Home Winners > Winners 2017 > NEW WORLD: Pinot Noir, USA & Canada

Winner Details

New World: Pinot Noir, USA & Canada

2017 Gold: 2 Silver: 4 Bronze: 4 Commended: 2
2016 Gold: 3 Silver: 4 Bronze: 0 Commended: 4

When teams spend most of their time debating value for money in the Sommelier Wine Awards, usually it’s a good thing: it means that the quality is solid, so the only issue is price.

Such was the case with these North American Pinots. While you wouldn’t be looking here for cheap wines (though we did have a couple of medals under £10), our tasters liked what was put before them. True, the styles are different to Burgundy, say, but the winemaking was good and they had character. And having grown from almost nothing a few years ago, this is a section of SWA that’s worth watching.


‘Very exciting, very positive, lots of good wines. Some of them carry a price, but that’s normal. Overall very pleasant, generous, positive flight. Some more traditional some more Burgundian. And the bar was quite high.’ Andrea Briccarello, team leader

‘It was difficult to find a pattern or identity in the wines. Either they were going leaner, tighter and fresher or going with ripeness and power.’ Charlie Young, Vinoteca

‘This is an important category – really good if I compare to the past five years. Now we see a more Burgundian style in the USA that I really like.’ Lionel Periner, team leader

‘We debated a lot about value and prices, but most of us were happy with most of the wines in this flight. We selected a couple for Gold that were really good value and would stand against classic Burgundies.’ Jacopo Mazzeo, The Pig Hotel at Brockenhurst

Award winners

Found 12 wines

New World: Pinot Noir, USA & Canada

Walter Hansel, Estate, Pinot Noir 2013, Russian River Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

A shining example of Russian River Pinot, there was no doubt this deserved Gold. ‘Some signs of ageing in the glass,’ began Jacopo Mazzeo of The Pig Hotel (Brockenhurst), describing ‘smooth, soft tannins, toasty notes with some dried fruits and berries on the palate, great balance and some freshness and spiciness’. ‘Very intense, textbook nose of cranberry and cherry,’ added team leader Andrea Briccarello, who found it ‘very focused and exotic, with plenty of personality and charm’. A great option for ‘beetroot dishes like red borscht, bigos or goulash’, suggested Buddha Bar’s Piotr Artur Tomaszewski.

£25.05 Bibendum

Meiomi, Pinot Noir 2015, Monterey/Sonoma/Santa Barbara, California, USA

Gold medal winner

As Meiomi’s Pinot was handed the Gold, Arnaud Fiol of The Don Restaurant described ‘red flowers and fruit cake character, and a rich but well-balanced palate’, while Harbour Heights Hotel’s Marek Rakowski found ‘intense ripe strawberry with brown spices and ginger notes, a long finish and all at a good price level’. Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse added: ‘Nicely balanced with a chocolatey taste mixed with young berries, would go nicely with a garlic lamb shoulder.’

£14.29 Matthew Clark

Foley Family Vineyards, The Four Graces, Reserve, Pinot Noir 2012, Dundee Hills, Oregon, USA

Silver medal winner

A ‘full, inky, cool style’, said team leader Jade Koch, showing ‘blackcurrant and big drying tannins, with acids there but in the background’, while Vinoteca’s Charlie Young found an ‘almost mineral nose, taut palate, good tannins and crunchy fruit with an elegant finish’. ‘Lingering taste, great with game meats,’ chipped in Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse.

£28.04 Matthew Clark

DeLoach, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir 2015, California, USA

Silver medal winner

There was ‘intense minerality on the nose, quite a full mouthfeel, firm tannins and excellent acidity that calls for food’, said Jacopo Mazzeo of The Pig Hotel (Brockenhurst), with team leader Andrea Briccarello finding ‘cherry and leafy notes, great vibrant fruit with a meaty and juicy character, good balance and length’.

£17.95 Liberty Wines

Jackson Family Wines, Cambria, Benchbreak, Pinot Noir 2013, Santa Maria Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

Senior judge Lionel Periner found ‘lightness but intensity, aromas of dark cherry and floral hints, then a well-balanced palate and pleasing finish with notes of spice’, with Corin Ireland of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms noting ‘a whisper of violets and very fine, soft tannins’.

£13.58 Fells

Joseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards, Pinot Noir 2014, Sonoma Coast, California, USA

Silver medal winner

Team leader Lionel Periner was happy with this wine’s ‘complex, ripe berries, cranberry, strawberry and tomato leaf aromas, with hints of forest floor, a well-balanced and fruity palate with well-integrated oak, then velvet tannins on a long finish’. ‘Silky and seductive, very elegant and sophisticated with great structure and texture,’ added fellow team leader Andrea Briccarello.

£31.01 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Wine Hooligans, Cycles Gladiator, Pinot Noir 2013, Central Coast, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

With Vinoteca’s Charlie Young highlighting ‘dark berry, plum and leaf aromas, intense and fairly powerful palate’, team leader Jade Koch pointed to its ‘toast and fruit-forward Pinot style with young drying tannins, making it identifiably US and fun’.

£8.01 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Adelsheim, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir 2014, Oregon, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Cranberry and cherry with smoked notes on the nose,’ began team leader Andrea Briccarello, who was pleased with its ‘dry, lean and very Burgundian style, with a rich core of fruit followed by smooth tannins and a long finish’.

£21.46 Boutinot

Norman Hardie, Pinot Noir 2014, Niagara Peninsula, Canada

Bronze medal winner

‘The nose is fresh, with lots of black cherries and rose petals,’ began The Don Restaurant’s Arnaud Fiol, also noting ‘a smooth, harmonious palate with a delicate finish’. ‘Great fruit definition, high tannins with a touch of perfume on a dry finish,’ added Vinoteca’s Charlie Young.

£21.15 Bibendum

Hahn, Pinot Noir 2015, Monterey County, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Intense, dark forest fruit nose, ripe and concentrated with a very rich, jammy palate,’ said team leader Andrea Briccarello, who enjoyed its ‘spicy, savoury oak aromas with notes of overripe plums’.

£9.93 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Silver Palm, Pinot Noir 2014, Central Coast, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£12.18 Boutinot

Morgan, Double L Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2014, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£33.98 Bibendum


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