David Bicknell, chief judge Pinot Noir Challenge: S11 Bonus

A new and unknown Tasmanian wine brand, Ossa Wines, has won the 2021 Australian Pinot Noir Trophy at the Australian Pinot Noir Challenge Dinner in Melbourne on Thursday night for its 2020 Ossa Pinot Noir.

Judged on November 10, 2021, it was the highest pointed wine of the 230 entries at the Australian Pinot Noir Challenge. It scored 96 points out of 100, making it the top wine of the show and best pinot noir at the challenge.

Chief Judge of the Australian Pinot Noir Challenge, David Bicknell, discussed the results in a special episode of the Drinks Adventures podcast.

  • Click here to open episode in your podcast player

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

“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 wines 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 wines.

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Author: James Atkinson

Journalist specialising in the food, drink, travel and hospitality arenas. Australian International Beer Awards 2017 Media Award Winner and Certified Cicerone®.

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