Every year, in
August, AGP holds its annual Australian Pinot Noir Challenge and it's the
only one of its kind. The word Challenge is rather apt as it is different
enough to haul the judges out of their comfort zone and although it sound
like a lot of fun, (which it is) it's also a lot of hard work.
12 Judges evaluate 12
Pinot Noirs. All masked, first without food and the scores are tallied.
Then the same 12 masked Pinot Noirs are re-evaluated with a course of food.
Again the scores are tallied. Note also that the wines are not scored in
the traditional sense, but they are rated. Best wine gets a score of 1 and
worst wine gets a score of 12, ergo the wine with the lowest score wins.
Most years the winner of the Challenge 'Without' food and the winner 'With'
food are different wines, but we did have a couple of years where the
winner was the same in both categories. This time, for the first time ever,
the first 3 places were exactly the same wines for both Challenges. Unheard
of and amazing.
This year's Challenge,
the 11th so far, was held at Marque Restaurant in Sydney and the food was
absolutely superb. If for whatever reason you have not eaten at Marque as
yet, or it's a long time ago, you need to go and sample Mark Best's food.
Needless to say the service and attention to detail was impeccable.
I would like to thank
Mark Best and his team for looking after us so brilliantly, all the judges
for lending us their palates and time and the Australian Wine Makers for
crafting such great wines.