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The results and trends from the Global Pinot Noir Masters 2021

We reveal all the medallists from this year’s Global Pinot Noir Masters, and consider why the wines were more consistent, balanced, and ultimately better than ever before.

After almost a decade blind tasting Pinot Noir from around the world as part of our Global Masters series, I can confidently report that the quality of wines from this single variety have improved more than any other grape I’ve consistently sampled over the same period. The change has been so marked that this year’s Global Pinot Noir Masters featured very few wines that didn’t gain a medal, and among those that did, the majority achieved a Silver or higher. It was a remarkable performance for a variety famed for its pernickety nature, and, consequently, notable for producing wines of variable quality – something that’s been highlighted in previous competitions, where we’ve seen huge swings in scores from wine to wine.

And such a marked improvement in the reliability of Pinot quality is doubtless testament to advancements in viticulture practices and cellar management for this fragile grape. This change, I should imagine, is to the benefit of all wines – making good Pinot is the winemaking equivalent of fitness training at base camp, on Everest.

I think the changes come down to a number of factors, some long term, such as finding the best sites for a grape variety that likes warmth, but not extreme heat; dry conditions, but not drought; plenty of sun, but not scorching rays. It’s also down to vine age, with Pinot Noir generally thought to start delivering really appealing results around 10-12 years after planting, meaning that those newer Pinot areas that were attracting comment for their potential, are now starting to deliver the expected results.

Then there are those developments related to the vine’s management; the changes during the growing season that can yield improvements by the year end, such as the level of bunch shading, or yield control – be it due to winter pruning to reduce bud numbers, or green harvesting to drop excessive berries, even dividing the bunches themselves to aid the disease-free development of flavonoids. The aim of such approaches can be to reduce yields to enhance flavour and concentration, but also to reduce sunburn, and extend the growing season, allowing for slow ripening, favoured for the creation of Pinot’s sought-after characters: sweet berry fruit; a light body; fine, ripe tannins, and fresh acidity. It’s a combination that requires skill to achieve, and experience of when to pick, as gaining Pinot’s soft ripe fruit and tannin is hard to do when you’re also attempting to bring in berries that will yield wines with a bright acidity and a delicate feeling on the tongue. It’s why Pinot can swing in either stylistic direction without careful vineyard management and harvesting decisions: the wines can be thin, astringent and green, or hot, jammy and dull. In between is something that’s unusual in red wines, a wonderful result that slides down the throat like a ripe white, while carrying the flavours of a fine red wine.

It’s why the expectations are so high for Pinot – which is the source of the world’s most valuable wines – and also why the disappointments can be acute.

But great Pinot is not all about the vineyard management. The climate, and the vagaries of the weather during the growing season are out of the winemakers’ control, even though the effects can be mitigated. Soil type, while fixed, is another factor to consider – and it’s notable that, to make great Pinot, you don’t need to have a clay-limestone soil, the basis of the most revered Pinot vineyards in the world, those of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or.

Indeed, our medallists this year represented a wide range of types, among which were slate (Ahr), granite (Casablanca, Valais), silty-clay (Willamette), sandstone (Russian River), and chalk (Champagne).

Finally, winemaking is key with Pinot. In this regard, it seems there has been a major stride forward, with an apparent sensitivity among cellar hands when working with this grape. I say that based on the taste and texture of this year’s entries, where, in terms of the former, the wines were dominated by fresh, Pinot fruit characters – not bitter stems (from the inclusion of green woody components in the ferments), or sweet chocolate (from too much new oak). As for the texture, the wines had plenty of tannins – which are needed for the dry feeling they impart – but these were fine and ripe, suggesting extraction regimes that were gentle.

The colours of the wines too were telling – they were mostly pale ruby, which, again, suggested sensitive handling of the berries during the winemaking process.

But these observations are general to the overall competition, and click here to read my 11 key findings from this year’s Global Pinot Noir Masters.

Meanwhile, please click here to read my review of the 10 best wines from this year’s tasting, and scroll down to see all the medallists from the 2021 Global Pinot Noir Masters, starting with sparkling and rosé.

Sparkling White Pinot Noir (Blanc de Noirs)

Winery Name of wine Region Country Vint. Medal
£15-£20
Azienda Agricola
Quaquarini Francesco
OP Pinot Nero Metodo Classico DOCG Classese Lombardy Italy 2013 Silver
U Mes U Brut Nature Reserva Familia Blanc de Noirs Penedès Spain NV Silver
£20-£30
Champagne Gremillet Blanc de Noirs Champagne France NV Gold

Rosé Pinot Noir

Winery Name of wine Region Country Vint. Medal
Under £10
Bouchard Ainé & Fils Héritage du Conseiller Pinot Noir Rosé Burgundy France 2020 Silver
Ruppertsberger
Weinkeller Hoheburg
R Pinot Noir Organic Rosé Palatinate Germany 2020 Silver

