
- Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Pinot Noir 2015 – Marlborough, New Zealand
- Mission Hill Family Estate Prospectus Pinot Noir 2016 – Okanagan Valley, British Columbia Canada
- The Oregon region of North America picked up 4 of the 18 medals awarded, and 4 out of 6 for the USA. The USA picked up a third of all medals awarded in the pinot noir category.
- New Zealand picked up a total of 4 medals out of 18 awarded, 2 of these from the Central Otago region. One of the most consistently awarded wines in Six Nations history, Akarua, once again picked up the top award.
- Australia picked up a total of 4 medals out of 18 awarded. Of these 4 medals, Tasmanian Pinot picked up 3 and Mornington peninsula picked up the last medal.
- South Africa picked up a total of 2 medals, with both wines coming from the cool climate maritime influenced Hemel-en-Aarde valley.
- Canada and Chile both picked up a medal each with both wines coming from cool growing regions
These results clearly show a trend towards cool climate pinot noir of elegance & finesse being judged and awarded as the benchmark across all participating nations. Furthermore, certain regions are crafting high quality world class wines on a consistent basis – Oregon in the USA, Central Otago & Marlborough in New Zealand, Tasmania in Australia & Hemel-en-Aarde valley in South Africa.
A look back at 2017 revealed the following:
- 20 Medals awarded in total; Australia awarded 5; New Zealand awarded 6; South Africa awarded 2; USA awarded 6; Canada awarded 1
- Lingua Franca (Oregon), Villa Maria (New Zealand), Akarua (New Zealand), Craggy Range (New Zealand), Newton Johnson (South Africa) all picked up medals – a repeat performance.
- Tasmania (3), Mornington Peninsula (2), Oregon (3), California (3), Marlborough (3) & Central Otago (2) once again accounted for 80% of pinot noir medals
I am often asked what my favourite wine is – and whilst i generally view this as a ‘horses for courses’ type question, I inveriably defer back to pinot noir. At least by writing this article i have helped clarify my own thoughts on this magical, mystical grape variety. Its a pretty safe bet to focus on pinot produced in these regions as a 1st port of call when looking at a wine list or bottleshop shelf – and if your pocket allows it – a reputable producer within these regions should see you smiling all the way to the last drop.