Home Winners > Winners 2014 > NEW WORLD: Pinot Noir, Rest of the New World

Winner Details

Pinot Noir: Rest of the New World

2014: Gold 5 Silver 9 Bronze 7 Commended 6
2013: Gold 4 Silver 3 Bronze 8 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 60%
Overall SWA performance 2014: B

In pure medal terms, this was an impressive performance from the non-NZ bit of the New World. There were plenty of awarded wines and in our five Gold-Listed wines, we achieved a fabulous spread of good wines at key price points, from Nissan Micra to BMW.

The only disappointments were South Africa (question marks about alcohol levels in many of the wines, if not the two medal winners) and Argentina (as usual, few entries). But for Australia, Chile and the US there were signs of real interest.
Of course, this being Pinot Noir (and, you could add, this being sommeliers) nothing was unanimous – and there was plenty of discussion. But some trends did emerge.

Australia was seen as being the country that (as with Chardonnay) is moving most closely to a Burgundian style. Words like ‘restraint’ and ‘savoury elements’ cropped up again and again. Not many were cheap (so congrats to Yering Station) but there were signs of real ambition here.

Chile caused more problems. It’s clearly good at the ‘simple varietal’ style – as seven medal-winning sub-£10 Pinots proves. There was criticism that the more expensive wines rarely justified the higher price tags.But there was also a conundrum.

Our tasters detected moves to a funkier style. But while they generally liked it, they weren’t sure whether people would expect such wines from Chile. A bit like going to an Engelbert Humperdinck concert and finding him playing thrash metal.

Still, if the country is ever to justify its higher prices it needs to try stuff like this – and somms will have to learn how to sell it. However, the ‘grown-up wine’ style comes with a warning – the wines need to be ready to drink.

This, interestingly, was what held some of the better, less obvious Californian entries back. ‘A case of open today, drink tomorrow,’ as team leader Simon Woods put it. And of course, drinking today is what this competition is all about.

FOOTNOTE: Excludes Pinot Noir from New Zealand.


Chile picked up nearly as many medals for Pinot Noir – 12  – as New Zealand

From the Tasting Teams

‘Pinot from South Africa (in fact, the New World in general) needs to deliver on fruit and be balanced, while also delivering good value at the price.’ Attila Sutus, Hotel Crocus

‘The Australian flight was quite mixed stylistically, but that is probably a good thing because people who like Pinot tend to like Pinot in general anyway. There were some very attractive wines here.’ Olivier Marie, Coq d’Argent

‘They have widened their horizons so much over the last few years. There are light, elegant ones and also darker, heavier ones. It’s good because you can find one that fits the different food you are having.’ Paul Quintela, The Cricketers

‘There is more forgiveness of certain characteristics in Burgundy, but fruit purity and cleanliness – freshness – is essential from
New World Pinot.’ Neil Bruce, team leader