India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Mondial du Pinot Noir: Tasting Pinots in Switzerland

Posted: Tuesday, 23 August 2011 14:30

Mondial du Pinot Noir: Tasting Pinots in Switzerland

August 23: There were over 1300 samples submitted at the 14th edition of Mondial du Pinot Noir international wine competition held between August 19-21 at Sierre, the Swiss Capital of Wine, located in the biggest Swiss wine region of Valais and the base for several ski resorts including the famous Crans Montana, writes Subhash Arora who was invited as one of the international judges by the organizers, Association VINEA.

Pinot Noir is the star red grape of Switzerland and has made enviable strides in quality over the last few years, winning top awards in the international competitions. Around 58% of all Swiss red wines are made from this signature red Burgundy grape varietal. This was perhaps the genesis of this international wine competition in which 861 of the 1314 wines entered were Pinot Noir red still wines.

Although the completion has been titled as ‘Mondial du Pinot Noir’, the organizers have also added over the years, other members of the Pinot family- namely Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Thus, the full spectrum of wines- white, red, rosé and sparkling was available for judging-including a range of white and red dessert wines. As may be expected, 74% of wines tasted were Swiss followed by German and French. A great majority of wines tasted were young, with about 40 % being from 2010 and 41% from 2009 vintage.

The competition is one of the over 40 competitions organised annually by the member states of OIV under the rules and patronage of OIV. The rules mandate that a maximum of 30% of the wines submitted may be awarded medals- silver (85 %+), gold (89 %+) and great gold (94 %+). There is also a category of Pinot Noir Champion du Monde.  Each morning must start with two samples judged and discussed universally on the first day and within the panel on the following days to help calibrate the marking by each juror.  The panel here consisted of 5 judges, with 2-3 being Swiss and the rest being foreign. Each judge marks individually, based on the well established criteria of colour, aromas, flavour after-taste and general impression of the wine.

An interesting feature is the use of computers for marking scores. I was impressed when Francois Murisier, President of the producers' Association, disclosed that they have been using this system since 2003. Essentially, the president of each jury panel monitors the computer system of all his panelists. As the sample is poured in the Riedel glass, the President clicks for others to open their system for the designated sample. The marking is done (maximum 100 points)  on the computer with the click of a button giving all the individual scores, average, range etc which are  recorded and are normally not changeable .

One of the wines from Burgundy had an extremely diversified score varying from no medal (even considered faulty by a judge by his very low score) to a Gold medal. I was keen to taste wine from another bottle after it had been scored (the first one was not corked so one could not request another bottle-according to the rules if two jurors feel it is corked they can request for another bottle) just so we could discuss the reasons for such diverse scores, but Francois politely but firmly declined the request, saying it was against the rules.

At the end of each session, the jurors are handed out a sheet which discloses which country or region the wines tasted that day were from (a maximum of 45 samples may be judged in a single session). It was interesting and reassuring to find that a great majority of jurors were incorrect in guessing the origin of wines.

Click For Large ViewThe Indian flag has flown for the first time in a Swiss wine competition with the presence of Subhash Arora who was one of the 58 jury members from 13 nations tasting wines from 21 countries. In fact, he was one of the privileged jurors who were mentioned in the Press Communiqué. ‘The group of professionals notably includes Subhash Arora of the Indian Wine Academy, Rafael Perez, President of Slow food of Switzerland and Sébastien Gavillet from Wine Aromas in Los Angeles. These specialists will be available for meetings or interviews,’ read the Press Release, enticing a journalist from one daily newspaper from the region to interview him later about the Indian wine industry.

A curios question asked by many at such competitions is about the quality of wines tasted. Although it would be premature and unethical to discuss specifics, suffice it to say that there were some great wines from Burgundy and some really terrible ones too-ditto for Swiss Pinot Noirs. There were a couple of pleasant surprises with a couple of Great Golds from unexpected quarters but that is what the competitions like Mondial du Pinot Noir also bring to the table-an objective and neutral tasting by professionals that allow some unknowns to shine. Results will be declared at the18th edition of VINEA, the annual wine show being organised also by the same Association on September 2-4 in Sierre.

On a personal note, another interesting aspect of the competition was that partly because of the listing of names by the organizers and partly because of the familiarity and ease in pronunciation, many of the jurors ending up assuming my first name was Cavalier. So next time if any of you meet a juror friend who asks you if you know Cavalier from India, he or she may be referring to me as my first name.

Though relatively small, this is a well –oiled, professionally organised international competition nicely managed by Elizabeth Pasquier, the warm and friendly Managing Director of Association VINEA and her team. Although India ought to take part in the international wine competitions, this is one concourse that may not be on their radar for a few years- Indian producers have not yet managed to grow decent Pinot Noir- or even a Blanc or Gris (known as Pinot Grigio in Italy).

Cavalier (Subhash) Arora



Gunnar Says:

Hello Subash, Great article on Pinot Noir Mondial! I thoroughly enjoyed it!Now it is time to start preparing for Mundus Vini!All the best, Gunnar

Posted @ August 25, 2011 12:13


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet