“Pinot Noir is always a hotly contested trophy at the competition,” she says. “As a long-time Burgundy lover, I always enjoy judging this category whenever possible and seeing the final results in this award category." This is a selection of some of the top Pinot Noir from the 2017 HKIWSC. The results were announced at a Gala Awards Ceremony on 9 November at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, where wineries and spirit producers from all over the world gathered to celebrate. 2017 is the ninth year of the HKIWSC, and the competition awarded 61 trophies, recognising the best wine and spirits for the Asian market. It was judged by a record-sized judging panel of 49 wine and spirits experts from across Asia. These are the top sommeliers, food and beverage managers, educators, critics, wine trade professionals and media from all over the region, making it truly reflective of the “voices of Asia”.
1. Taylors Wines Jaraman Pinot Noir 2016
Pinot Noir is a wonderful variety, that is approachable for newcomers to wine, as it is lighter bodied, elegant and rarely overly robust. Its earthy complexity, particularly when aged, beguiles wine connoisseurs all over the world.
It was a wonderful surprise to have an Australian pinot noir take out the trophy for the Best Pinot Noir this year. This category has been dominated by New Zealand for the past few years, even won by the same wine two years in a row (Cobblestone Vineyards "Te Muna" Martinborough Pinot Noir). This result is significant of a new wave of cool climate Australian wines emerging from regions like Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and even Tasmania. A hot trend in Australia, we are excited to see more wines from these “emerging regions” hitting our shores recently. This wine shows wonderful elegance and balance, with lots of red fruit, and soft but structured tannins. A great example of what is coming out of the Yarra at the moment – top quality and excellent value.
2. Cobblestone Vineyards "Te Muna" Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015
Cobblestone Vineyards is based in California, with vineyards in two different regions of the Sunshine State. But the “pursuit of perfection” led these dedicated winemakers to New Zealand where they purchased 10 acres in Martinborough. Their gamble certainly paid off – this wine is a double trophy winner in the “Best Pinot Noir” category and "Best New Zealand Wine" category at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition over the years. It is always a true contender for top Pinot Noir, and was right up there again this year. Burgundian in character, this superbly complex wine is ripe with fresh New World fruit yet perfectly balanced to offer all-round elegance.
3. Jackson Family Wines La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2015
Jackson Family Wines’ wineries are all class and this beautiful Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is characterised by the rugged beauty of the region. It is a versatile pinot noir, very popular amongst sommeliers in the US as a wine by the glass. I can picture it pairing well with a variety of meats, and would work well with many items on our Cantonese dim sum tables. This was a silver medal winner in this year's HKIWSC.
4. Marisco Vineyards The Ned Pinot Noir 2015
This wine is consistently on the medal podium. Its various vintages have received 12 medals over the past four years, both in the Best Pinot Noir category, as well as across a diverse range of our Asian food and wine pairing awards. The silver medal-winning 2015 vintage produced a low yield of fruit, and as such, this wine has a wonderful fruit intensity and fresh acidity. It is a perfect pairing with beef teppanyaki, Peking duck, and smoked pigeon with oolong tea leaves.
5. Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2014
Another of the Kiwi Pinot Noirs to rank in the Top 10, this silver medal-winning wine has captured our judges’ attention in the previous editions, receiving medals for the past three years. New Zealand Pinot Noir is truly outshining its white counterpart (Sauvignon Blanc), here in Asia, drawing Burgundy-lovers, but offering a very fresh, elegant and food-friendliness to many of its wines. This wine has an abundance of raspberries and cherries with great acidity and a lingering finish.
Leading image courtesy of Spy Valley