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CMB: Concours Mondial completes 10 Years on Tour

Posted: Tuesday, 12 May 2015 18:03

CMB: Concours Mondial completes 10 Years on Tour

May 12: The 22nd edition of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles held at the Italian seaside resort of Lido di Jesolo near Venice from May 1 to 3 marked the completion of 10 years since the competition moved out of Brussels to different cities 10 editions ago, writes Subhash Arora who was one of the 300 international judges from around 50 countries judging around 8,000 wines

Click For Large ViewAs the sports arena Pala Arrex at Jesolo converted into a big hall is opened to about 280 people waiting outside, one is welcomed with 40,000 watts of pure sound belting out Pavarotti with light blue lights emanating from the stage, making it look like a music concert. But 55 table arrangements with a set of 5 tables, one facing the other 4, is a giveaway that it is the venue for the 22nd edition of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles that completed 20 years in Brussels last year.

The familiar figure of Competition Chairman, Baudouin Harvay welcomes the judges who are busy exchanging pleasantries with the old friends and introducing themselves to the first timers. Thomas Costenoble, Competition Director and a proficient ‘conductor’ of the proceedings takes charge and with his traditional welcome in French and English, the competition is underway within minutes.

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) was started in  1994 by Baudouin’s father in Brussels. In 2006, it was taken out of Brussels, to Lisbon. It went on to Maastricht (2007) and Bordeaux (2008) followed by Valencia in 2009 where Subhash Arora was also invited as the sole Indian judge and has been on the panel every year since- Palermo (2010), Luxemburg (2011),  Guimarães-between Vinho Verde and the Douro in Portugal (2012) and Bratislava, the Capital of Slovakia (2013). The last year’s edition marked the 20th year and was understandably held in the home city of Brussels.

Click For Large ViewAccording to Baudouin, ‘it is the only competition in the world that is held in different country every year. This gives the international judges an added motivation to come for tastings as they get an additional opportunity to visit the wineries and vineyards of the host countries.’ This year they visited Soave and the Prosecco Superiore docg region of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene besides a visit to Venice. The judges have the option to extend their stay to explore the wine regions on their own. It seems to be a herculean task to organise the logistics for 8000 wines including the storage and service. But Baudouin smiles when he says, ‘ yes, it was very difficult in the first couple of outings but now we have become proficient and have a well-oiled machinery and if other competitions even want to copy our style, they would have a lot of problems initially.’

This year’s competition also bore the tagline as ‘A United Nations of Fine Wines.’ One can understand the ‘United Nations of Wines’ part as it has samples from 51 countries, more than the members if OIV under whose patronage the competition has evolved. But ‘Fine Wines’ in a competition was a bit difficult for me to swallow until Baudouin explained, ‘we are getting better and better wines every year. Producers know that sending samples of any wines won’t do. The Medal winners, especially the Gold and Great Gold winners are  really fine wines.’ The completion awards Silver, Gold and Great Golds, the later two are rather limited.

Click For Large ViewThere is also a post-monitoring system in place to ensure the legitimacy of the results. It has also worked out a system to check out the efficacy and consistency of the judges by working with researchers at the Statistics Institute at the Catholic University of Louvain. While a total of a maximum of 50 samples are tasted by every jury members, 2 wines are the same in a random order to see the scores and put them through the system.

As usual, France led the number of samples by sending over 2400 samples. Spain (1570), Italy (1226) and Portugal (1033) followed in the order. The statistics show that India had sent 2 samples also (since everything is blind for the judges  one does not know which wineries sent the samples).

The results of the Concours Mondial have been announced today and may be viewed on  In addition to the medals, the competition also awards special prizes to wines scoring highest in their category:

  • Best Sparkling: Champagne Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésimé 1999 (France, Champagne)
  • Best White: Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2013 (South Africa, Stellenbosch)
  • Best Rosé: Cote des Roses 2014 (France, Languedoc-Roussillon)
  • Best Red: Nican 2008 (Italy, Abruzzo)

Subhash Arora

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