Six Nations Wine Challenge

Last week I was busy judging The Six Nations Wine Challenge with five colleagues, and the preliminary results are very interesting.

The malbec class, which should be a shoo-in for Argentina, was won by Australia, while the shiraz class which would normally be a strength for us was won by Argentina. When we were told this at the end of the judging, I offered to barter with the Argentinian judge Fabricio Portelli (pictured above working hard with me), just in jest. “I’ll give you the malbec trophy if you give me the shiraz,” I kidded. That way, we’d both avoid a lynching when the results get out. But Fabricio wasn’t coming across.

The other judges were Bob Campbell (New Zealand), Michael Fridjhon (South Africa), Eduardo Brethauer (Chile – pictured below) and Dan Berger (USA). Each nation’s representative is asked to nominate 100 of his country’s best wines across 16 categories. Judging takes three days, administrated by Judith Kennedy and her Boutique Wineries Association.

The full results won’t be out for several weeks but I can tell you which nations won which trophies. The top nation of the show was New Zealand (with the highest aggregate points). Bob Campbell said this was only the third time this had happened in the 12 years of the competition. Australia came second, then (in order) South Africa, USA, Chile and Argentina.

There are 16 trophies. Australia, South Africa and New Zealand each won four trophies, Chile two, and Argentina and USA one each. Australia’s trophies were for the best white blend, red blend, malbec and ‘other’ white variety (in this case, an aged semillon). New Zealand had the best aromatic non-riesling white (a gewürztraminer), chardonnay, pinot noir and dessert wine, while Chile surprised by having the best riesling as well as best merlot. South Africa topped sparkling, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and ‘other’ red varieties (with a petit verdot). USA had the top Bordeaux blend, and Argentina the best shiraz. More results later. 

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