Le Mondial du Pinot Noir – 2009

Le Mondial du Pinot Noir is a yearly competition strictly for the Pinot Noir varietal. 2009 was the 12th year of the competition. The competition is held and hosted by Switzerland. Wineries from around the world are invited to compete.

I did not know that Switzerland produced many Pinot Noir wines, but I guess this is in part to these wines not reaching British Columbia. The Pinot Noirs of western Switzerland and Neuchatel, I have read are of good quality.

This past year the Mondial du Pinot Noir set a new record for participation, with 1,144 wines being tasted. Switzerland, being the host country, offered 60% of the Pinot Noir wines for tasting. Germany was represented by 140 wines and France with more than 100. Other countries participating also included Hungary, Austria, Australia, Argentina – for a total of 24 countries. 50 judges from Canada, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Luxemburg, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Spain, Greece and Lebanon tasted and graded the wines. The event was organized in accordance with regulations set down by the Paris-based governmental body the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

The big winners, taking the Grande Médaille d’Or, are a Spanish Pinot Noir from the cellar Cortijo Los Aguillares in Ronda and a Valais Pinot Gris from Cave de la Madeleine (André Fontannaz in Vétroz). Of the 95 Or (gold) medals, 30 were awarded to wineries outside of Switzerland with 17 medals to Germany. I was amazed to read that a Spanish Pinot Noir won the Grande Medaille d’Or as you typically don’t think of Spain as a powerhouse for Pinot Noir. I now have a wine on my “to find and try” list for 2010!

Before going into more of the prizes, how did Canada do? We did win two prizes:
Arrowleaf Cellars, Arrowleaf Solstice Pinot Noir 2007 won a Bronze Medal,
Mission Hill Family Estate, Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2007 also won a
Bronze Medal.
Congratulations to Arrowleaf Cellars and Mission Hill Family Estate!

Some of the major prizes awarded are as follows:
World Champion of Pinot Noir Producers
Offered by the Fondation l’Homme et le Vin, Chamoson
Urs Pircher
Eglisau Zürich

Univerre Pro Uva prize, Sierre
Weingut Thomas Marugg
Blauburgunder Barrique 2007, Fläsch, Grisons (Blauburgunder is a German word for Pinot Noir.)

Millésimes Anciens (older vintages) prize
Offered by Nestlé Waters
Schlossgut Hohenbeilstein, Beilstein, Allemagne
Spätburgunder Auslese Trocken 2003, Württemberg (Spatburgunder also is a German word for Pinot Noir.)

Bourgogne Aujourd’hui prize
Décerné par la revue Bourgogne Aujourd’hui

Domaine de la Vougeraie
Nuits-Saint-Georges, France

Domaine Anne Parent
Pommard, France

Vinofed prize
Given by the Fédération Mondiale des Grands Concours Internationaux de Vins et de Spiritueux
Weingut Kuhnle, Weinstadt, Allemagne
Pinot Noir Barrique 2006, Qualitätswein Württemberg

Découverte (discovery) prize
Given by la Ville de Sierre
André Fontannaz, Cave la Madeleine, Vétroz, Valais
Malvoisie flétrie sur souche 2008, AOC Valais

A new prize was offered for 2009 at the Mondial du Pinot Noir called the “Producers of Pinot Noir World Champion“. For this special category the judges test three consecutive vintages, all more recent than 1995, which the producer has selected. The inaugural winner of this award was Urs Pircher from Eglisau Zürich.

If you are planning on being in Switzerland on August 20-22, 2010, maybe drop in on the 13th Le Mondial du Pinot Noir?

(Mondail is French for World if you were wondering). Enjoy!