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Posted: Thursday, 14 October 2021 23:36

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Strasbourg 2021: Le Mondial des Vins Blancs

Oct 14: Le Mondial des Vins Blancs, 'The white wines of the world' wine competition in Strasbourg, France, is the only wine competition in the world held under the patronage of the International Vine and Wine Organisation (OIV), dedicated entirely to the diversity of white wines, writes John Salvi MW who was invited to the Competition recently and shares his experience of the Competition

This international tasting competition is under the aegis of Strasbourg Events, which is one of a number of societies who are members of GL Events, a massive, international event organising company. 

However, the competition is organised, managed and run entirely and completely by Christine Collins and a team from Strasbourg Events, and has been for several years.  She has the responsibility as to who to invite, decides on the programme and decides exactly what the judges should do and when! 

It is her show in every way and thanks to her quite remarkable personality she manages to make, what is one of the most important international wine tasting competitions in the annual wine calendar, a friendly, joyful and almost intimate event. 

I flew from Bordeaux to Strasbourg on a direct flight by Volotea and was met by Christine who drove me to my hotel.  As the hotel in which we usually stay. was closed for renovation, we stayed in two hotels opposite the station.  I was in the Hotel des Vosges, which was very comfortable, with friendly staff and excellent service and I would not mind continuing to stay there in the future.  That night I had dinner in the hotel with Christine and her splendid English husband Dave and enjoyed one of the most succulent steaks for a long time.

Covid- Respect

All regulations pertaining to Covid were strictly observed and we were asked for our Passe Sanitaire everywhere we went and with impeccable attention.  This was very comforting and made us all feel safe and cared for.  I have refused tasting competitions where control was not exemplary as I regard this as of supreme importance if we wish to get back to normal as rapidly as possible

The tasting took place over two days in the “Palais de la Musique et des Congrès.” a vast and modern emporium capable of holding thousands and run by Strasbourg Events.  It was so large that when I asked one of the staff for the lift, he could not find it!!

We had 660 samples from 20 countries to judge and seventy judges from 21 countries to do the job.  Christine explained to her boss, “We should NOT reduce the number of judges just because we have fewer samples than last year.  This is a major tasting and must be seen to be so.” Thus, we were ten tables of seven judges each and the first day I judged thirty-three wines and the second thirty-one.  

Eighty-five points were required for a Silver Medal and eighty-nine for a Gold.  In an access of total stupidity, the Ministry of Agriculture has forbidden Grand Gold Medals in French competitions in case the judges are too moronic to tell the difference between Gold and Grand Gold.

Tasting conditions were ideal.  Cool, hugely spacious and extremely well lit.  We noted our marks on I-Pads powered by Mosaic Partners from Switzerland.  We used only one glass all the time, but it was replaced with a fresh one after any faulty wine.  I would have liked to see the sugar content of the wines on the tasting sheet.  We had a black spittoon, a bread roll, Carola mineral water, a white tablecloth and a national flag.  We had two pauses for refreshments during the morning and a buffet lunch after the tasting.

Prior to the tastings Christine presented Serge Dubs, best Sommelier in the world 1989, M. Antoine Woerle, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2003 in the Art de la Table and his sommelier students from the Lycée Hôtelier Alexandre Dumas, Mme Prof. Dr. Monika Christmann, President d’Honneur of the OIV and . Fernando Gurrucharri, President of Vinofed.  

After lunch there was a choice of two Masterclasses.  Either a MASTERCLASS CHILE or a MASTERCLASS GRANDS CRUS D’ALSACE.  After that, the rest of the afternoon was free until 19.00 when we assembled in the lobby of the hotel and made our way to the famous “L’Ancienne Douane” (restaurant since 1401) for a massive and utterly delicious CHOUCROUTE.

The second day the tasting followed the same pattern as the first and was also followed by a buffet, but this time after closing speeches by Mme Prof. Dr. Monika Christmann and M. Fernando Gurrucharri.

That was the end of the Competition, but the ever-generous Christine invited everybody who was not leaving that day to an “eat as much as you can” evening of “flammeküche” (tarte flambée) at the Brasserie le Météor.  I was seated next to a young Russian lady who is endeavouring to be the first Russian Master of Wine.  I wish her well.  It now costs an absolute fortune to sit the exam and one must be very dedicated to undertake it.

There was one  GRAND PRIX DU JURY  for the wine that obtained the highest marks in the competition.  This was  BECHT PIERRE ET FREDERIC EARL/DORLISHEIM/FRANCE.  There was one VINOFED prize and11 Dry Wine Trophies.  Gold and Silver Medals were won by winegrowers from Australia, Chile, CzechRepublic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Moldova, Spain, Slovakia and Ukraine.  Outof the 660 samples the judges awarded a total of 185 medals of which 81 were Gold and 104 Silver.  This is neatly within the regulation limit of the OIV of a maximum of 30%, (198).  The full results can be found on:  https://www.mondial-vins-blancs.com/resultats/

This competition was a wonderful and successful event thanks to Christine and Dave Collins and sincerest congratulations to all concerned in the organisation.  I hope to be invited again next year.

John Salvi MW

 

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