Sep 02: Covid-19 changed many things in the world of wine but MundusVini International Wine Awards organises were determined enough to carry out the Summer Tasting on August 27-30 in which 4,500 wines presented were judged by a panel of 120 European wine experts under strict hygiene conditions, writes Subhash Arora who had to miss attending what would have been his 18th consecutive presence
Many things were different at this year's MundusVini Summer Tasting, but not the high quality of wines tasted at the world-renowned MundusVini Grand International Wine Award, at its 27th edition organised at the regular venue, the historic 150- year old Saalbau in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Pfalz (Palatinate), Germany. Covid-19 had made sure that participating judges from outside Europe were excluded this year; not all from Europe could attend either.
A total of 120 experts tasted and scored almost 4,500 wines from the whole world during the four days ending on 30 August, the last Sunday of the month, keeping alive a tradition. It was heartening to note that despite the challenges, the results were declared within 2 days on Tuesday, 1 September, 2020-again a tradition that has been maintained. The efficiency and proficiency of the Awards announced within 2 days of finishing, is an enviable feat, reported earlier by delWine.
A total of 1781 medals (though the details indicate 1773) were awarded -13 Grand Gold, 919 Gold and 849 Silver medals. Wines from Italy were again the winners with a total of 552 awards, followed by Spain (320), Germany (282), France (112) and Portugal (96). However, wines from overseas nations such as Australia (59), South Africa (36) and the US (28) also impressed with their quality and performance.
"This year again our expert jury was impressed by the wine quality. We are very pleased that we can help to provide a worthy platform for the best wines with this award in current difficult times," said tasting director Christian Wolf. Though the maximum wines were in the €5-10 range, there were 394 wines in the €10-15 category and 250 in €20-30 category. In fact, 124 wines were between €30-50 Category and 42 were even higher priced in the market at more than €50- justifying Christian’s claims of wine quality. Price category of wines is not disclosed to the tasters, however.
Interestingly top three regions sending the samples were from Italy- Veneto (127), Puglia 90) and Tuscany (77), followed by the home region of Palatinate (Pfalz) with 75, closely followed by Castilla y Leon (73) in Spain. Cabernet Sauvignon was the king grape (195) followed by the Spanish Tempranillo (161) and Merlot (161) among the red medal winners. White wines excelling were Chardonnay (117) and Riesling (117). As may be expected, the 2019 vintage won the most medals (690), followed by 2018 (404) though 21 of the young 2020 (from Southern Hemisphere-like Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina, and South Africa) also won medals.
Since the beginning of the Corona Pandemic, MundusVini had decided to proceed with the Summer Tasting 2020 at the scheduled time and were there to help the producers participate. ‘Together we have developed and implemented an appropriate safety concept. It would have been a pity if we had not been able to give our professional recommendations for the best wines at the 2020 summer tasting,’ says Christian Wolf, adding ‘both the producers and consumers have been relying on the tasting results of Mundus Vini for 20 years now. We did not want to disappoint this trust’.
Another example of the wonderful atmosphere at the Tasting shone bright when Arora sent a message to Christian on Saturday, only a day before the final Tasting on Sunday requesting him to organise a Zoom session inviting the judges who could not be invited this year to ‘participate’ in the final ‘Thank You’ speech and rituals. Wolf again put his best foot forward and motivated the already overburdened IT team to organise the event on Sunday at 10 AM local time when Herr Christoph Meininger and Christian made their final speeches. The usual pomp and show was missing this time, thanks to the Social Distancing norms but the judges present and not, appreciated the fine gesture.
Although Arora could not participate this time that would have been his record continuous participation in the same wine competition for 18th time, the India tri-colour was kept flying high with the presence of an Indian taster Kanupriya Hener. Originally from Delhi, Kanupriya is married to a young German wine producer Pawel Hener whose family owns an organic winery Weingut Heinz Pfaffmann in Walsheim, Pfalz, about 20 kms, from Neustadt. She carried the torch for India as a judge, though as always, there were no wines from India.
The next edition of Mundus Vini will be in February 2021 and one hopes Covid-19 would be a thing of the past or a part of our everyday life so one can hope to participate in the event.
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