Showcasing the depth and breadth of Australian Pinot Noir regions.
The Australian Pinot Noir Challenge celebrates
Pinot Noir in all its forms.
Australia is home to pinot noir growers and makers persistently seeking a more pure expression of their sites and the variety.
The advancement the Australian wine community has made in understanding all the variables which make pinot noir in Australia something truly remarkable, is outstanding.
Over three decades, the pinot noir community across regions has been brought together by a shared passion to improve, innovate and learn how to achieve pinot noir wines of superior quality. They have become a cohesive, intimate community determined to bring Australian pinot noir to a level which is world class.
The Australian Pinot Noir Challenge celebrates this achievement and all the elements which makes Australian pinot noir such a captivating, ethereal and elegant wine.
The challenge will bring the best of Australia’s pinot noirs to the attention of industry and consumers and help inform wine lovers about what makes Australian pinot noir distinctive and remarkable.
Tasmania wins fourth consecutive Australian Pinot Challenge
At a gala dinner at Cutler & Co in Melbourne on 5 October, Tasmania was announced as the winner with its 2022 Meadowbank Pinot Noir made by winemaking legend, Peter Dredge, marking the fourth win for Tasmania in the show’s six-year history.
After the top three wines were decided, it was an epic battle for top spot with the Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills also in close contention. Many hours of deliberation ensued, with the judging panel, Chaired by Matt Harrop of Curly Flat Vineyard, agreeing that the Tasmanian entrant deserved the trophy.
Located in the Derwent Valley, Meadowbank is owned by the Ellis family and is regarded as a pioneer in Tasmanian viticulture, with Gerald Ellis planting vines on his property in 1976 despite wide scepticism. The warm days and cool nights have proved to be ideal for Pinot Noir with Meadowbank producing fruit of near ethereal quality. Today, father and daughter duo, Gerald and Mardi, manage the prestigious vineyard.
Mardi Ellis is elated with the win. “What an honour and what an exhilarating ride! We feel extremely humbled and excited to receive this award. When Dad (Gerald Ellis) first started Meadowbank almost 50 years ago, he was told you couldn’t grow grapes in the cold wilderness of Tasmania. For our Pinot Noir to be recognised in this fabulous way is a not to Gerald’s intuitive defiance, Pete’s deft winemaking and our family’s ongoing stewardship and respect for this magical place.” Ellis exclaimed.
Peter Dredge has been at the winemaking helm at Meadowbank since 2015 and has worked closely with the vineyard since 2010. In 2017 he was awarded the People’s Choice award at the Young Gun of Wine Awards and in 2020 he was a top 8 finalist for Gourmet Traveller WINE Winemaker of the year.
“It has been such a pleasure to work with this beautiful vineyard for 13 years now. Since becoming a partner with Meadowbank, our soul focus has been reinvigorating the single vineyard releases by honing in on the strengths and weaknesses of the vineyard which is abound with climatic challenges. It feels like the work and dedication may finally be coming to fruition. We would never presume to work harder than any other pinot noir producer in the country. We all work our arses off. If you know pinot, you know…bastard of a thing it is.” Peter Dredge commented.
Regional Trophy Winners
The Australian Pinot Noir Challenge is a celebration of pinot noir wines from across the country and we congratulate regional winners and the very best pinot noir for 2023.
Geelong – 2022 Mulline Portarlington Pinot Noir
Gippsland – 2022 Dirty Three “Magic Dirt” Pinot Noir
Adelaide Hills – 2022 Turon Wines Hills Pinot Noir
Mornington Peninsula – 2022 Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley – 2022 Oakridge Vineyard Series Willowlake Pinot Noir
Tasmania – 2022 Meadowbank Pinot Noir
Lindsay McCall, Chair of the Australian Pinot Noir Challenge is delighted to see such strong representation across 18 premium pinot noir producing regions. Entries have grown close to 20% on the previous year which is testament to the show’s growing reputation and its ability to amplify sales and brand recognition for its past winners.
“Australia is universally recognised as a premium pinot noir producing country. Our competitive edge is the outstanding quality of pinot produced in so many cool climate regions.” McCall said.
“The Australian Pinot Noir Challenge celebrates the incredible wines from all regions and the ethereal nature of this complex and captivating variety that has become the world’s most exclusive and expensive wine.” he concluded.
The Top 50 Pinot Noir Tasting
Top 50 Pinot Noir is an exclusive showcase of highest scoring wines judged at the Challenge, including the regional trophy winners and ultimately the winner of the best pinot noir in Australia for 2023.
The event was held at Canvas House in South Melbourne on 7 October, and with pinot noir being the fastest growing varietal in Australia, tickets were snapped up.
Some of these include: Gilbert | Brangayne of Orange | Dirty Three | Cannibal Creek | Turon Wines | Sidewood Estate | Paracombe | Mulline | Scotchmans Hill | Baillieu | Dexter | Foxeys Hangout | Montalto | Paringa Estate | Stonier | Crittenden | Yabby Lake | Giant Steps | Oakridge | Seville Estate | Medhurst | Lonely Shore | Lowestoft | Handpicked Wines | Meadowbank | Mewstone | Pipers Brook | Pressing Matters
Guests enjoyed unlimited tastings of the top pinot noir wines in Australia, a generous grazing table and a RIEDEL glass to take home.
“The Pinot Noir Challenge is the finest assemblage of the variety in the country, and provides the platform for celebrating a distinctive Australian interpretation of pinot noir.”
Matt Harrop, Chair of Judges