Unoaked Red Pinot Noir

Winery Name of wine Region Country Vint. Medal
Under £10
Cramele Recas Sorcova Pinot Noir Banat Romania 2019 Gold
Cramele Recas Legendary Pinot Noir Timis Romania 2020 Gold
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Pinot Noir Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Cramele Recas Sanziana Pinot Noir Banat Romania 2019 Silver
Cramele Recas Wildflower Pinot Noir Banat Romania 2019 Silver
Cramele Recas Co-op UK Pinot Noir Banat Romania 2019 Silver
Cielo e Terra Cielo Pinot Noir Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Ruppertsberger
Weinkeller Hoheburg eG
Pinot Noir QW trocken Palatinate Germany 2019 Silver
Cramele Recas Incanta Pinot Noir Timis Romania 2019 Silver
Domaine Les Hautes
Noëlles
Pinot Noir Brittany France 2020 Bronze
Barton & Guestier B&G Reserve Pinot Noir Corsica France 2020 Bronze
£10-£15
Cembra Cantina di Montagna Vigna Saosent Trentino Italy 2016 Gold
Domaines Schlumberger Les Princes Abbés Pinot Noir Alsace France 2017 Gold
Vignobles Bonfils Domaine de Cibadiès – West Side Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Viña Morandé Morandé Adventure Despechado Casablanca Valley Chile 2020 Silver
Domaine Maire & Fils Côtes du Jura Grand Héritage Pinot Noir Jura France 2018 Bronze
Emiliana Organic Vineyards Adobe Pinot Noir Bío Bío Valley Chile 2019 Bronze

