Tasmanian newcomer wins the Australian Pinot Noir challenge

Image Courtesy Kerri Lyons

A young Tasmanian wine brand, OSSA Wines, has won the 2021 Australian Pinot Noir Trophy for their 2020 OSSA Pinot Noir.

Judged on November 10, 2021 and awarded last night at a dinner in Melbourne, it was the highest scoring wine of the 227 entries at this year’s Australian Pinot Noir Challenge.

It scored 96 points out of 100, making it the top wine of the show.

Chief Judge of the Australian Pinot Noir Challenge, David Bicknell said the 2020 OSSA Pinot Noir made an impression on the judges, standing above a really strong class of Tasmanian pinot noir wines.

“It was a remarkable, head turning wine. A bit of a ‘wow’ moment for the judging panel assessing this class of wines.

“The standard across all the classes was high, even factoring in how tricky 2020 was for several regions,” said Bicknell.

Upon receiving news about the award, winemaker Liam McElhinney, said it was a real thrill for owners Rod and Cecile Roberts, who own the brand and OSSA Wine’s Belbrook Vineyard in Cranbrook, Tasmania.

“They really can’t believe it,” said McElhinney.

“From the outset, OSSA Wines has been focused on achieving the absolute pinnacle of Tasmanian wine. We didn’t think we would achieve the absolute pinnacle of Australian Pinot Noir wines on our first release.”

The 2020 OSSA Pinot Noir also took out the Best of Region Trophy for Tasmania.

“We have quietly considered the Pinot Noir to be the star of our first OSSA Wines lineup. It’s great to receive recognition from our peers for the standard we have been seeking.

“It’s an absolutely seamless wine with stunning perfume, layers of exotic fruit and spice, and with a real depth of charm and pinosity.”

Western Australia was also a first time winner at this year’s Australian Pinot Noir Challenge with the first WA Best of Region trophy awarded since the challenge began in 2017. The 2020 Lonely Shore Pinot Noir from Manjimup, was the WA winner scoring 95 points out of 100.

The three other Best of Region Trophies also scored 95 points and went to Victorian wines:

the 2020 Paringa Estate Robinson Vineyard Pinot Noir for the Mornington Peninsula region, the 2020 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir for the Yarra Valley region, and the 2019 Bromley Pinot Noir for the Geelong region.

The Australian Pinot Noir Challenge benchmarks the quality and expression of Australia’s Pinot Noir each year, to support wine producers in their quest to perfect their wines, and to provide guidance to consumers about the outstanding quality of Australia’s world class Pinot Noir.


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