Judging for the third year at the Les Grandes du Monde Strasbourg was an absolute delight, tasting wines from around the world. This year saw 70 judges from 16 countries judge 766 wines coming from 20 countries. Only wines permitted in the Alsace Appellation are allowed to be entered into the show and these grapes are all white: pinot blanc, pinot gris, sylvaner, riesling and gewurztraminer.
For a wine to win a gold medal it must gain a minimum of 84 points; silver, a minimum of 82 points, and only 30 per cent of all wines can be awarded a medal. We tasted all the above grape varieties, which came from such diverse places as Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Lebanon, Luxenbourg, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland.
The sommeliers are trained by Antoine Woerle, who is the lecturer from the Lycée Hôtelier Alexandre Dumas of Illkirch-Graffenstaden, near Strasbourg.
They do an excellent job in looking after the judges and accompany us on sightseeing trips around Strasbourg and the wider region looking at vineyards and tasting wines in the small hamlets around this beautiful part of the world. More importantly, our hosts, Christine and Dave Collins, hold it all together and make this show all the more enjoyable and a pleasure to judge at each year.
This year saw only 19 entries from Australia, which is nothing considering there are more than 700 Aussie wineries exporting around the world combined with 1500 Australian wines available on international supermarket shelves.
It’s a great pity there wasn’t a larger Australian contingent entered into this show.
It’s not too often you come across a savvy from the Padthaway region of South Australia but here’s one, the 2015 Jip Jip Rocks Sauvignon Blanc: bright green in colour, the nose displays herbaceous pineapple, grapefruit and citrus notes. The palate is crisp and refreshing with lemon and lime together with loads of tropical fruit. The finish is dry and crisp with racy acidity (rrp $21).
Its stablemate is the 2015 Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay, bright lemon in colour with green tinges around the rim. The palate is fruit-driven with hints of lime, pineapple and cucumber flavours. The finish is dry with persistent fruit and balanced acidity with a mineral streak (rrp $21).
How refreshing it is to be drinking a sparkling wine during the autumn and winter months — though I have friends who drink nothing else all year round! Mudgee-based Huntington Estate has produced a sparkling wine made from 50 per cent chardonnay and 50 per cent pinot noir.