Oaked Red Pinot Noir

Winery Name of wine Region Country Vint. Medal
Under £10
De Bortoli Wines The Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Australia 2019 Gold
De Bortoli Wines La Bohème Interlude Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Australia 2019 Gold
Qualia Wines Barramundi Pinot Noir SE Australia Australia 2020 Silver
De Bortoli Wines Regional Reserve Pinot Noir Victoria Australia 2019 Silver
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Central Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Cono Sur Organic Pinot Noir Colchagua Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Bouchard Ainé & Fils Grand Conseiller Pinot Noir Burgundy France 2019 Silver
Bouchard Ainé & Fils Héritage du Conseiller Pinot Noir Burgundy France 2019 Silver
Bouchard Ainé & Fils Réserve du Conseiller Pinot Noir Burgundy France 2019 Silver
Indómitac Irresistible Casablanca Valley Chile 2020 Silver
£10-£15
Winzergenossenschaft
Achkarren im Kaiserstuhl
Achkarrer Schlossberg Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken Baden Germany 2017 Gold
De Bortoli Wines PHI Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Australia 2019 Gold
De Bortoli Wines Riorret Lusatia Park Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Australia 2019 Gold
De Bortoli Wines Riorret The Abbey Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Australia 2018 Gold
Cantina Colli del Soligo Levigato Pinot Nero Marca Trevigiana IGT Veneto Italy 2018 Silver
Kenwood Vineyards Discoveries Pinot Noir Sonoma County USA 2017 Silver
Three Thieves Wines Three Thieves Pinot Noir California USA 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards The Ned Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Wakefield/Taylors Wines Wakefield/Taylors Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Silver
Bouchard Ainé & Fils Grand Pavillon Grande Réserve Côte de Beaune Villages Burgundy France 2018 Silver
Domaine Maire & Fils Côtes du Jura Grand Minéral Pinot Noir Jura France 2019 Silver
Michel Tissot & Fils Côtes du Jura Pinot Noir Jura France 2019 Silver
SeaGlass SeaGlass Pinot Noir Santa Barbara USA 2018 Silver
Brancott Estate Letter Series T Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Yealands Wine Group Yealands Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Yealands Wine Group Yealands Reserve Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Barton & Guestier Bistro Pinot Noir Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Cavit Bottega Vinai Pinot Nero DOC Trentino Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2018 Silver
Emiliana Organic Vineyards Novas Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Azienda Agricola
Quaquarini Francesco
Pinot Nero Blau Bio Lombardy Italy 2017 Bronze
Vistamar Single Estate Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Viña Valdivieso Valley Selection Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Yealands Wine Group Babydoll Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Bronze
Casas del Bosque Single Vineyard Reserva Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Nepenthe Altitude Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Bronze
£15-£20
Cavit Brusafer Pinot Nero DOC Trentino Superiore Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2018 Gold
Marisco Vineyards Leefield Station Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards The King’s Wrath Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Constellation Brands Kim Crawford Pinot Noir South Region NZ 2019 Silver
Gérard Bertrand Domaine de l’Aigle Pinot Noir Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Labouré Roi Bourgogne Pinot Noir Vieilli en Fût de Chêne Bourgogne France 2019 Silver
Domaine Maire & Fils Arbois Pinot Noir Vignes de Sorbief Jura France 2019 Silver
Yealands Wine Group Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Nepenthe Pinnacle Good Doctor Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills Australia 2018 Silver
Emiliana Organic Vineyards Signos de Origen Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Vignobles Bonfils Domaine de Cibadiès – Bellevue Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Bronze
Labouré Roi Bourgogne Pinot Noir Burgundy France 2019 Bronze
Winemakers Club Italia at Contra Soarda RBW Pinot Nero Veneto Italy 2018 Bronze
Viña Morandé Morandé Gran Reserva Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Napa Cellars Pinot Noir Napa Valley USA 2017 Bronze
Viña Valdivieso Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Maule Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
£20-£30
Joel Gott Wines Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Noir Willamette Valley USA 2018 Master
Winzergenossenschaft
Achkarren im Kaiserstuhl
Achkarrer Schlossberg Pinot Noir Qualitätswein trocken Baden Germany 2018 Gold
Matahiwi Estate Holly South Series Pinot Noir Wairarapa NZ 2019 Gold
Hahn Family Wines Hahn Pinot Noir California USA 2018 Gold
La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir California USA 2018 Gold
Cambria Estate Winery Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir California USA 2018 Gold
Bodegas Clunia Clunia Pinot Noir Castilla y León Spain 2019 Gold
Iona Elgin Highlands Pinot Noir Elgin SA 2018 Gold
De Bortoli Kylie Minogue Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Australia 2020 Gold
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Valley SA 2019 Silver
Jackson Estate Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2017 Silver
Santolin Wines Santolin Family Reserve Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Australia 2019 Silver
Matahiwi Estate Holly Pinot Noir Wairarapa NZ 2019 Silver
Rosehall Run Vineyards JCR Pinot Noir Prince Edward County Canada 2018 Silver
Wakefield/Taylors Wines Taylor Made Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Silver
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir California USA 2018 Silver
Constellation Brands Kim Crawford Limited Release Central Otago Pinot Noir Central Otago NZ 2019 Silver
Kenwood Vineyards Six Ridges Pinot Noir Russian River Valley USA 2017 Silver
Antonutti Pinus Nigra Pinot Nero Riserva Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2017 Silver
Segal Winery Segal’s Whole Cluster Pinot Noir Judean Hills Israel 2018 Silver
Yealands Wine Group The Crossing Wild Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Maso Grener Vigna Bindesi Pinot Noir Trentino DOC Trentino Alto-Adige Italy 2018 Silver
Domaine Alain Guyard Marsannay La Charme Aux Pretres Burgundy France 2018 Silver
Casas del Bosque Pequeñas Producciones Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Woodchester Valley Pinot Noir Gloucestershire UK 2018 Bronze
£30-£50
Hahn Family Wines Hahn SLH Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands USA 2018 Master
Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls Sonama Coast USA 2017 Master
Castelfeder Pinot Nero Riserva Burgum Novum Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2017 Gold
Famille Carabello-Baum Nuits-Saint-Georges Burgundy France 2018 Gold
Marisco Vineyards Marisco Vineyards Craft Series The Journey Pinot Noir Marlborough NZ 2015 Gold
Gérard Bertrand Aigle Royal Pinot Noir Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Gold
Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2018 Gold
Tenuta Mazzolino Noir Lombardy Italy 2017 Silver
Domaines Chevaliers Pinot Noir Clos de Pachje Valais Switzerland 2018 Silver
Rimapere Winery Rimapere Marlborough NZ 2019 Silver
Ferrer Family Wines Costers de l’Anima Catalonia Spain 2018 Bronze
£50+
Hahn Family Wines Lucienne Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands USA 2018 Master
Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pint Noir California USA 2016 Master
Donum Estate Three Hills Carneros Pinot Noir Sonoma USA 2018 Master
Donum Estate Heritage Clones Russian River Pinot Noir Sonoma USA 2018 Master
Château de Pommard Clos Marey-Monge Monopole Burgundy France 2018 Gold
Château de Pommard Clos Marey-Monge 75 Rangs Burgundy France 2018 Gold
Gran Moraine Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir Oregon USA 2016 Gold
Kenwood Vineyards The Barn Pinot Noir Sonoma USA 2017 Gold
Donum Estate Ten Oaks Russian River Pinot Noir Sonoma USA 2018 Gold
Maude Wines Sir Ian Botham The Peerage Pinot Noir Central Otago NZ 2019 Gold
Bouchard Finlayson Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Valley SA 2019 Silver
Weingut H. J. Kreuzberg Devonschiefer R Ahr Germany 2018 Silver
Azienda Gulfi Società Agricola Pinò Sicily Italy 2016 Bronze

About The Global Pinot Noir Masters

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Pinot Noir Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from a famous region or a lesser-known winemaking area of the world.

The top wines are awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stand out as being outstanding in their field receive the ultimate accolade – the title of Pinot Noir Master.

Please visit The Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

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