Top 10 Pinot Noirs17th June, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
With almost 300 entries from 16 countries, the drinks business Global Pinot Noir Masters highlighted the broad spectrum of countries and price points available for wine lovers looking to explore this challenging but revered grape variety.
The competition saw an expert panel featuring eight Masters of Wine and one Master Sommelier assess entries blind, with no information about country of origin, only price bracket. Wines were served in flights ordered by price and style – whether oaked or unoaked, lighter bodied or full-bodied – in order to make sure that entries were tasted in the fairest possible order.
This format allowed judges to focus entirely on style, with clear consensus emerging about what they were looking for from good Pinot Noir. For example, at the cheaper end of the spectrum, low levels of residual sugar were deemed acceptable – although not desirable – with the panel also agreeing that below £10 Pinot Noir is best without oak influence.
As they moved up into higher price points, the judges became more demanding, with wines expected to demonstrate a number of key characteristics expected of Pinot Noir. These included an open, pretty nose; an attractive, smooth texture, and enough freshness to ensure the drinker wanted more. Stewed fruit, excessive oak flavours and evidence of heavy-handed maceration techniques were all penalised.
For a full report on the tasting, including judges’ comments and all medal winners from this year’s competition, click here. Otherwise read on to discover some of the top medalists from 2014, from sparkling styles to examples that prove excellent Pinot Noir doesn’t have to cost a fortune.